10 Fool-Proof Ways to Ruin Your Presentation

Whether you are a manager or a CEO, you would be required to present your work to people in or outside your organization, some day. If that day has not arrived for you, then it’s coming very soon. I write this blog after interacting with the first time managers of a reputed Indian MNC. The group said if they could get a fool-proof system of effective presenting, then they could pay anything for that system. So allow this blog to be a teaser for our excellent workshops for first time managers (Presenting With Impact – a workshop that we conduct for leaders to become effective at making a mark).

Several presenters are looking out for tips and tricks that can successfully bail them out from that high-stakes presentation. So instead of giving the to-dos of effective presentations, let me share with you the ten NOT-to dos while presenting your content.

  1. pointing-the-slide-changerPointing the slide changer towards the screen or towards the participants:
    I mean, the slide changer/clicker is connected to your laptop and not the screen. Stop pointing it towards the screen to change slides. It’s not your television remote; it will work in a set range, simply know that range and move within the clicker zone.
  2. Looking towards the ceiling while presenting:
    Do you have your script written on the ceiling! If you do, then go ahead and try reading it or else focus on the participants by having direct eye contact. Eye contact helps you develop rapport.
  3. Starting the session late because of a few:
    80 percent of participants are on time and rest come late, so what to do! Don’t penalize the people who have come on time. Either start on time or conduct some icebreakers to engage the people who came on time to hear you. Have some fillers in your repertoire.
  4. Assuming that you know it all:
    Stop being Google because you are not. Can you please tell me what “bachftechnish” is?  Haha, don’t stress your brain out! It is actually a short form of bachelor of technology with my first few letters of my name (bachelor of technology nish-it). Accept that you can’t know it all.
  5. Rushing through the slides because you don’t have time:
    Why! Why! Why do you want to present a 180-slide deck when the total time allotted is 18 minutes? Don’t torture your participants with “Death by PPT.” Plan your content according to the time you have or make a movie clip and show them.cartoon-of-conversation-held-between-two-unknown-people
  6. Not giving a break:
    How will you feel if I tie you to a chair and not give you a bio break for long?  I think you will break my bones afterward. Empathise with your audience. If you have a long session planned, schedule adequate short breaks and give participants a breather.
  7. Not introducing yourself before the start:
    If you are Bill Gates or Mukesh Ambani you might not need an introduction. And if you are not it’s better to share who you are and why you are there to present. Give your audience a reason to listen to you.
  8. Checking your WhatsApp when participants are doing some activity:
    We all love social networking but it would be awkward if you see a participant online with the status “Feeling bored at…” You would never want your participant group to check out Facebook or a WhatsApp when they are listening to you. Now, when they are doing an activity you should avoid using your phone. You know what – “They are watching you.”
  9. Wearing the wrong attire:
    Imagine taking up a presentation at an uber-cool Apple office and you are all suited booted – a huge mismatch of culture. Or going to an uber-formal IBM office wearing jeans and a t-shirt! When in Rome wear what the Romans wear. Or at least have something common in the attire.cartoon-of-man-presenting-joke
  10. Repeating the same joke again and again:
    I can’t hear your 121st joke 121 times and still laugh at it. I love fresh creative content every time. If you want to learn to add humour in your presentation visit a stand-up comedy event. If you need funny one-liners, check these out.

Till then enjoy and happy presenting!

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