If you’re keen to build a successful career in a business and sales-driven environment, you’ll need to be able to deliver strong presentations. Presentation skills are crucial for influencing others and closing deals and it’s down to you to develop your own style and ensure you are effective.
While it’s impossible to pinpoint a presentation style that works for everyone, there are a number of common mistakes that put a dampener on any presentation. To give your presentation the best chance of success, be sure to avoid the errors below!
If you’re a detail-orientated person, it can be tempting to pack your presentations with detail. However, PowerPoint’s crammed with text or overloaded with slides can be daunting and lead to your audience missing the key points you are trying to make.
It’s also important to avoid slipping into industry jargon especially when presenting to people who aren’t experts in the field. Ensure that you maintain your audience’s interest by keeping your content brief, simple and easy to understand.
The visuals that you use during a presentation should enhance it and be engaging. Clichéd stock images can be dull so try to figure out how you can use fresh imagery that captures your audience’s attention. Using a bright colour scheme is also a good way to keep them engaged and to make your topic exciting.
What’s the aim of your presentation? When going into any presentation you should have a clear goal of what you want to achieve and what message you want to get across. Without this in mind, it’s easy to lose direction and your audience’s attention. It’s a good idea to include a clear call-to-action at the end of your presentation i.e. getting in touch with someone, visiting a website, signing up for a service or buying a product. Handing out business cards is also another good way to make the next steps easy for your audience.
You can’t always control technical problems, however, if a link isn’t working or a video won’t play it will reflect poorly on you. You’re also likely to waste time trying to resolve the problem.
In order to minimise your chances of suffering at the hands of technical faults, you should aim to arrive early and test all equipment where possible. You should also always have a back-up option just in case!
The best presenters always open up the floor and accept questions at the end of their presentation. This gives your audience an opportunity to clear up any areas of confusion and to ensure they fully understand what you have explained to them. While it’s difficult to fully plan for this section, you can think about some predictable questions that may come up and plan how to answer them.
Answering questions is the perfect opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise, just ensure that you stay in control and don’t let questions and answers overrun.
Technology is a great way to enhance your presentation and the majority of people turn to PowerPoint to help them bring their presentation to life. However, it’s important to remember that the most important part of any presentation is what you are actually saying. Relying solely on your PowerPoint to prompt you could cause you to lose track or forget key points that you want to make.
To avoid relying too heavily on technology and visuals ensure that you prepare exactly what you want to say and practice. If you can encourage audience interaction along the way, this also helps to keep them engaged without the use of visual aids.
Presentation skills are valuable for a whole host of business-related roles and they can take some time to perfect. If you can prepare well and avoid the mistakes above, you can deliver your presentation with confidence.