“Penguin doing the moonwalk while eating a banana.”
That’s what your crappy visual communication looks like during your presentation.
Here are the top 9 visual communication mistakes that make you look stupid in your presentation…
Mistake #1: Synchronized signing
You know how you spent all that time practicing your gestures?
…Complete waste of time!
As impressive as it is that your hands are able to imitate the words coming out of your mouth, have you looked in the mirror?
In regular conversation you don’t make a chopping motion and move your hands apart when you say “separate.”
You also don’t pretend to swing a bat when you say “baseball.”
And why don’t you do those things?
For two reasons. First, to avoid looking stupid. And second, because when we are talking our hands naturally move to help us explain what we are saying.
Stop being a Muppet and let your gestures happen naturally.
Mistake #2: Resty hands
Did you wet yourself before taking the stage?
Clasping your hands in front of you or hiding them behind your back can feel comfortable…
But!… It makes you look like you’re hiding something. And it draws attention to your crotchal region.
When you take to the stage try to maintain keep an open body position, uncovered by rogue limbs.
Mistake #3: Rocking and rolling
This is not a country music concert and the stage is not that hot.
Stop moving from foot to foot! And cut out the bouncing on your heels!
This nervous energy is a huge distraction for the hostages being forced to listen to you.
Try to limit unrehearsed tap dancing.
Mistake #4: Standing still
If you still haven’t moved in 5 seconds I’ll put a dollar in the cup in front of you.
What’s that? You’re not busking?
While it’s good to position yourself firmly on the stage, super-gluing your feet to the floor is a sure sign you are nervous.
Mistake #5: Moving
A caged tiger looks scary.
When you do an impression of one it just looks weird.
Avoid pacing from one side of the stage to the other.
Movement is good but not constant movement. Slow movement where you move-stop-pause-talk is effective.
Mistake #6: Igor-itis
Unless you’re 90, and you’ve been working in a rice field all your life, stand up straight!
Hunched shoulders and a bent over back will do nothing for your credibility.
If you want the audience to trust you, make sure your posture says “believable.”
Mistake #7: Looking up, looking down, looking all around
Are your notes on the ceiling?
Did you forget to put your shoes on today?
If the answer to both of these questions is “no” then you have no reason to be constantly looking up or down.
Keep your eye contact with the audience and glance from person to person.
Don’t fall into the trap of looking at the ceiling or floor. And definitely don’t go all crazy-eye with erratic eye movements.
Mistake #8: “The Summer of George”
Have you seen the episode of Seinfeld where Elaine’s coworker doesn’t swing her arms when she walks?
Remember why that was so weird?
Well, think about your presentation.
Your arms hanging lifeless by your sides is kind of like the character played by Molly Shannon… Weird.
Give ’em some life!
Mistake #9: Pointer-itis
Stop looking down to make sure the pointer button hasn’t run away.
The button hasn’t moved!
You can confidently press the button and know the slides will advance.
Your slides lose all impact when the audience sees you looking down each time you click forward.