I've been to a few presentations lately and gained some great insights into valuable subjects. With good engaging speakers, I've had time to consider their subject and then take away useful knowledge for my own use.
However, I continue to see two fundamental mistakes that even the most experienced and engaging presenters can fall foul of:
1 - I Can Read
Yes, I can read. And this means that, as a presenter, you don't need to read the slides to me.
Most presenters know their subject well but rely on the text on the screen to make their point. My trick is to use more pictures than words and then my presentation reinforces the message expressed in the picture. The human brain is also more likely to recall a message reinforced by an image than one expressed purely by text.
Furthermore, reading from a screen invariably angles presenters' body away from the audience which can lead to a sense of disengagement with the audience.
And finally, on the subject of text and reading, all too often I have heard presenters apologising for the font size. If there are too many words to use a large font size, then there are too many words! That won't be a problem with a picture, and you can always distribute notes from your presentation to support the points made.
2 - Check You're Grandma and Spilling
It may just be me, but if I see a spelling or grammar mistake in the text of a presentation, I become distracted and I feel that the presenter may not have paid full attention to the presentation, so why should I?
When writing anything, check that the spelling and grammar is correct. And don't rely on your software; the sentence above is correct in grammar and spelling, but nonsensical in meaning. A simple method is to read the sentence backwards as your brain will check each word rather than assume a spelling.
Try this: "spelling a assume than rather word each check will brain your". You will find that you have read each word rather than read the sentence.
Of course, using pictures means you have less text to make mistakes with!
Jeremy Taylor is MD of The Company Connector Ltd, and, despite being a little bit pedantic, he is an excellent public speaker, event host and facilitator.
Read his blog at https://thecompanyconnector.com/blog or call him on 07831 148064