Mistakes to Avoid When Making a Business Presentation
Only 10% of Americans actually enjoy speaking in public. For the rest of us, just thinking of giving a speech in front other people is a recipe for night sweats. But just because you’re nervous about your next big presentation doesn’t mean that you can’t deliver an effective one. Simply being prepared knowing what strategies to embrace and what mistakes you should avoid will help ease your fears and improve your chances at success.
So when prepping for an upcoming presentation, review the following common mistakes to make sure that you don’t accidentally trip yourself up when it matters.
Mistake #1: Not Projecting Confidence
You can be nervous while making a speech without looking nervous. That’s important, since the confidence you project matters a lot more than the doubt you hold inside. So while it’s important to limit how nervous you feel, remember this: even if you can’t totally shake your nerves, you can still present yourself as confident and in charge.
Some of the best ways to ensure that you project confidence include:
- Being aware of your posture. Avoid defensive positioning, keep yourself loose, and face your audience as much as possible.
- Speak loudly and clearly without shouting. Enunciate your words and make sure that you speak slowly enough that you can be understood.
- Make strong eye contact with the person or people receiving your presentation. If giving your presentation to a group, try to make eye contact regularly with each individual.
Mistake #2: Poor Supporting Materials
PowerPoint is an irreplaceable tool in the modern day business environment. But there are still a number of key faux pas that presenters regularly commit when they make PowerPoint presentations. The key to creating a great PowerPoint presentation is to remember that your PowerPoint presentation is there to support you not stand on its own.
When making your PowerPoint presentation, keep the following in mind:
- Use PowerPoint first and foremost as a visual tool. Use graphs, images, and key quotes to drive home the message that your words are delivering.
- On a similar note, don’t try to fit your whole presentation into your PowerPoint. Overcrowded slides are an eyesore, and too much text can strain eyes and distract listeners.
- Don’t create a two or three slide presentation. Try to drive each key point home with its own slide, whether that’s by using a key quote, a statistic, or a graphic.
Mistake #3: Not Practicing
A lot of people seem to think that once you’ve created a presentation, you know it well enough already. But practice really does make perfect, and you should take that to heart before giving your presentation.
Take the time to become comfortable with your presentation from start to finish, following these guidelines to perfect your delivery:
- Don’t practice your speech sitting down or without your supporting materials. Instead, practice your posture, projecting your voice, and going slide by slide through your presentation.
- Use a mirror to help yourself catch poor or unconfident body language.
- Make sure that you can deliver your presentation without having to constantly check your notes or your slides. Find the areas where you get stuck or forget and practice those separately.
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