Standing up in front of a large audience can be very daunting. Having lots of faces on you eagerly awaiting a presentation that will wow them can put extra pressure on your nerves. It is a confident person who can overlook these factors to deliver the speech of their lives but, for some, those anxieties can really affect their performance. What you need to remember is that they are there to listen to YOU! They have turned up in that room for a reason and if you have your presentation planned efficiently you don’t want the reason that they are switching off to be you.
We have given many tips over the last few months on how to achieve a great presentation, how to deliver an outstanding event so now we are covering the biggest mistakes that you can make. These are areas that can easily be avoided and rehearsed so that your day goes without a hitch.
The worst thing you can do is walk onto the stage and begin to deliver information on top of information. Your audience needs to be warmed up, they need to build a rapport with you, they do not need to be bombarded with every single detail of your company/business. Any presentation that goes in hard-hitting and presents too much information at once will have the audience feeling overwhelmed.
To avoid doing this ensure that your speech is well planned before the day. Rehearse this speech and have a colleague provide you with constructive feedback. Take your key points and make these very clear at the beginning so your audience knows what to expect from the talk. Allow pauses if you feel that you may let your words run away from you and remember that you have your allocated time to say everything you feel you need to and there is time to cover all bases.
Over Talking About Yourself
Talking about yourself is a great thing to do. It will allow your audience to get to know the type of person you are and allow them to feel a connection with you during your presentation. What you don’t want to do is talk about yourself throughout and turn it into an ego trip. The presentation is about what you can deliver, what services you can offer, what products you have and why your company should be used. Yes, that company wouldn’t be here without you but your audience will be tuning out if you give them your life story.
Nerves can have different effects on each of us but one thing most of us tend to do is start apologising when we don’t feel as though it is going the way we think it should. Your listeners will accept one or two apologies for big mistakes but if you spend your entire talk saying sorry for everything they will soon lose their confidence in you and your company. Small mistakes can be swept under the carpet without anybody else knowing. Your behaviour and confidence is key here and if something goes wrong you need to be able to deal with it and not let it take over your presentation.
Speaking in a Monotone Voice
There is nothing worse than a spokesperson who cannot make their voice sound natural. A monotone dreary voice is a quick-fire way to have the audience switching off. The message won’t be delivered because it will be too difficult to take in and your stunning slideshow will all be for nothing. Nerves are terrible for taking over your body and they can be hard to shake. If you know that you suffer from nerves you need to ensure that you practise your speech over and over again. Filming yourself and watching it back is a great way to gain perspective on how you will come across. We have more tips on dealing with nerves in this post.
No Eye Contact
Body language plays a huge part in how you are perceived by others and eye contact is a sure sign of telling if somebody has confidence or not. If you spend your talk looking down at the floor or at your notes and not out at your audience you can make them feel uncomfortable and distant. They are there for a show, for an informed presentation and to feel that they know the person behind the company.
Learning your speech is a great way to ensure that you aren’t constantly looking down at your notes as is practising it in the mirror or on camera. Being fully present will have your audience much more engaged in what you are saying.
This is one area that should be checked and thoroughly tested prior to the day. If you are using equipment that belongs to the venue it is down to you to make sure this works too. You do not want to be turning up on the day of the event to find that their microphone squeaks every time you move to one side of the stage or their projector isn’t large enough for what you need. Tweak these issues before and you will be confident that it can all run smoothly during the presentation itself.
Humour can work wonders for building a rapport with your audience but you need to remember that this is still a professional presentation and any distasteful jokes, humour in the wrong place or controversial jokes could have your audience cringing or even walking out. Having a bit of well-timed fun can work wonders so do run your ideas past another person before saying them out on the stage. For more tips refer to this post here.
A presentation with no structure will leave your audience feeling confused. You need to have your slides in order, your videos showing at appropriate moments and demos to back up what you are saying at the time you are saying it. A talk that jumps from one topic to another, that doesn’t flow and feels awkward will do you no favours. You need a clear story; a beginning, a middle and an end with wow factors added into the mix. You want them to leave with a positive lasting impression, not with confusion.
Running out of Time
There is nothing worse than not having the time to get through all of your prepared slides or speech. If you need to vacate the room at a dedicated time due to the venue’s restrictions or if your audience needs to leave because you have run over, you will not be leaving them with the lasting impression you set out to achieve. You also may not have the time to deliver your final important message.
This is where rehearsing your entire presentation will benefit you. You need to have several run-throughs and time each one allowing pauses for questions or any interruptions that you may not be able to foresee. If you feel that you may run out of time take another look at your information and make decisions on what could be edited.
If you plan in every possible outcome or mistake you will be prepared for any situation.