What Your Presentation Really Needs

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Delivering a presentation? Whether Powerpoint or elevator pitch – you owe it to yourself to avoid these common presentation mistakes.

Make sure your presentation isn’t a “Snaf” (…that’s almost a complete Snafu).

Are you guilty of any of these cardinal sins, in your Presentation or Your Elevator Pitch?

1. If You Don’t Care, No One Else Will Either
If you believe that your material is boring, insignificant, or tired, your audience will reflect all of that back to you. Remember, your listener has never heard this stuff before. Even if your topic is the Q4 inventory report, or the new ERP system, there must be a reason why you are discussing these things. Find a reason to make it matter, if you want people to care.

2. Condescending to Your Audience
I worked with a guy named Stan. Stan always thought he was the smartest person in the room. If you wanted to know how smart Stan was, all you had to do was ask him. Do you know Stan? Or…are you Stan?? If you are so fantastic that you are bombastic, your message doesn’t matter. Relate to people on every possible level, even if (or especially if) you are delivering a difficult message. Respect is the key to effective communication.

3. Pacing Like a Madman
A little bit of movement is a good thing. Sometimes it’s a great thing, and it can ‘fire up’ an audience. But make sure your movement matches your message. Dancing because you are nervous means you need a little more practice. Or, perhaps some decaf. Check out Steve Ballmer’s magic, it’s a classic.

4. Failing to Videotape Yourself
You know what everyone has these days? A video camera. On their phone. If you have a major presentation, or even just an elevator pitch, you need to see what others are seeing. Before you see it on YouTube. Don’t be a Ballmer.

5. Cryptic Slides
It always gets a laugh in a technology presentation when I say, “You know, I’ve gone through 14 slides and – did you notice? – there hasn’t been a single spreadsheet so far!”  (If you’re thinking, wow – not really all that funny, you should remember: My delivery is HILARIOUS) /:-)

Spreadsheets are necessary, but spreadsheets are only part of the story. For presenters that want to make an impact, take time to INTERPRET the NUMBERS. Don’t let the numbers speak for themselves; explain the trends and the implications to the audience. Make what matters matter. Numbers are only the raw materials; you have to make something out of them, if you want to be remembered.

Creating a great presentation requires more than just great material – telling your story in a way that’s authentic and compelling is the subject of The NEW Elevator Pitch.  Have you ever been a victim of one or more of these Presentation Situations?

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