I attended a seminar recently, and noticed several mistakes by the presenters. These are fairly common presentation mistakes, so perhaps you’ll recognize some or all. Even if you don’t usually make these mistakes, it’s good to be reminded of them.
1. Stay within your allotted time. Running long disrupts the rest of the program.
2. Speak only when facing the audience. If you need to turn toward the projection screen or whiteboard, speak before or afterward.
3. Speak loudly enough to be heard. Account for a large room, especially if it has a high ceiling.
4. Watch your verbal tics (um, ah, so, now, etc.). Buy a digital recorder–they are cheap–and record your rehearsals and presentations. Review for improvement.
5. If the program is running long when you step up, shorten your presentation. Try to get the program back on track. That may entail some substantial cuts, but you’ll be the hero in event planner’s eyes. (Which could help you in the long run.)
To help with this, start going over your script while the program is running. Once you notice that you’ll be shorted–but before you are introduced–flip through your script and ‘X’ out lesser important sections.
Finally, as host, it is your responsibility to keep the meeting on time, or as close as possible. Send agendas to your presenters in advance, and implore them to stay on time. Consider using some sort of timing cue to let each presenter know when time is nearly up.
What presentation mistakes have you witnessed? If you were a presenter, how did you react, if that was necessary? Feel free to comment below.
For related reading, see “How to create a successful presentation” and “Suggestions for your next presentation.”
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