Business Presentations – Ten Common Mistakes to Avoid and How to Prevent Them During Your Delivery

  1. Starting without a grab

Fishing without a hook is pointless. So too is a presentation without a ‘grab’. Therefore start off with an engaging story, fact or statistic. Hold your audience in suspense or pose a business slides. Whatever hook you choose, make sure it is relevant and supports your message.

  1. Rushing through without building rapport

Avoid the rush to get to the detail. Once you have audience attention, develop rapport with them. Give them insight into who you are, your background and why you are passionate about your topic. Then articulate your intention, agenda and the detail.

  1. No clearly stated intention

A business presentation without a clear intention is like a ship without a rudder. Once your hook is cast and rapport is established, articulate your presentation’s purpose, main point and why your topic is relevant to the audience.

  1. Losing eye contact with your audience

Poor eye contact with your audience communicates lack of confidence, uncertainty and mistrust. Research indicates good eye contact ranks as the most important component of a successful presentation. So make the effort to maintain eye contact.

  1. Using busy slides

Slides with masses of boring text and bullet points are an instant turn-off for an audience. The content of each slide should be uncluttered, bold and contain no more than four points. Never be afraid to use a single eye-catching visual on a slide to support a point.

  1. Not knowing the slide content

It is distracting for an audience when a presenter constantly turns around to look at slides on screen. If you have rehearsed your presentation, you will know what slides are coming up. As a result there will be no need to lose eye contact with your audience.

  1. Having no prop variation

If appropriate and depending on the forum, use a variety of props in your presentation. Use a whiteboard, flip chart, PowerPoint slides and physical objects to communicate your message. These will add variety and help maintain audience attention.

  1. Using a monotonous voice

If you want your audience to lose interest in what you are saying, present in a monotonous voice! Make the effort to vary your voice, change your pace and pause every now and then. Alter your pitch and volume. This will help you add emphasis to your presentation.

  1. Staying in one spot

A presenter who stays glued to one spot is not as effective or engaging as one who moves around while delivering a message. Movement adds variety and changes the dynamics of your delivery. This is a sure way to maintain audience attention.

  1. No clear call to action at the end

A business presentation with no clear call to action at the end always feels half-baked. Make certain your ending is clear and you issue a strong call to action. Your audience needs to know exactly what you want them to do.

So the next time you have an important presentation to deliver in front of an audience, remember:

  1. Start with a hook to grab audience attention
  2. Build rapport before diving into the detail
  3. State your presentation’s intention – the purpose, main point and your topic’s relevance to your audience
  4. Maintain eye contact
  5. Use uncluttered slides – limited bold text and visuals
  6. Rehearse – know your slide content
  7. Use a range of props
  8. Vary your voice
  9. Move to hold audience attention
  10. Close with a strong and clear call to action

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