Presenting with Slides: Avoiding Three Common Mistakes

Presenting with Slides: Avoiding Three Common Mistakes

Daniela Liberman

We’ve all been there, sitting in an audience, watching a presentation that just doesn’t work.

An effective presentation has clear messages, compelling content, and a confident speaker. Slides can be helpful in making your ideas easy to understand and keeping our audience focused. However, slides can also be distracting or create competing messages.

In this article, we’ll highlight three common slide-related mistakes and provide valuable tips to help you improve your presentations.

  1. The Slide Book: One common mistake is when the speaker writes their entire speech on the slides and reads every word, causing the audience to slowly lose interest. This overwhelming approach makes the audience wonder, “Why didn’t they just email me the slides?” People might start reading the slides instead of listening to us or get distracted by their phones.

    Instead, use concise slides that complement your message, leaving room for you to connect with your audience. If necessary, create a separate, more detailed version for post-meeting distribution.

  2. The Back-Turner: Another mistake is when speakers keep turning their backs to the audience to look at their own slides, which can make them seem less confident. Remember, heroes in movies don’t look back at explosions!

    We should know what’s coming next in our presentation. Maintain eye contact by using presenter view on your computer and keep it in front of you, allowing you to maintain eye contact with your audience while checking your next slide.
    Our audience is there to connect with us, not with our backs.
    And don’t forget, practice makes progress!

  3. The Disembodied Presenter: For remote presentations, it can be challenging to keep virtual audiences engaged. Unlike in-person presentations, when using different video conferencing platforms and projecting slides, the presenter is often cast away to a small frame on the side of the screen. This can give the impression that the slides are engaging with the audience and not the presenter.

    To enhance engagement, use the “stop share” button more frequently and increase your visibility on the screen, allowing for direct engagement and creating a more captivating virtual presence. Consider incorporating animations to add movement and maintain audience interest.

Aiming for a clear and impactful message requires planning and skill. When preparing your next presentation using slides, ensure they are clear, concise, and support your message, helping your audience understand your key takeaways.

By avoiding these common mistakes, your presentations will not only be more effective but also more enjoyable for your audience. That’s a win-win, right?

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