Top 10 Most Common Presentation Mistakes

You don’t use infographics.

Almost 50% of your brain is involved in visual processing; 70% of all your sensory receptors are in your eyes; and it takes us 1/10 of a second to get the sense of a visual scene [1]. We are visually wired beings — which is why we crave visuals and images to help us comprehend information. Infographics are known to increase retention rates and comprehension, because they mix design, writing, and analysis in a way that make the absorption of information simple. Not only are they compelling and attractive, but they create brand awareness, and effectively present content in a refreshing way that make people want to share. 

Information overload.

No one wants to read paragraphs of content during a presentation. Long tedious information not only distracts from your presentation, but your presence as a speaker. People process brief information easier — keep it simple! You want to hook your audience, and keep them engaged. Don’t fill a presentation will 45 slides when you only need 15.

Templates don’t match your brand.

54% percent of brands don’t have an on site dedicated content director, which is why choosing an appropriate design that accompanies the voice of your content and brand is crucial [2]. If you carry your company as high class and sophisticated, accompany your presentation with a similarly branded template. Don’t let poor templates ruin a good presentation.

Not knowing your topic.

Knowing your presentation content inside and out is crucial. Be prepared for any questions that audience members may ask, and know how to defend your point. Make sure your pool of knowledge extends far past any key points you have laid out. 

Reading word for word.

There is nothing more boring than a presenter reading slides word for word. Keep your slides’ content concise, and allow yourself to elaborate on more detailed information. Make sure you are presenting to your audience, and that the audience is listening to you, not your slides. Remember, the slides are there to support your main ideas, not make up your entire presentation. 

Death by bullet points.

If each slide is made up of the same layout – the most common being bullet points and a headline – the presentation can have a hypnotic (read: sleepy) effect on the audience. The presentation should have a balance of content and visuals. Switch your slides up by throwing in effective images and infographics. In fact, humans have a 95% rate of understanding labels with text and pictures, compared to a 70% rate of understanding for labels with text only [3]. Not only will your audience stay more intrigued, but they will comprehend your content easier.  

The audience can’t read the slides.

The audience needs to be able to clearly read the content. There should be contrast between your text and background, and your audience should be able to easily read the slides from where they are sitting – be it 5 or 50 feet away. Additionally, keep the color scheme and font size consistent with each slide.

Choosing animations over visuals.

36% of preparation time for the average proposal is consumed by design and animation work by people without formal graphics training [4]. Don’t let any more time be consumed by clipart — don’t make your headlines spin onto the screen, don’t make bells ring every time you move to a new slide, and don’t waste your hours! Too many animations distracts from the presentation and makes it feel cheap. Instead, use visually appealing and compelling visuals to give your presentation variety. However, don’t clutter your slides with extraneous pictures — embrace negative space.

Not acknowledging the audience.

Don’t get so wrapped up in presentation that you lose sight of your audience. Make sure you acknowledge individuals, let them know when you will be taking questions (during or after), and what they can expect from your presentation from the beginning. 

Not knowing the audience.

Customizing or tweaking your presentation to benefit your specific audience can maximize effectiveness. Know who you are presenting to – the size of the audience, demographics, positions, their knowledge level of your topic, etc. Educating yourself on your audience before hand allows you to eliminate unnecessary information and maximize your presentations’ potential. In fact, 78% of CMOs think customizing content is the future of marketing [5]. 

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