Ever felt lingering doubts after delivering a presentation?
You're not alone. Even the most seasoned executive leaders sometimes stumble in the spotlight (or in the boardroom).
And it’s not grand gestures that usually make or break a presentation — it’s often the subtler nuances.
This article will guide you through the most common presentation missteps and offer strategies to elevate your next talk or sales pitch from so-so to standing O.
Mistake #1: The Presentation Zombie
Your slides should complement you — not compete with you!
Overstuffed slides are the presentation version of zombies — lifeless, slow, and dragging everyone down.
If your audience wanted a read-along, they’d join a book club. Avoid this misstep by using your slides to capture short, concise takeaways from your talk. Focus on one idea per slide.
When you use this approach, you can make sure your audience is actually listening to what you’re saying, not just frantically trying to keep up with (or heaven forbid, write down) all the text on your slides.
Mistake #2: Baffling With Buzzwords
If you're throwing around industry lingo like confetti, chances are your audience is getting lost in the word parade.
Buzzwords might sound fancy, but they can confuse anyone who is outside your niche or not “in the know.” Keep your language simple, and explain any acronyms or vocab that might confuse your average audience member.
Mistake #3: Guessing About What Your Audience Needs and Wants
Every presentation you deliver is essentially a gift to your audience. While wrapping up the content with diligence and detail is half the battle, knowing who will be unwrapping that gift is equally crucial.
Do your research about your audience. Find out:
- Why are they here?
- What keeps them up at night?
- What are they hoping to gain from listening to you?
- What will make them lean in rather than nod off?
Personalizing your presentation will help you keep your audiences rapt, hanging on your every word, because they’ll know you’re speaking directly to them.
Mistake #4: Tech Failures
Picture this: You're all set, the room is silent, the spotlight is on you, and ... your presentation refuses to load. The horror, right?
Regardless of your setting —whether it’s an intimate pitch or a big stage — making sure your tech is working is non-negotiable.
High-stakes presentations amplify this tenfold. Trying to woo investors? They're sizing you up the moment you step on stage. A technical hiccup, like a corrupted file or a software platform that won’t load, can instantly morph their "potential investment" mindset into "can't trust them with a dime."
If they wouldn't put their faith in a pilot who forgot to do their pre-flight checks, why would they trust a presenter who overlooked their tech? Ensure the next show is glitch-free by doing tech checks the night before and the morning of your presentation.
And here’s a hint: You never need to worry about technical problems when you use Showcase Workshop to share your presentations! Our easy-to-use platform ensures you’ll always have access to the materials you need — even when you’re offline.
Mistake #5: The MIA CTA
It's a common mistake: presenters taking their final bow without an encore. You might think your only goal is to get your message across, then exit stage left as fast as possible.
But what's a show without a memorable closing number?
A call to action (CTA) is obvious when you’re delivering a big sales pitch, but every presentation deserves its final wrap-up moment.
A CTA gives your audience a direction and a next step. It's like saying, "Now that I've shared the tune, here's how you dance to it." You're passing the mic and empowering them to act on what they've just heard.
So include a clear CTA that tells people exactly what to do next. One easy way to do this is by ditching the mundane final “thank you” slide in your deck. Let your CTA be the showstopper on your last slide, so it’s memorable.
Bonus Mistake: The Never-Ending Story
Ever been to a movie that felt three hours too long? Don't be the director of that film.
Stretching past your time slot is the quickest way to transform eager listeners into restless phone-peekers. Respect the clock, and your audience will love you for it.
After all, brevity is the soul of wit ... and presentations!
The Secret to Flawless Presentations? The Right Tools.
Whenever you’re presenting, hitting the right notes is crucial.
From creating slides that engage your audience, to resonating with people’s hearts and minds, every detail counts.
But remember, a true presentation pro never leaves their performance to chance. They equip themselves with the best possible tools.
Ready to elevate your next presentation and leave no room for mistakes like these? Sign up for a free trial of Showcase Workshop today to assemble a pitch-perfect presentation and deliver it with confidence.