Being tasked to make a presentation can be terrifying for someone not used to public speaking. At the same time, however, it is a big role to fulfill, and is usually indicative of being deemed trustworthy enough to be given the task. As such, although it may be scary, it is also a great opportunity to develop your presentation skills and to showcase your reliability as part of the team.
In case you’re still sweating buckets over having been lined up for a presentation before your boss, here are some tips on common mistakes that you should avoid.
Avoid Coming Unprepared
This is rather obvious, but you would be surprised at how common it actually is for people to come to their presentations unprepared, or underprepared. If you’re delivering a report on sales, for example, you should have the numbers to back you up and, consequently, the analysis to support your interpretation of data.
You should also be able to anticipate the questions that you’re likely to get based on your presentation–or even the ones that may seem to come from the left field. The key is to not be overconfident and complacent. There are some things that you can simply get away with winging it, but making a presentation before your boss or client shouldn’t be one of them.
Sure, you have all this wonderful information that you can’t wait to share with the team. That doesn’t mean you should dump them all at once, though. You need to be prudent about how you deliver your data so that it becomes easy to digest and manage.
Stuffing them all in one slide, for example, is only going to come out as distracting rather than helpful. Your deck should be supplementary to your presentation, a helpful visual cue to make the data more accessible. There are many slides presentation software available online that can help you create a visually pleasing but also informative deck.
The best part is that this software usually have preset templates that you can simply load and fill up with your data. It’s fully customizable too, if you’d be so inclined, but ultimately, it’s an easy load and save for you.
Not Knowing Your Audience
This is another common mistake. If you’re presenting before someone whom you’ve never met before, try to find out more information about them, such as their role in the company or institution they’re representing. It would also be helpful for you to gain an idea as to what their level of interest is in your presentation.
Once you know the basic details about them, you can then move onto the more important segment, which is understanding what their concerns are. What kind of information are they looking for, and what do they seek to gain from it?
If you can address these questions sufficiently and satisfactorily, then you can consider your presentation to be a success. Piquing their interest is also a good indicator, as long as you are able to follow through with details relevant to them.
Unable To Engage With Audience
Apart from not knowing your audience, being unable to engage with them is another common mistake. It is important to make eye contact with them so that they can feel involved and a part of your presentation. You are speaking to them, after all, so it’s only right that you give them your attention as well.
Getting them engaged makes them relevant in the conversation, which gives them a compelling reason to pay attention to what you’re saying. If you’re pitching a business proposal to your boss, for example, the last thing you’d want is to get them bored enough to not care about what you say.