Wondering if your presentation skills are top notch or bottom of the barrel?
The more of these things you do, the more likely it is your presentation style is like a thin layer of crap on the underside of the barrel.
1. You’re talking about yourself
You know what?…
We really don’t care.
You see how we’re all looking at our feet?
That’s how much we care that you went to Harvard.
You see me practicing my two-handed smartphone typing?
That’s how much I care about how many “employee of the month” awards you’ve won.
Sure you should tell us about yourself when you step on stage, but unless it gives us context so we understand the point of the presentation, or entertains us to break the ice:
Here’s a quick tip, once you’re employed it no longer matters whether you graduated Harvard, Yale, Melbourne Uni, or Todai.
If you think it does, do us all a favor and hang up your presenter boots.
2. You’re talking at your audience
We are well aware that you’re fully bought into whatever change initiative you’re trying to push on us, but that doesn’t mean we are.
This is fresh to us, and people don’t like change.
If you want us to buy-in to your presentation you need to talk “with” us.
You need to understand us.
You need to at least pretend you give a crap.
Unless you do, most of the audience aren’t going to give a crap about your presentation.
3. You’re talking to your slides
As beautiful and well-designed as they are, you don’t need to convince your slides of anything.
If you’re talking to your slides you’re leaving out a valuable chance to convince your audience you’ve got a great idea.
Few people can be persuaded by someone’s back.
Focus on the audience, talk “with” them, don’t sweat little mistakes, and see how much better people respond to you and your idea.
4. You’re talking to the ceiling
You’re not going to find the answer there.
Those fluorescent tubes are mesmerizing, aren’t they?…
But they’re not going to give you any insights about what to say.
…Unless you’re a office lighting salesperson.
Also, your audience is wondering what’s so interesting up there.
And while you’re busy checking out cobwebs, your audience are starting to find other things to do. Like dream about life outside this meeting room.
Practice what you’re going to say and look at your audience when you’re talking to them.
You’ll create a stronger connection and multiply your chances of the audience listening to you.
5. You’re talking in circles
Merry-go-rounds are fun…
When you’re 5 years old and don’t have deadlines to worry about.
The more you talk in circles, over-explain, backtrack, and go off on tangents the more the audience wants to club you with the original iPad. That’s right, the heavy one.
When you’re presenting information or answering questions it’s important to be clear and succinct.
Spit it out!
6. You’re talking to the floor
Remember your dating strategy from your younger days?
Asking for a date while looking at the floor and making a circle with your foot.
Did it work?
Not once, right? So it’s unlikely to work in your presentation.
Look at your audience and talk with them.
You’ll connect with them and they’ll naturally want to listen to you.