Can I be 100% honest?
Most of the presentations advice online, in books, and training courses is useless.
Often it’s total crap.
Over the last 20 years I’ve racked up hundreds of hours of presentation experience and I’ve seen first-hand what works and what doesn’t.
There is uncountable amount of misinformation out there, but here are the 5 myths that I find the most irritating (especially because newbies waste their time on this stuff)…
Myth #1: Lock eye contact for at least 2 seconds
Imagine an audience of 20 people.
That’s a minimum 40 seconds, not including the extra time taken for moving your head and accidentally repeating a “lock-on” in the same 40-second space.
I think this myth came about because some training companies have never sat back and actually thought about how long 2 seconds is. When you are talking to a large group, 2 seconds of exclusive eye contact is downright uncomfortable.
Eye contact shouldn’t have set minimums or be planned. You have enough to think about on stage.
Eye contact should be natural. Glance around the audience, occasionally you will maintain eye contact a little longer with some participants and that’s okay.
Follow this rule: You should only think about eye contact to remind yourself to look at the audience and to avoid looking at any one audience member for an extended time.
Myth #2: Plan and practice gestures
Another “pro-trainer tip.”
Let’s cut to the chase… Practiced gestures look ridiculous.
In a regular conversation you don’t practice gestures, so you shouldn’t do it on stage either.
Focus on knowing your subject matter and talking conversationally to the audience and the gestures will come naturally.
Myth #3: Your PowerPoint slide deck should be no more than 10 slides
Your PowerPoint slide deck should be as long as it needs to be.
Of course, if you’re just filling slides with bullet points then shorter is better. But, if your slides are designed to support your talk, without taking focus away from you, then your slide deck can be as heavy or as light as it needs to be.
Myth #4: Ugly slides will destroy your speech
No they won’t.
But people who sell books and courses on slide design want you to believe it.
Ugly slides won’t enhance a speech but they can’t destroy it.
On the other hand a bad presenter can most definitely destroy a speech. Even if he has Steve-Jobs’-level slides.
Focus on getting your talk right first and the slides can follow.
Myth #5: The slide deck should contain all the information because the audience needs to review what you said
Obvious crap… Think about it like this: The more reading material the audience have during your speech the less they are listening to you.
The slide deck needs to support your talk.
If you need to give take-away reading material, give out handouts at the end of your presentation.
What’s your experience? Let’s chat in the comments section below!