10X Business Letter
August 26th, 2014
San Diego, Ca
Do You Make These Presentation Mistakes?
Dear 10X Business Builder,
We usually send out helpful information on what to do to be an outstanding influencer. In this issue, I want to give you some advice on what not to do. Below are some of the mistakes presenters make that you should avoid at all cost.
We get rewarded in public for what we do in private. Have you ever sat in an audience where the presenter droned on and on about a concept or principle that you understood immediately? This babbling is usually due to lack of preparation. Many presenters think they can just get up there and “wing it”. It always blows my mind when people tell me — with hint of pride, that they’re going to wing it. This is a guaranteed recipe for disaster. With the use of presentation structures, the creation of talk can be reduced significantly, but you must still “own your material”. A good rule of thumb is for every hour of presenting, requires 15-20 hours of planning, creating and practicing.
“Um”, “ah”, “so” are examples of filler words. Filler words are words that we say to “stall” while we think about what we are going to say next. And to make matters worse, we all have our favorite go-to word. So once you get in the habit of using them, more than likely, you use the same one over and over (Right? <— Another filler word that is abused). And as an audience member, once you’ve cued into one of these distracting words, it makes the rest of presentation virtually unbearable. Think about the time you counted 100 um’s during a presentation!
A very skilled presenter will work the room. She will move to one side of the stage/room and address that side of the audience. Then she will very slowly move back to the center of the room and address that portion of the audience. And eventually, she will make her way to final side of the audience and speak to them. This really makes people feel like she is involving them in the conversation. During the duration of the presentation, she will rinse and repeat this technique. Something that you see from a rookie presenter is what we call pacing. They walk back and forth at brisk pace — usually from nerves. I like to use the analogy of the carnival game where you shoot the moving target — bing — and it quickly starts moving the other direction — bing —and about faces and goes back to where it just came from. Roberto likes the analogy of a caged tiger. He recorded a video on this here caged tiger — and demonstrates the correct way to fix this problem.
Too Much Information
In our eagerness to please and impress we tend to overwhelm the audience with too much information. We make the mistake of trying to tell them EVERYTHING we know about the subject in a very short period of time. If you do this, you will lose the audience. The human mind can only remember 5-7 key points at a time. Focus on telling what they NEED to know. In an hour long presentation if your audience walks away and retains 2-3 core concepts, you’ve done well.
Apologizing for lack of experience
Can you remember a presentation when the first words out of the presenter’s mouth were,
“I apologize, but I don’t usually give presentations…”
What kind of stage does that set? It doesn’t make the audience more apathetic, it’s awkward and uncomfortable. In fact, it has the opposite effect. This is a pre-frame that what is about to be presented is going to be terrible. When you are in front of the room, you are the leader. Nobody knows you’re an inexperienced speaker. The very fact that you are up there bestows you with certain credibility. When you apologize upfront, you self-sabotage and you erode that authority.
Apologizing for mistakes
Many times nerves will get the best of you and you will leave stuff out or forget to cover something that you wanted to say. A natural tendency is to apologize audience. DON’T. Remember this. They don’t know what you were SUPPOSED to say. They don’t know your script. Chances are nobody knew the difference. The same goes for spelling mistakes or errors on your slides. Let them be and just move on with your presentation. Though some probably caught that error, MANY didn’t. When you apologize, you make sure EVERYBODY knows. Imagine if that particular day, you didn’t brush your teach and out of no where you told the audience, “Hey, I’m sorry my breath wreaks, I forgot to brush my teeth today” … people would be like, what the heck?
Apologizing for running out of time
“I wish I had more time to tell you about ____,”
The very fact that you ran out of time is cardinal sin. If you have properly prepared you should finish on time or even early. If you are running out time, it’s simply because you didn’t practice enough. In the rare occasion that circumstances out of your control shortened your allotted time (ie-previous speaker ran long, or event got a late start), you still don’t apologize — you improvise. If you are a student of InfluenceOlogy then you know we teach students to create presentations using chunks. If you are short on time you simply leave out a chunk and go to the close.
Skipping the close
YOU NEVER WANT TO LEAVE OUT THE CLOSE! Most people we coach are speaking with a purpose (sell product, gather contact information, set appointment…), so the close is one of the, if not THE most important part of the presentation. It’s so important that even if you are mid sentence and someone in the back holds up a sign that says two minutes, you should finish that sentence and go right into a transition to the close.
”…Which brings me to why I’m here today… “
Next time you are about to give a big presentation glance over this list and avoid making these presentation mistakes at all costs.
Loving Living Giving Large,
Editor, The 10X Business Letter