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Training Course Outlines

Assertive Communication Skills
Customer Care
Defusing Hostile Customers
Meetings Skills
Minute Taking
People Management
Presentation Skills
Project Management Awareness
Recruitment and Selection Skills
Report Writing
Stress Management
Time Management


Creating a great presentation
How to write a presentation
Using visual aids effectively
How to lose your audience
Why fear public speaking?
Will they remember you?
Your body language
10 most common mistakes
Public speaking communication
Good speech topics
Public speaking objectives
Basic public speaking skills
What you must do to have an effective presentation

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The 10 Most Common Mistakes Presenters Make

Think for a moment about presentations you've listened to in the past. All of us hear speakers in a variety of settings. These could include in neighborhood groups, school settings, social organizations, and often in your work life. Would it surprise you to know that many, many people list public speaking at the top of their list of experiences they dread the most? That's right. Many people are just terrified of public speaking of any kind. They are unable to control the nervousness which often comes with public speaking. They stumble when asked to write a speech. They don't understand the techniques available to them to overcome the fear of public speaking. Yet, most of us do have to present information orally at one time or another, and often in a work place setting.

Many people find work place presentations to be the most challenging as well as the most significant ones we may be called upon to deliver. Why? Probably we realize what may be at stake. We want to seem calm, authoritative, well-informed, and smooth while presenting business information. Yet, many people have no idea how to project the correct image through body language, through how the presentation is structured, and through how the speech is written, and through how they deliver it. Most of all, they do not know how to overcome that very real fear of public speaking. That's the bad news. The good news is that these are all techniques which you can learn. Don't assume that the wonderful presenters you've heard have always been wonderful presenters. They have not. Superior presentation skills are learned, just as many other skills are.

One way to look at presentation skills is to think about the presentations you have witnessed yourself. I invite you to think not about the great presenters, but the ones you found lacking. Some of the most common "presentations pitfalls," are fortunately fixable. Let's get started.

  1. The Techno Disaster: This is a presenter who is attempting to use presentation technology with which he is not fully familiar. He may fumble with switches, sizing of his slides, or even blown-out bulbs in the overhead projector. And while he is bumbling around, what is his audience doing and thinking? They may feel sorry for him, but they are quickly losing interest, and they are regarding this presenter as anything but an expert. Regardless of how well-informed he may be about the material he's trying to present, he's really damaged his credibility with his audience.
  2. The Detail Man: These presenters are so sure you will be fascinated with their topic that they have---literally----dozens and dozens of slides in the presentation. The detail they present is far, far, more than the audience has need of. And if the information is quite technical, the Detail Man will lose his audience after 3 or 4 slides. Too bad, because he really does have information they need.
  3. Miss Helpless: Well, this could be Mr. Helpless, too. This is the presenter who seems to need help with everything. She does not know where the light switches are. She can't adjust her equipment. She drops things. She loses her place. You get the idea. Is this presenter credible? What do you think?
  4. The Pacer: Many presenters are absolutely terrified of public speaking, and coping with this fear is handled in many, many creative ways. And would you believe that most of these people are not at all aware that they are wearing a path in the rug? The audience is far more interested in watching this presenter stalk back and forth than in what he or she has to say.
  5. The Bundle of Nerves: These poor presenters completely distract their audiences with their odd body language and stumbling presentation style. The Bundle of Nerves is a twitchy, jumpy, painfully nervous presenter! Anyone trying to listen to him is often completely distracted by his very obvious terror at being a presenter. And the value of the presentation may well be lost in the discomfort the audience feels watching the discomfort of the presenter.
  6. The Noisy Presenter: Presenters are supposed to make "noise" right? Well, they are supposed to speak. But they are not supposed to jingle, click, rattle, or snap. Some nervous presenters rattle the change or keys in their pockets, click a ball-point pen on and off, rattle their jewelry, or even snap gum! Again, the value of the information being presented is lost in the cloud of noises and distractions this presenter provides his audience.
  7. The Challenger: This presenter comes to the front of the room wearing a very large chip on his or her shoulder. His presentation is quite obviously a thinly veiled, often aggressive, demonstration of his point of view. This presenter is not wearing his heart on his sleeve; he's wearing his aggression or "attitude" on his sleeve. Again, the message, regardless of how important, it lost in the distraction of his attitude. Too bad.
  8. The Clueless: This is a presenter who knows less about her subject than does her audience. No matter how valuable the information she has to present, her audience will disregard her as soon as they realize how ill-prepared she is.
  9. The "Authority:" This speaker handles his own nervousness by high-handed and even aggressive behavior toward his audience. Audience members who ask questions he does not know the answer to may actually be embarrassed or maligned in his responses. Some "Authorities" may even make up answers when asked questions they can't answer.
  10. The Whisperer: These poor folks are obviously so terrified by their presenter roles that they are actually sort of paralyzed by the experience. This person quickly telegraphs to his audience that he is terrified, and he speaks in such a low voice that his audience cannot hear him at all. And if they ask him to elaborate or speak up, this further terrifies him. The audience becomes more and more uncomfortable themselves, and the poor presenter loses whatever eye contact he may have once had. And the information he had to communicate? It's lost, of course.

When you think about these "Top Ten" presentation ills, it's pretty obvious that all of these problems are within the control of the presenter. Many of them have to do with command of the material in the presentation. Some of them have to do with familiarity with the room and equipment itself. And several of them have to do with fear. There is some good news, here, however. The common antidote for all 10 of these presentation "ills" is preparation. Think about it.

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