Five ways to ruin your presentation and what to do instead!

As regular readers will know, I attend a lot of networking events, at which business owners and representatives can take the opportunity to give a short presentation. The topic usually relates to an overview of their business, the market they work in or some top tips for the audience to take away.

As the speaker, the idea is that those attending will learn more about you, your skill set and knowledge, and how you could help them or the people they know.

It’s an opportunity to showcase you and your business; providing the information that will help the audience to buy when they’re ready.

I would estimate that I have listened to at least fifty of these five or ten minute presentation in the past year … and probably close to 6-700 since I started networking!

Looking back there are repeated reasons why a presentation doesn’t hold the interest of the audience and here are five:

  1. Announce to the audience that you haven’t timed or practiced the presentation before arriving!

    You may think this will excuse you if you overrun or slip up … but all it does is imply that you didn’t care enough about this audience to prepare. If you’ve been too busy to prepare then keep your fingers crossed that you can wing it but don’t tell us in advance!

  2. Following on from point one … Look surprised by the slides as they come up and even make an audible noise such as “Oh” or “I wasn’t expecting that”. 

    Again, it tells the audience you don’t know what’s coming up … and the audience will often equate your ability to present with your ability to do your job. So if you are an accountant and you alert me to the fact that you didn’t see the slide coming … am I to worry that you might miss a problem on my tax return or annual accounts?

  3. Your first slide contains a long list of bullet points about your business … usually including the year you were established and read out the list.

    If I don’t know who you are, why am I interested in your company’s vital statistics? At best it will wash over me as you deliver it (often in a sing song voice of disinterest) and at worst I’ll have switched off and stopped listening before slide two comes up.

    Start with something that will hook your audience … so they know you get them and have something of interest to say.

  4. You use your slides as your notes and keep looking at them to read out your lists of bullet points. 

    Don’t read your slides and call it a presentation. If that’s your plan, send your slides out in advance for your audience to read. You could then run a Q&A session for those interested in what you do instead!

  5. End your presentation with a whimper. 

    If you’re prepared, you will know who you are talking to and what the point of your presentation is. This will then determine your ending. Make it easy for your audience to take the next step if they are interested in knowing more.

Let me know below what your pet presentation peeve is and if you found this article interesting then sign up for my monthly emails so I can let you know when the next one is out.