We have a lot of great recommendations for presentation "dos:" best practices, techniques, and tips to ensure that all of your presentations are out of this world. But every “do” has its “don’t” as well; pitfalls and traps that you want to avoid at all costs during your next presentation. Let’s take a look at a few presentation techniques that you’ll want to make sure you omit from your next engagement.
1. Visual assistants that overpower your presentation. YOU, the presenter, are what brings a presentation to life! Don’t let yourself be undermined or overwhelmed by the power of performance enhancers such as Prezi, PowerPoint, or other fancy bells and whistles. That human connection is the magic that truly makes a presentation special. (Did you know the best images for your professional presentation may not be images at all? Find out what you can do instead of a tech-heavy presentation.)
2. Dependence on the adrenaline of the moment or divine inspiration to carry you through your presentation. If the first time you give your presentation out loud, in front of people, is the day and moment of your actual presentation, you are doing yourself a huge disservice. Running through it in your head in the car on the way to your presentation is NOT enough to guarantee a good showing for your “real life” audience. To put things in perspective, actors spend about one hour of rehearsal for each one minute of actual performance. Now, you may not need to spend quite that much time, but make no mistake: actual practice and rehearsal are required to ensure your presentation makes the desired impact on your audience.
3. Verbal viruses that infiltrate your presentation. In a time when silence is uncommon and even scary, verbal viruses, or verbal fillers, are running rampant in much of today’s corporate communication. Verbal viruses are words, sounds, or phrases used to fill silence when you are at a loss for actual words. “Um”, “Ah”, “So”, “Right?” are just a few examples. What can you do instead of "umming" your way through when you don't know what to do? Pause! Stop speaking until you've collected your thoughts when you feel a verbal virus coming on. You'll keep your credibility in tact.
4. Reliance on a microphone to fix your volume. Microphones are wonderful and necessary tools that are often at your disposal, but they do not make up for inadequate sound production. A sound engineer can only boost feeble audio production so far until feedback starts happening and injuring the eardrums of the audience. However, it’s very easy for them to pull you back if necessary. When in doubt, louder is always better, no matter the size of your audience. The best way to produce adequate volume is through proper breathing. Check out this blog post for ideas on how to breathe your way to better presentation skills.
5. Poorly crafted or rambling stories. Stories are the ultimate visual assistant. Audiences are twenty times more likely to remember a fact if it’s wrapped in a story. But the only way to make that kind of impact is with a clear, concise, and well-rehearsed story. Here are four steps to tie a story to your professional presentation!
There you have it folks! 5 techniques (or lack thereof) to avoid when giving your next presentation. Looking for more tips, techniques and solutions? Head on over to our new Resource Center for more great information and tools to make your next presentation a definite “do!”