6 Ways To Ruin Your Presentation, And How to Fix Them.

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As a marketer who presents regularly, there are times when it is only 2 slides into my presentation and my audience is like:

Source: Lizbedor.com
Whether you are a fresh graduate or an experienced professional, if you know what I mean, then this article is for you.

After multiple presentations and power point decks, it is easy to take the next presentation for granted. But in fact, whenever you standup on stage with a slide behind your back, how it looks is a reflection of your personality and the knowledge of your target audience. Presentations will never go away, so what can you do to impress your audience, be memorable and standout?

Listed below are the fastest ways to make you look bad, but for your own sake, please don’t follow these!

1. Ignore your audience’s interests

The first step you should take when confronted with a presentation is sitting at one place to contemplate and put yourself in your audience’s shoes.

This step is usually underestimated, but not many presenters can actually set themselves aside from their audience. Remember, the presentation is for them, not you, so it is crucial that you ask yourself these questions: What is in it for them? What are the benefits they can get from you? What style are they more fond of: down-to-earth or formal?

Looking at the presentation from your audience’s perspective helps you resonate with them.
Source: Strandberg 2014

If you fail to make it relevant to them, you already lose the game from the beginning.

2. Spontaneously organise content

Let’s face one fact: We all want to make our presentation the greatest thing the audience has ever heard and seen in their lives, but occasionally we are stuck in a rut for creativity. In other words, we desire something fresh and extraordinary from the conventional way. However, before thinking out of the box, building a concrete content flow foundation is highly recommended.

The best way to tackle this is to plan out everything you need to say by brainstorming with a mind map. List out related ideas, then look at your time allotment & decide which ones to add or leave out. By doing this, you will have a clear structure, avoid irrelevant or repeated content and deliver the desired key message.

Source: wantleverage.com

After identifying key points, to add more wow factors, you can start thinking of putting in supporting materials (narratives, clear examples, quotes & testimonies, etc) or connectives (signposts, transitions, summaries, etc).

Some supporting materials include:

Narratives: Storytelling is a favourite of quite a few professionals, especially marketers, as it breaks the ice between the presenter and the public. Even if everyone is drifting off in your speech, they will be hooked back when they hear ‘I still remember when I first…’.

Examples: Giving a case study clarifies your viewpoints.

Quotes & testimonies: Third party’s opinions are always miraculously effective.

Signposts refer to signs of where the presenter is at during the speech. These could either be visually drafted or expressed as ‘This is our final solution…’, ‘The second point I want to cover…’.

3. Disregard presentation openers

As the Father of Advertising — David Ogilvy said, ‘When you advertise fire-extinguishers, start with the fire’. Presenters have the first 30 seconds to hook the audience. Don’t save the best for last. There are numerous ways to strike them hard, such as: asking thought-provoking questions, putting them in an imaginary scenario by asking a series of ‘What if’s, ‘Imagine’s or even talking about one of your failures.
But first, don’t forget to state your credibility. Tell them why you, of all people, have what it takes to talk to them.

Check out this cool video: 5 steps to a killer presentation opener for more specific tips.

4. Invest little in high-quality images

Human are born visual learners. Nonetheless, using too many images, photos with low resolution, or heavily-texted slides are the 3 quickest ways to become the most boring and unprofessional speaker on Earth.

Visuals vastly determine the success of your presentation. Source: Forrester CSO Insights 2012
According to a recent research, human cannot process both displayed and spoken information simultaneously. Thus, the images do not have to be art masterpieces to captivate attention, but they should be in high resolution since you are branding for yourself as well as your company. Make sure they remember your speech by putting together more visual elements with Raydar’s available stock photos resources.

5. Pay little attention to fonts

This tip may come out as a little strange, but you will have to thank us later when it works! A professional presenter should make sure all of the texts are displayed in readable size as well as suitable font type.

Fonts for various occasions/purposes can convey different emotions. For example, experts from the fashion industry wanting to promote new spring collection for women should definitely consider usingSelima font for maximum effect.

Selima is a sweet combination of charm, fragility and feminine.
6. Skip rehearsal

The largest difference between an amateur presenter and a pro is the time spent on rehearsal.

It happened to me once as a public speaker in front of hundreds of students. Having done marketing presentations to clients a few times, I totally believed in my ability to deliver an inspiring speech, so I thought to myself: ‘I got this. This will be easy’. Alas, I waited till the last minute to go over my notes. As you may have guessed, it turned out to be a complete disaster. I forgot lines here and there while mumbling awkwardly on stage. Obviously, my audience was not impressed and my colleagues never looked at me the same again.

Source: GIPHY

Start by standing straight with pride. Then, practice smiling and speaking in front of your friends (even your cats), limiting your ‘Um’s and ‘Ah’s, adding more interactions, switching your tone of voice. Do it until you get bored!

As you can see, delivering a good presentation is more science than art. Practice and experience will be a great help, but a great looking deck and a strong opening will keep your audience engaged and make you memorable beyond the few minutes of limelight.

Do you have more presentation Do’s and Don’t’s to share with us? Leave us your comments below!