You’re giving your presentation but the audience just isn’t reacting. They’re distracted and not showing any emotion at all. Was it something you did? While it’s very possible that you may have put your audience to sleep, this happens only on rare occasions as most audience members are professional enough to at least pretend to be interested. If the audience is completely comatose, chances are that you’re not the reason.
You were able to present like a pro at your first job but now it’s been years since you’ve last given speech. You should be okay, right? Not necessarily. Many folks assume that since they were able to give a good presentation back in the day that they’d still be able to deliver an engaging talk today. While that might be true for some people, most notably people that presented frequently for an extended period of time, not everyone is able to pick up where they left off – especially if it took a lot of work to overcome the discomfort.
One of the things I’ve been working on is pronouncing words correctly. I recently listened to an audio program to learn Italian (I hope to visit Italy in the near future) and was reminded of some of the common mispronunciations that people make. I was surprised at the way the narrator mispronounced numbers in English. Here are some of the ways she mispronounced numbers:
- Twenty was mispronounced “Twen-y.” – Missing “T.”
- Seventy was mispronounced “Seven-dy” – “T” to “D.”
- Ninety was mispronounced “Nine-dy” – “T” to “D.”
It seems like every business expert that also has speaking experience likes to throw in a line about joining Toastmasters International to become a better speaker. Some of these people joined a club and it helped them become better speakers while others simply regurgitate this advice from other sources. Although Toastmasters has worked for a lot of folks (myself included), simply joining won’t necessarily make you a better speaker.
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.