change management and project management

Common presentation mistakes

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Giving a presentation to your client can be one of the most nerve-wracking experiences a consultant can go through. It’s pretty to avoid some common blunders.

There are plenty of tips out there suggesting what you should and shouldn’t do with PowerPoint or Prezi so I’m not going to replicate any of that.  Also, I won’t insult you by saying ‘do your homework’.  That’s a given – knowing your subject matter inside out is generally essential.  However, here are my top 5 things to avoid:

  • Using someone else’s material – responding to a query by saying ‘sorry, these aren’t my slides’, doesn’t look good.  You should always present your own information and be prepared to defend it.
  • Not knowing your audience – avoid any surprises by finding out who is going to be at the meeting. This will help you get the right level of information in your presentation.
  • Over-reliance on your slides – your content should be there to support you, not the other way around.  You want people to listen to you and not be distracted by the content on your slides.
  • Just reading your content – non-verbal communication is extremely powerful and should be used to full effect.  A strong and positive posture, eye contact and verbal delivery build credibility and add weight to your opinions.
  • Lecturing –  you’re probably an expert at what you do.  However, it’s important not to come across as if you know everything.  If your colleague wants to interrupt, or ask a question, let them.  Make it a discussion, and you’ll both come out of the meeting feeling better.

Finally, and probably most difficult if you’re nervous, try smiling.  People want to hear from you, so try not to look like it’s an ordeal.

Have you got any presentation tips or things to avoid?