There was a post on the Instigator Blog: 5 Phrases You Never Want To Hear In A Presentation, which was picked up over on lifehack.org as What Not To Say in a Presentation. As opposed to things not to say, how about three critical things that you absolutely must not do:
- Forget your audience.
- This is a painfully common mistake. The number of times I have sat through 40 minutes of I/me/we blah. I really don’t care. I honestly don’t. To paraphrase Drucker, the only reason I care, is the reason that I care. You are there for the audience, the audience is not there for you. Connect with them. Make eye contact. Understand who are they and where are they coming from (culturally and physically). Understand why they have come and what they are expecting. They might not care about what you care about, but you must care about what they came for.
- Forget your point.
- If you forget your point, your audience stands no chance of remembering it. What is it that you are trying to get across? What do you want to achieve? If you wander, rat-hole or become distracted you will loose the audience. If they don’t know where you are going, they can’t follow you. Quite literally.
- Forget to end.
- Tailing off is a recipe for disaster. A strong and clear conclusion is your opportunity to press your points home and ensure the audience didn’t miss anything. The audience expects an ending, so don’t disappoint them. A strong ending also puts you in a great position to handle questions in a controlled manner. It might even get you a round of applause.
There… I got that out of my system… Normal programming will resume shortly…