You spent eight hours perfecting your slide deck. You know exactly what you want to say and how you want to say it. Yet, come game time, your message is falling flat. It can be hard to take a step back and understand what you could have done differently. Here’s how to avoid those all-too-common presentation mishaps before hitting the stage.
You didn’t define an objective
Whether you’re presenting to coworkers or conference attendees, a strong presentation must have a clearly set objective. Define your goals clearly and the goals of your audience, right at the start of your presentation preparation. What do you want your audience to learn from your presentation? How do you want them to feel? What might they want out of you as a speaker? These objectives will drive everything from your script to how your slide deck is designed.
Presentations are an excuse for you to connect, not rehearse. Time spent memorizing everything you want to say in 50 slides is wasted when you could be meditating on the journey your presentation should take. Let’s face it, very few of us are the next Robert Downey Jr. Making memorized text look authentic takes talent and lots of practice. It’s one thing to know your material but another to know your audience. Otherwise, it’s just another form of digital interaction. Instead, start practicing using visual cues, the images on your slides can (and should) spur memories of what you want to say. It’s OK if it’s slightly different each time.
You came in hot
It’s true the first 30 seconds of your presentation are crucial for hooking your audience, but if you don’t maintain that momentum throughout, you may start to notice people’s attention floundering. You can lead with the best hook, but don’t forget those all-important personal stories, rhetorical questions, sound bites, and supporting data. The hard truth is most people will only remember 10% of your presentation, so make it count.
You didn’t research your audience
You can know your topic inside out and backward. Still, it’s equally important to know why your topic is important to your audience and what their level of understanding is going into your presentation. If possible, ask the organizer or sponsor some simple questions, like, “Why do you think I’m the right person to present to your group at this time?” and “What does your group hope to get out of the presentation?” At the very least, ask if they have audience demographics before you even start putting together an outline.
You went it alone
A survey of more than 1,000 employees across multiple industries found that, on average, people spend 20 hours a month on PowerPoint. That’s nearly three full work days wasted on something you could outsource and 20 hours you could be inventing, building, and innovating. A professional presentation company, like DECK, knows what design and language will make your slide deck stand out and coach you on your public speaking.
What do you want your audience to walk away with?