Probably every student saw dull or confusing speeches and presentations. At the same time, we all saw excellent presentations that were informative, inspiring and professionally executed. Here is the list of typical mistakes that novice presenters often make. These tips will allow you to feel confident and avoid excessive nervousness during a performance.
Avoid These Mistakes and You Will See How the Perception of Your Listeners May Change
- Insufficient Preparation
Steve Jobs was known for his oratorical and motivational skills. His speeches seemed natural. However, he could spend several weeks preparing a five-minute presentation. Good preparation is the most important aspect of any performance. Of course, everything depends on the amount of available time. If you have it, think over every detail. The principle “competence and confidence” also works in this case. The more you know about your performance, the better you will be able to cope with your nerves.
- Unfamiliarity With The Place Of The Presentation
The opportunity to see the hall an hour before the speech is priceless. The better you are familiar with the situation, the less unnecessary emotions you will experience. Familiarize yourself with the equipment you will deal with. Think about your actions in case it fails. You need to know how to improvise.
- Ignoring The Audience
Often, speakers are so engrossed in their presentation that they forget about the audience. Begin a presentation with a story about what to expect from it. Let people know which topic to open first and prepare them for conscious participation in the process. Encourage them to ask questions and get ready to answer them. Watch for feedback and prepare Plan B in case the audience gets bored.
- Inappropriate Content
Not all speakers think about the audience that will listen to the speech. This situation can lead to a complete misunderstanding. Think about who your listeners are and what they want to see and hear. Do not use jargon if you realize that it will be perceived negatively. Remember about the needs and motivations. Think about things that can interest your audience.
Short presentations are most effective because they end at the peak of audience’s interest. Do not build too long sentences and use simple language. As usual, the presentation takes about 15-20 minutes, so stick to these boundaries.
- Inefficient Use Of Visual Elements
Bad slides can spoil the impression of the speaker and his or her presentation, so spend enough time to make them relevant and informative. Surely, you saw slides with too bright colors, unnecessary animation or hard-to-read font. When choosing a color, think about the place where the event will take place. The dark background on the slide goes well with the white text if the presentation takes place in a dark room. Select pictures very attentively. The choice of high-quality photos can lead to the fact that your audience will be overloaded with visual elements.
The text on the slides should be short and at the same time as informative and simple as possible. If your presentation lasts 30 minutes, limit yourself to ten slides. Remember that slides should help tell a story, and not overload the audience with unnecessary information.
- Illogical Speech
Usually, a person’s speech deteriorates in stressful situations or due to nervousness. Breathe deeply and gather yourself at the first sign of incoherent speech. Begin to speak more slowly. Make a bet on the quality of speech, and not on the speed of the performance. You are unlikely to be kicked out of the stage if you stay a couple of minutes longer.
- Lack Of Dynamics
Dynamics is important in any communication with people, whether it is a public or private conversation. Steve Jobs’ presentations were built on the principle of Hollywood movies, and they worked great. Intrigue, conflict, suspense, and denouement must be present in your work. Use body language in the most emotional moments of your performance.
- Timing Violation
The idea to extend the discussion and go beyond the planned time is always unsuccessful. If your presentation lasts longer than the stated time, you will not only lose your audience but will also make people angry. Always strive to end your speech earlier (5-10 minutes before the end), especially if it is nearing lunchtime or the end of the working day. The rational tactic used by some speakers is a preliminary agreement to hold a presentation by 25% longer than they need since most of the speeches take more time than planned. It will please the group and will leave a good impression.
- Frequent Apologies
Speakers often make a mistake, emphasizing their lack of experience in speaking, nervousness or omissions in the presentation. Some people consider such statements to be a sign of modesty, or they hope that they will evoke sympathy from the audience. There is a high probability that if the speaker did not tell about his or her own shortcomings or lack of self-confidence, the group would not even notice it. Such excuses can only damage the credibility of the speaker, and listeners will feel awkward and confused.
- Avoiding Eye Contact
The fact that this is a public performance does not mean that you cannot look people in their eyes. This is a great trick because it helps you relax and act at ease. Remember that public speaking is, first of all, a performance. Do not let your audience get bored and at the same time provide your listeners with the most useful information.
Try to avoid these mistakes and increase your speaking skills!