Nervous cartoon man giving bad presentation

Not all presentation preparation is necessarily equal. You may spend quite a bit of time preparing to the point of over-preparing and still not do well at the presentation. If you don’t prepare properly, you might as well have not prepared at all.

What do you need to be on the lookout for while putting together and practicing your next presentation? Be wary of these seven presentation “sins” if you want to give a successful speech:

  1. Not having a goal – When it comes to public speaking, it is all about intention. What do you want your audience to do? What do you want them to know? If you don’t know what the goal of your speech is, your audience will not know either. While you are preparing the speech, decide what the purpose of it is and then make sure to tell your audience what you hope you can achieve for them with it.
  2. Forgetting to merge structure and the message – A great story line, exciting metaphors, an interesting topic, and intriguing examples are all lost if you do not remember to structure the content correctly. You must make your speech easy to follow for the audience by using a simple, yet effective structure of beginning, middle, and end. The content may be excellent, but can leave the audience walking away confused instead of inspired.
  3. Not using your voice – Giving a presentation does not mean you should turn into a monotone drone for your audience. Use your voice to excite, stimulate, and persuade with inflection, pauses, pitch, and volume.
  4. Preparing the visuals before the content – There are many people who are in the bad habit of preparing their visuals or PowerPoint before actually writing out their presentation. Although preparing the slides can help create an outline, they are not able to further develop the message. It is best to think through and take the time to fully develop your message before creating the visuals that will go with it.
  5. Lacking passion in delivery – Most people take the time to read through and study their materials before the presentation, but they do not take the time to rehearse their delivery. The best speakers know that it is not just what you say, but how you say it. It’s a good idea to practice your speech – complete with prepared delivery – out loud at least three or four full times before the real thing.
  6. Overlooking body language – You cannot just tell your audience that you are passionate about the topic of your speech – you must show them. Body language can be a very powerful tool in conveying a message and showing your audience that you believe in it.
  7. Lacking confidence and conviction – When it comes to public speaking, confidence is an absolute must-have. If you don’t prove to your audience that you are confident and believe in the meaning behind your speech, why would they believe it?

Would you like to improve your presentation skills and learn how to avoid these “sins” in real-time? Join us for one of our Executive Presentation Skills® seminars! Click here to find a seminar near you!


Check Out Our New Communication Q&A Series