10 Presentation Killers and the Actions To Fix

I hear I forget. I see I remember. I do, I understand.

- Confucius

Are you frequently required to give presentations as part of your work? I was and I gave many and sat through way more. So to say that I have seen and made a wide range of presentation killers is an understatement. I’m sure you have seen a few yourselves,

However, it is always a good idea to review the state of presentation mistakes as a reminder of where your attention needs to be in actions to fix them.

Here is my list of prioritized presentation killers and what you should do to fix them:

The biggest killer of all time? Providing way too much information. Hands down the biggest in my experience, whether it be way too much detail on each slide, too many slides, or both.

Actions to take

Cut, cut, cut the fat away from the meat. You can always cut more to get the core message faster. One point (NOT bullets) per slide … one thing to focus on. Let the audience digest and then move to the next slide.

No visuals make the audience use only one type of processing, which is usually very boring. Break up the processing into multiple forms to better engage.

Actions to take

A picture is worth a thousand words and it is much easier to remember and talk about. This is especially true if the picture makes the audience think to grab the message.

Decoration or design? They are like night and day in their differences. The decoration is just icing with no cake.

Actions to take

Pick a simple design style and stick with it, avoiding the decorating fluff. Avoid adding complexity at all costs. Find a unique way to draw attention to key messages, like using color. It will certainly help in learning.

Nothing is worse than a monotone and humdrum voice of someone just going through the motions.

Actions to take

Find spots for special emphasis and emotions. Break up your presentation with pauses, inflections, and questions to the audience. It will enhance how the audience recognizes your passion.

One of my favorites: Here is How to Explode Your Creativity Rapidly

Want to create a look of haphazard? If so, use lots of different styles, fonts, colors and the like. Like Jacob’s coat of multicolor.

Actions to take

Pick a style you want before you start … including 2–3 colors, illustration design formats, fonts. This will give the presentation a cohesive theme without sacrificing uniqueness and creativity, which can be added elsewhere.

You know there are people watching you. But you don’t really see them. You are not connected, are you?

Actions to take

Pick out one person at a time to talk to as in a one to one conversation and rotate that person every minute or two. Establish rapport as you go. Be real.

Are you talking to just the head all the time? Where are you introducing emotion?

Actions to take

Don’t just share ideas and facts; make meaning by challenging hearts. Pick on emotions by using emotional topics and stories.

This is the beginning of your death by PowerPoint design, isn’t it? A good thing to leave at home. Certainly encourages the overuse of detail, don’t they?

Actions to take

Find any way possible to avoid the look of traditional PowerPoint design. Be different.

Standing behind the podium shows a lack of personality and that you really would rather not be there. Not a good thing.

Actions to take

Good presenters are genuinely moved, quite literally. Walk around as you talk to reach out and touch.

You just end the talk as if you forgot your objective. Left everyone hanging and confused.

Actions to take

End on a challenge to your audience that fits with your theme. Give them something to remember you by and talk about after you are gone.

One of my favorite experts in this field is Nancy Duarte. I like to keep in mind her golden rule anytime I am working on a presentation:

Never deliver a presentation you wouldn’t want to sit through yourself.

Mike Schoultz is a digital marketing and customer service expert. With 48 years of business experience, he consults on and writes about topics to help improve the performance of a small business. Find him on G+, Facebook, Twitter, Digital Spark Marketing, and LinkedIn.

Mike Schoultz writes about improving the performance of business. Bookmark his blog for stories and articles. www.digitalsparkmarketing.com