Think you have a great presentation or a truly moving speech? Well, here are the classic mistakes that can transform your masterpiece into a huge hot mess:

  1. Acronym salad. Use them sparingly and only to avoid repeating wordy jargon.
  2. Backronyms. They're contrived, unnatural and don't help people remember.
  3. Biz-blab. Corporate speak and business jargon makes you sound clueless
  4. Call and response. An office presentation not a revival tent meeting. 
  5. Cheesy stock photos. Avoid any photos of models posed in an office.
  6. Cliches. Expressions and analogies that have been overused mark you as unoriginal.
  7. Complex diagrams. If you need to explain it, it's probably too complex. Simplify!
  8. Corporate background. Seriously, dude, nobody cares about your corporate history.
  9. Fake statistics. Remember, only 35% of the country believes any old BS.
  10. Going on too long. Few speakers can hold audience attention > 20 minutes.
  11. Information dumps. Information without context is meaningless and soon forgotten.
  12. Irrelevant Slides. Data the audience doesn't need wastes time and mental energy.
  13. Jokes. Even comedians don't tell jokes anymore. They're really lame. 
  14. Jumping back and forth. Get your slides in the right order. Repeat them if necessary.
  15. Leaving your mike on. You might say something you'd rather than audience not hear.
  16. Pause words. Saying "uh" or "like" whilst thinking makes you sound like an idiot.  
  17. No attention grabber. You have < 10 seconds to get an audience interested. 
  18. No call to action. Every presentation is to drive the audience to DO something.
  19. No handouts. If there's information that the audience needs afterwards, provide it.
  20. Personal excuses. Don't set low audience expectations by complaining.
  21. Reading your slides. Guess what? Your audience can read. Just stop. Please.
  22. Sales pitches. The second you sound like a salesperson you've lost your audience.
  23. Skipping over slides. Either didn't edit your or don't know how to pace yourself. 
  24. Talking to your slides. Turn your face to the audience and keep it there.
  25. Sticky slides. A slide on the screen after it's relevant distracts from your message.
  26. Three microphone taps. Usually followed by: "Can everyone hear me?" Cringe.
  27. Too much information. Audiences only absorb so much and then they shut you out.
  28. Travel stories. Nobody cares what happened to you in the airport, taxi, hotel, etc.
  29. Trick questions. Asking questions the audience gets wrong makes you seem smug. 
  30. Unsubstantiated opinions. If you can't back it up with facts, leave it out.
  31. Unreadable slides. 'Nuff said.
Published on: Dec 12, 2017
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