Public speaking is one of those topics where people tend to believe advice they hear about it. This is primarily because most people associate some sort of discomfort (which can range from a minor dislike to a true phobia) with public speaking. And when we don’t understand something or lack expertise in a certain area, we tend to believe what we hear from people we perceive as experts.
I was just in the car a few minutes ago and saw something which I feel is a bad trend – a vehicle used to advertise the owner’s small business that also had political bumper stickers on it (at least one of which that was somewhat harsh). It caught my eye because one would think that the owner would have enough common sense to not do this because not only is it unprofessional but it’s just plain stupid.
In my prior article on PowerPoint mistakes to avoid, I covered three common mistakes that I see over and over again with presentations that use overheads. Of course, there’s plenty more mistakes that novice (and yes, even experienced) presenters make when they use this medium for presentations and we’ll get to more of them in future articles. For now, here are three more PowerPoint mistakes that you should try to avoid.
1: Using text that is too small.
It’s every speaker’s nightmare: you’re delivering a speech and someone (or more than one person) gets up and walks out. Did you do something wrong or say the wrong thing? It’s possible that you did something to caused the person to get up and walk out (and you’ll most likely know what you did right away), but in many cases, the reason for someone walking out has nothing to do with the speaker or the presentation itself.
Whenever you give a speech, people will inevitably give you feedback regardless of whether you’ve asked for it or not. Sometimes the feedback will be something you can actually put to use to improve your presentation. But frequently, it’s not helpful and in some instances can be harmful – especially if it gets you thinking about it (for one reason or another) to the point where it becomes a distraction.