Posted on: 13th October 2015
Most of us have experienced the two extreme ends of the business presentation spectrum, from being sent to sleep by the monotone drawl of a disinterested speaker, to being captivated by the energy and poise of a confider speaker.
We’ve taken a look at the most common pitfalls of delivering a presentation, and offer our advice on how to avoid them and deliver a professional presentation every time.
Failing to prepare
Rehearsals and preparation are vital when it comes to sounding and looking confident in a presentation situation.
Plenty of practice on a willing audience will allow you to rehearse any potential curveball questions and allow you to practice regaining your composure if you receive a difficult or unsuspected question.
Underestimating the importance of body language
While preparing and perfecting your presentation is vital, all of your hard work will be lost if you enter the room looking nervous and uncomfortable. This will only reflect on to your audience and can destabilise your offering even before you’ve started. Positive and confident body language can help to build trust with your audience and reinforce what you’re saying.
As with all presentation skills, positive body language can be practised and honed. Key areas to focus on are good eye contact, natural smiles, a good posture and open gestures.
Often, one of the most important aspects of your presentation is you. Marketing yourself, your skills and your personality during your presentation will help to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise, along with connecting you with your audience.
If done well, presentations give you the opportunity to make a positive impact on your audience and deliver your message effectively. If you fail to make the right impression on your audience you risk being forgotten and your message lost.
To make your presentation memorable try developing a theme to provide you with a thread on which your messages can hang. A theme is a great to make your presentation unique and provides a memorable structure to your talk that prevents you from going off on a tangent or bringing in irrelevant facts.
Being caught off guard in Q&A
Sometimes the most challenging part of presenting to an audience is having to deal with the Q&A portion of your talk.
Once the presentation itself is over it can be easy to lose composure, and a great pitch can quickly unravel. Difficult questions are often designed to fully understand your proposition, and so by retaining your composure and keeping calm, responding to these questions shouldn’t be a challenge. Before delivering your presentation you should already be aware of the majority of the questions likely to be posed based on your preparation and planning.
Seasoned presenters will have suffered an awkward moment on more than one occasion when something goes wrong. For the majority of instances these problems or mistakes can be reduced or prevented entirely with some forward planning and preparation.
By understanding your audience, ensuring that all of your equipment works correctly, and being clear on the content in your slides you can help to reduce to opportunities for anything to go wrong.
Last, but by no means least…
If, despite all of your preparation and planning something still goes wrong, the key is to remain calm to achieve a good recovery.
Retaining your composure and a sense of humour will help you to avoid most of the pitfalls of delivering a presentation. A good recovery can be just as influential as a great pitch.
Great presentation skills do not come naturally but with practise can be learnt. Mastering the skills required to present successfully will also serve you well in other areas of your life and by following the above advice, presentations may even become something that you enjoy rather than endure.
In addition to developing your presenting skills, Presentia presentation software provides you with the tools to create professional looking slides to support and enhance your overall presenting experience.