James Sweetman on How to Improve your Presentations By Avoiding these Common Mistakes
A simple set of rules to follow as outlined by expert James Sweetman
No one ever sets out to deliver a poor presentation, but in the words of Maya Angelou ‘when you know better you do better.’ Bad presentations are all the same – too long, poorly prepared and paced, are overly reliant on slides crammed with text and are delivered in a tone that saps the energy from even the most enthusiastic audience. To avoid being an example of what not to do, here are four pitfalls to avoid.
Audiences will forgive a presenter for most things apart from being boring. They will forgive a presenter for being a little nervous or having to check notes, but audiences have little tolerance for a presenter who doesn’t try to create a rapport with them or to relate to them at an emotional level. As the person at the top of the room the audience want to know that you understand where they are coming from.
An audience will forgive a presenter for most things apart from being boring. As a presenter you are looking to positively influence your audience and positive influence means emotional influence. If someone at the top of the room is just regurgitating facts, there is little hope that the audience will feel anything (apart from bored) let alone have that positive, feel good factor that is an essential component of positive influencing skills.
So how do you engage an audience emotionally? It means you have to speak to people’s hearts as well as their heads. This means looking for the story behind the facts. What analogies, anecdotes, experiences can you share that will bring your message alive and make your information more meaningful and relatable to your audience. A useful question to ask yourself when preparing is – why is your content important from the audience’s perspective?
The objective mediocre presenters have when delivering a presentation is often something like – getting through the presentation as quickly as possible, or in one piece! Now this outcome may be unconscious, but if this is what is at the forefront of your mind you will speak too fast (to get it over with) and the audience will find it difficult to relate to you, because your focus is not on them, but on your own well-being.
Remember presentations are always a means to an end. What is the end? What do you want the audience to do with the information you are sharing with them? How will you know when your presentation has been successful? What will be the evidence of your success? When you are clear as to the true purpose of your presentation it’s easier for you to structure it because you know the target you are trying to hit.
As seen on jamessweetman.com
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