We’ve all sat through them, the presentation that is so bad it makes everyone in the audience uncomfortable. Having recently experienced this more than I ever want to in the next five years, I have a top three list of things NOT to do.
1. Don’t Prepare. These people show up thinking the presentation fairy will somehow make them appear coherent, eloquent and knowledgeable. After the fist slide it is apparent they have not prepared at all and it is just painful to watch and even worse to be forced to sit through. PREPARE! There that wasn’t too hard was it? Have a goal to your presentation or at least a point and rehearse before the presentation.
2. Don’t Memorize Your Speech. This is the opposite of number 1. If you do this you sound forced and it appears to be unnatural. If you forget a word, stumble or get asked a question you lose your place and then just stop. Learn the material. Know what you are talking about so you can interact and sound natural.
3. Don’t Make The Presentation About Yourself. You can give a brief background if necessary to the presentation. Otherwise the audience did not go to the presentation to hear about you. They have a problem to solve or something they want to learn. And no, learning what a great, wonderful person you think you are doesn’t count. Talk about the needs of the audience and how they can solve those needs.
Making sure you don’t do any of these in a presentation will not only make your presentation more enjoyable, it will ensure your next presentation will have people attending.