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7 Things That Make Up the Worst Presentation Ever

7 Things That Make Up the Worst Presentation Ever

We all have sat through terrible presentations, whether it was the presentation or the presenter themself who were the problem. The worst presentations drive home the point that presentation skills are vital to you and your career and academic years. Mastering presentation skills is an easy feat for some, whereas others struggle with them for all their lives.

None of us wants to present badly and our worst nightmare comes true when we lose our audience to glassy-eyed stares, cell phones and other distractions that seem more interesting to them than our presentation. So from now on, avoid doing these seven things so you don’t lose your audience.

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1. Giving a lecture

The word presentation is not synonymous with lecture. Lecture can have two meanings: a speech given to an audience, usually a class, about certain instructions regarding a particular subject, or a scolding regarding conduct or behavior. So if you go to a class, your teacher gives you a lecture and not a presentation. A presentation is more interactive, emotionally appealing, precise and relevant regarding a subject.

2. Losing out on emotion

Don’t just focus on numbers, facts and figures. They will make your presentation sound boring. You are going to be telling your audience something they probably do not already know. Show your audience the enthusiasm and passion you might feel on the subject, so they know you are emotionally involved and want others to join in too. Add personal touches and feelings somewhere in your delivery, because your opinion will help shape the opinion of others too.

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Remember Steve Jobs? His speeches and presentations are highly praised because he left his audience in a state of awe and gave them inspiration. Remember that as a presenter your content must have emotional appeal or else you will lose your audience.

3. Not using stories

You are in a room, surrounded by peers and executives. Sure, you need to skip some stories to keep the presentation precise, meaningful and on track, but remember, your audience wants to be wowed, not lulled to sleep. You might consider adding your own personality to the presentation by adding a carefully chosen story or two. Bear in mind that those stories should be supportive of the facts and figures you are presenting; they certainly shouldn’t replace them.

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4. Forgetting signposts

When you are presenting, there are key words you can use to ’signpost’ separate stages in your presentation. For example, to give a synopsis of a point, you ‘summarize’: “If I could just summarize a few points from John’s presentation…” If you forget these signposts your audience can lose the direction of your presentation and they won’t be able to distinguish its stages. These words should be memorized so you do not forget them, even if you are under scrutiny.

5. Going overboard on the design

Don’t make your presentation appear too complicated or it will just confuse your audience. If you add too many flashy images and animations to bedazzle your audience, you’ll find you wind up confusing them instead. Have faith in the principle of KISS (keep it simple silly). Add animations, pictures and videos only when you want to elaborate a point further.

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6. Keeping it formal

Formal presentations lose the audience the minute they begin; keeping it a little less formal enthralls them, keeping them captivated. As I mentioned earlier, adding personal touches to your presentations, such as opinions and stories, will make your presentation less formal. Just don’t go making it too casual either.

7. Avoiding eye contact

Great presenters understand the importance of making eye contact with their audience to build trust, integrity, and connection. Many students and business professionals have a habit of looking at a wall, a desk, or a computer — everything but the audience! Build your connection with your audience and they’ll be with you all the way.

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Tayyab Babar

Tayyab is a PR/Marketing consultant. He writes about work, productivity and tech tips at Lifehack.

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Last Updated on June 18, 2019

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Making Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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