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Top 5 Mistakes to Avoid When Presenting

Top 5 Mistakes to Avoid When Presenting

As part of our series 5 Top Tips from the Experts, Alison Haill, Leadership Communication Expert shares her tips on the top mistakes to avoid when presenting and most importantly what to do instead.

In this blog, Alison outlines: 

•  How making effective presentations can contribute to your success

•  The 5 top Mistakes made by presenters

•  The impact these mistakes can have on you and the audience

•  Simple changes to make to avoid making them yourself

Over to Alison (Thank you – some good points!)

Could you be a more successful presenter? 

Do you suffer from anxiety or doubt your presenting ability? 

Effective presentation skills can contribute to your success within the workplace, set you apart from your peers and get you noticed for all the right reasons by your management. 

Confident presentation techniques also have positive spin-off impact in other situations, such as:

•  Interviews 

•  Networking 

•  Casual introductions with new people you haven’t met before. 

In the words of Benjamin Franklin ‘By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail’. 

So, a little extra time and thought with our proven success tips can do wonders for your technique. 

Take a look at my ‘Top 5 Mistakes to Avoid When Presenting’ so you steer clear of the common presenting pitfalls and focus on the road to success.

1.  DON’T start your preparation by creating your slides. DO start instead by considering who is in your audience. What are their fears and concerns? How can you present your topic, so it engages them? 

2.  DON’T write out your script and then read it. You will inevitably read too fast. Reading aloud is much faster than the Listening Brain can digest content-rich information, so reading aloud will leave your audience cold. Instead, DO hold cards, with legible bullet points on them. These act as prompts for you, so you communicate your information at natural speed.

3.  DON’T memorise your script. Memorising is dangerous because something unexpected can easily cause you to forget a chunk of the script. I've seen this happen many times. When the speaker forgets a word or a paragraph, they go into a spiral of panic. Their brain freezes, and they can’t remember what comes next. 

Nerves are natural when you perform, and they can stop your memory working as expected. 

It’s much better to keep your brain thinking about what you want to get across, rather than staying in Memory Mode. DO take those cards and practise using them beforehand. 

4.  DON’T cram slides with information. If you do, you will be competing with your slides for the audience’s attention. That means that neither you nor your slides will make the full impact you hoped for. 

When your slides have a lot of text or graphical information, your audience is reading not listening to you. Contrary to accepted thinking, the brain doesn’t multi-task – even in women! It does one thing after another. 

So instead, DO separate complex information into separate slides. Make sure there is plenty of white space on each slide, so the audience can read them quickly. 

5.  DON’T stand in the dark beside your slides. An animated speaker speaking with belief is far more engaging than a slide so do make sure the audience can see your face. DO stand where your face is well lit. At all costs, DO avoid speaking in a pitch-black room. 

Would you like to be a more Confident Effective Presenter?

Learn from Leadership Communication Specialist and International Business Coach Alison Haill, who works with senior managers to transform their leadership impact and influence.

Contact Alison at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or +44 7739115840 

Or let us know what you are looking for and we will put you in touch.

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Jackie Jarvis

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