CAREER ADVANCEMENT / SEP. 27, 2014
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How to Avoid Business Presentation Mistakes

Many people use presentations to promote a wide range of products and services. To connect effectively with your audience, your presentation needs to be informative, inspiring as well as motivating. However, a confusing, irrelevant or boring presentation will only end up putting off your audience.

Here are some of the business presentation mistakes you need to avoid:

1. Failing to prepare adequately

Thorough preparation is very vital for making a successful presentation. The earlier you start preparing, the better. Your preparation should cover several aspects:

  • Content – The content of your presentation should be relevant, engaging and arranged in a logical sequence. Be sure to have a strong introduction and conclusion
  • Delivery – Having great content is not enough; you need to ensure that delivery is on point. The first step to great delivery is having a thorough understanding of your subject. Before the actual presentation, take time to practice in private, preferably before someone who can offer suggestions for improvement.
  • Appearance – Proper dressing and grooming is very important for a successful presentation. In addition, you need to work on your posture and gestures

2. Not understanding your audience

Before giving a presentation, you need to carry out some research on your audience. This will enable you to come up with appropriate content, as well as choose a suitable method of delivery. For instance, you need to establish their level of familiarity with the subject. If you are dealing with beginners, it would be advisable to keep your presentation simple and free from excess jargon. You should also find out the needs and motivations of your audience.

3. Using poor visuals

Proper visuals are very important elements for a great presentation. When selecting colours, you need to consider the venue of the presentation. A light background with dark text would work best for well-lit rooms, while a dark background with white text is appropriate for dark rooms. Your fonts should be simple and large enough to be seen by everyone in the venue. Make sure all the images used in your presentation are relevant and of a high quality. However, animation should be used sparingly since it might only end up distracting your audience.

4. Ignoring your audience

During your presentation, you need to keep your audience engaged at every stage. To create a sense of anticipation, start by informing your audience what they should expect to learn. You should also let them know how long your presentation will be. If you have to go beyond the stipulated time, make sure you have their permission. At the end of the presentation, it would be advisable to make time for comments and questions. Finally, don’t forget to make eye contact with your audience. This will allow you to make a personal connection with people and thus keep them engaged.

5. Lacking dynamism

People find it easier to listen to a speaker that has passion and enthusiasm for their subject. Therefore, be sure to inject some oomph into your presentation. Whereas it is possible to give a talk while standing at the same spot throughout, it would be advisable to walk around occasionally. Use your body language and gestures to show your excitement. However, avoid overdoing it since you will only end up looking ridiculous.

Delivering a good presentation takes a lot of effort and practice. Avoiding the mistakes mentioned above will make your presentations stand out and enhance your chances of success.

Image: Yann Ropars

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