Advertising
Advertising

6 Secrets of Bad Presentations (and How to Avoid Them)

6 Secrets of Bad Presentations (and How to Avoid Them)


    Being nervous about a presentation is pretty normal.

    None of us want to deliver a bad presentation and we have all sat through enough horrible ones to know that it is possible.  Our worst nightmare is looking out into the audience and seeing a sea of glossed over eyes, people checking their cell phones and the rest counting ceiling tiles.

    This doesn’t happen by accident, so don’t let this happen to you! While there are no universal formulas to delivering a presentation, aside from the tremendous amount of advice and angles to deliver a spectacular one, avoid the following at all costs.

    Start by Disqualifying Yourself

    In an effort to say something, a person can  immediately disqualify themselves with one of the following statements:

    “I’m not exactly an expert on this subject”

    (Oh? Then why should we listen to you?)

    “I really don’t know what to say”

    (Then why are you up there?)

    “Ummmm… so… yeah….ummmm… my presentation…”

    (Speak with purpose! Don’t just open your mouth to say…something.)

    “I hope you don’t find my presentation boring”

    (This conveys a serious lack of confidence in your presentation.)

    This one, more than any other, is attributed to lack of confidence and nervousness, but these statements are credibility killers. Unless you’re using those as a specific lead-in to what you’re going to say, your audience will have already pegged you as a mediocre presenter (at best). To get you through this crucial moment, take a deep breath in and just start your presentation.

    Never Make Eye Contact

    This is a great way to let your audience feel disconnected from you. Look at the back wall, the ceiling, your shoes a gaping void in the universe, or just anywhere that isn’t your audience.

    Connecting with your audience requires you to at least look at them. Make eye-contact with a person for a few brief moments and then pick somebody else until you’ve made your rounds around the room. For the nervous types who hate making eye-contact, look at their foreheads.

    Don’t Bother With an Equipment Check

    Nothing kills the mood more than waiting twenty minutes for a presenter to work through their technical issues.

    Get to the presentation room at least an hour before people arrive and make sure any equipment you’ll be using is in good working order. Make sure to plan for the worst and always have a backup plan! Technology has come a long way, but it’s still not 100% reliable when you need it to be.

    Advertising

    “Kind of” Know Your Content

    Uttering the phrases “I’ll put it together on stage,” “I kind of got it,” and “I get the jist of it” are surefire predictors that you will stumble through your presentation. It will come across sloppy, disorganized and unprofessional.

    Make sure that when you deliver your presentation, you know the content so well you can teach it to another person. Because in a way, that’s exactly what you’re doing. Also, be ready for questions afterward.

    Alienate Your Audience

    In high school, our communications teacher took us (a class  of 16) to a Microsoft conference, where they were unveiling Active Directory. During the keynote, in a room with over 200 people, the first thing out of the speaker’s mouth was, “I know there are students in here right now and that’s great, but this presentation isn’t for you.”

    Don’t do that, ever.

    Know your audience! Speak their language, their tone and their energy level – communicate with them, not at them.

    [Our classroom, by the way, was test piloting a new program that trained students to get their Microsoft certifications]

    Advertising

    Ramble On/Ignore Your Time

    Go off on tangents, ignore your time and make sure to speak longer than for what you’ve been scheduled. This is one guaranteed way to disrespect the person/events following you and your audience who is waiting for you to finish. Unless, of course, everybody is on the edge of their seats hanging on to your every word. (*Hint – they will tell you to keep going if that’s the case)

    The one way around this is to practice, practice, practice… out loud! It’s always perfect in your head, but reality comes a knocking when you practice out loud. Refine your presentation until it hits all your major points within your time limit. Your audience will love you for it.

    In fact, the guaranteed way to avoid many of these, is to practice at nausea. Practice walking on to the stage, saying your opening line and delivering the entire presentation. Get feedback from anybody who is willing to listen. Doing so will put you in a better class of presenters – one that people will want to sit through.

    (Photo credit: Businessman with Dunce Cap in Corner via Shutterstock)

    More by this author

    15 Habits to Develop for Back to School How I Turned Magic into a Hobby That Makes Easy Money How to Get Work Done Quickly by Not Being Perfect What Children Can Teach Us About Creativity 6 Secrets of Bad Presentations (and How to Avoid Them)

    Trending in Communication

    115 Signs You’re an Old Soul and Think Differently 227 Ways to Instantly Feel Better When You’re Down 3How To Ask A Girl Out And Get A Yes (Almost) Every Time 460 Things To Be Thankful For In Life 5What To Do When You Have No Friends

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising

    Last Updated on August 21, 2018

    15 Signs You’re an Old Soul and Think Differently

    15 Signs You’re an Old Soul and Think Differently

    If you’ve often felt slightly removed from the worries of today and miss the simplistic life of a time gone by, or somehow feel a little out of sync with what your peers are concerned with, there’s a chance you may be an old soul.

    Being an old soul refers to how you view and approach life.

    Your views echo those of someone much older than you, who has lived a long and fruitful life. You approach life with a greater sense of knowledge and wisdom coupled with a greater sense of inner wealth.

    If you’ve ever met an exasperated 10 year old saying, “Kids today are so…”, or a 28 year old who says, “In my day…”, an awful lot, chances are you’re in the presence of a beautiful old soul. They’re often perplexed, and unable to relate to the things people their own age consider fun, or important, and so feel out of place.

    They look at life through a vignette of experiences they may not have lived, yet, but somehow, just seem to know.

    So if you’ve ever felt like you’ve lived before, and you have a wealth of wisdom you can’t explain, chances are you have been reincarnated—

    —or maybe, you’re just an old soul!

    Here are some tell-tale signs to help you find out if you’re an old soul.

    1. You know there’s another way to do things.

    You often say things like, “I have a feeling this will work”, or “there’s no harm in trying.” People may view your suggestions as outdated or done, but you know that sometimes, just sometimes, the tried and tested ways of doing things are best. Hey, if it ain’t broke…

    You feel that not all problems require a new and innovative solution, and going round in circles when the answer may be staring you in the face is usually a waste of valuable time, and energy.

    Advertising

    You have no problem trying out new things, but know, too, that oldies can also be goodies.

    2. You give advice well beyond your years.

    You somehow seem to know how to do things you haven’t even done yourself yet. It’s like you’ve lived before, and just know how it all works. People often look at you with that “how do you know?” expression, and you respond with a confident, “I just know!”

    Truth is, you do just know, but don’t know how you know. Those people who come to you for advice, though somewhat freaked out by your amazing prophetic powers to impressively offer solutions and predict outcomes, trust you wholeheartedly and don’t doubt your authenticity.

    3. You like to think things through.

    Even the most impatient of people will need to think things through if they are an old soul at heart. You need that time to maul it over in your head.

    It’s an important part of your to-do process, and it enables you to move forward in the direction most in sync with your mind, body and soul.

    To you, not being able to think things through, even a little, leaves you feeling uneasy, and that does nothing to help.

    4. You don’t waste time asking why.

    After you’ve thought things through, you move ahead, confident in the knowledge that you’ve done all you needed to do to get going.

    You don’t waste time in trying to justify it to yourself or anyone else. You have little time and patience for the nonsensical and would prefer to utilize your time getting things done, rather than sitting around talking about getting things done.

    In the end, you understand that whatever you do, you trust that all things work out just as they are supposed to, and you don’t want to question that wonderful process.

    5. You don’t like to go out just for the sake of going out.

    It’s quality over quantity for you. You love to go out and have fun, but going out because others feel it is required, or you look boring if you don’t, holds no merit for you.

    Advertising

    When you go out, you’d like to experience something; something that resonates with your way of perceiving the world and challenges you.

    You’ll happily spend money on those things that give you wonderful experiences and broaden your horizons. Going out just because, seems pointless to you; you’d rather save your time, and money, and do something of quality.

    6. You have an appreciation for old literature.

    You respect the classics. You’re often found getting euphorically high off old books. You’ve probably sniffed a good few old books in your time, and you don’t care who sees.

    For you, old literature should be respected and valued; they hold history and historical experience between their pages and deserve to be exalted.

    7. You have old ears.

    You love and appreciate the classics and have a longing for the musicality of those nostalgic tunes. Your record (that’s right, record!) collection looks like a retro music store. Probably only 10% of your collection consists of what you refer to as “nowadays” music, the rest are from decades gone by.

    You know only a handful of today’s artists, and that’s only because you haven’t heard an album yet to rival your favorite Grateful Dead album, or your favorite Frank Sinatra track.

    You don’t go out of your way to avoid modern music, it just doesn’t seem to whet your appetite. So you’ll happily pump your beloved Janis Joplin or Nat King Cole all the way home. Heaven!

    8. You see no need in being unnecessarily stressed.

    You don’t invite drama just because it makes you feel alive, no, you’d much prefer to live without it.

    You appreciate the quiet, and invite peace. It’s become apparent to you that the world views stress and busyness as being productive.

    But you know that being productive has nothing to do with being crazy busy or stressed, but everything to do with how well you utilize your time.

    Advertising

    So you’re mindful about what you spend your hours doing, and make sure your doing something worthwhile, and not just keeping busy for busy sake.

    9. You love to meet new people.

    To you, talking to people is enriching and adds to your experience of the world. This isn’t because you just can’t help chit chatting, but more so because you are genuinely fascinated by those you share this planet with, who can offer different perspectives.

    You love being able to swap stories with people you’ve only just met. Plus, it also serves to make those trips to the bank all the more interesting!

    10. You value deep connections.

    For you, it’s all about quality over quantity. You require a deeper connection with those around you in order to feel any connection at all.

    Half-hearted friendships, surface-level relationships and fly-by-night hook-ups are not your thing. You value the essence of deeper friendships and long lasting relationships, as you give yourself wholly to them, too.

    11. You love learning.

    Nothing gets you going more than learning more about yourself, other people and the world around you.

    For you learning is growth, and growth is part of life. As an old soul, you approach learning from the understanding that it doesn’t have to lead anywhere, for example, a degree or certificate.

    Sure, those things are great and offer a sense of accomplishment, but for you it’s the act of learning something new and wonderful that motivates you, not the initials after your name!

    12. You don’t see the fuss about the latest craze.

    Following others just to fit in? Where’s the fun in that? To you, being a style chaser or tech follower is something you can never quite get your head around.

    Sure you may even own a Kindle or you may have an iPad, but now they sit there, gathering dust, because you miss the feel (and smell) or the real thing, and computer works just fine.

    Advertising

    You don’t really care whether you’re an early adopter or a late comer. None of the things defines you, and you’re okay with that.

    13. You value the company of those much older than you.

    You want to drink in their wisdom and you hang on their every word as they tell you stories of their youth. You laugh at their accounts of old trends, and cry at the war stories, you reminisce with them about long lost loves, and actually listen to their pearls of wisdom.

    At a time when we seem to have less and less time for the more mature among us, the old soul has nothing but time to give. That’s because you appreciate what they have to share, and let’s be honest, you secretly wish for a time when life seemed so simple.

    14. You are the epitome of calm.

    You are the steadfast one, the one neither swayed, nor toppled, even in a crisis. You probably say things like, “Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast,” and tell people to “Get a grip!”

    To everyone else, you appear disconnected, but to those who know you well, you’re actually hard at work, you just work differently.

    You’ve learned that nothing actually gets done if everyone is running around losing their heads; someone needs to be the calm force. This is just how you make sense of what is happening.

    You stop. Wait. Listen. Then decide what steps to take next.

    15. You truly understand what it means to give.

    To you, there’s no better way to live, than to give.

    Giving your time, or money or those things you simply have no need for is the most rewarding thing anyone can do with their short time on earth. It isn’t an ego thing, far from it.

    For you, giving is the purest act of love. Plus, you see no point in holding on to things you cant take with you, so you’re more than happy to travel light!

    Featured photo credit: Portrait of fashionable well dressed man with beard posing outdoors looking away, confident and focused mature man in coat standing outside at sunny evening, elegant fashion model via shutterstock.com

    Read Next