January 22

50 Ways to Blow a Great Presentation


So many ways to blow a great presentation or demo…and so little time.  You likely work hard to get the opportunity to present to a prospect, so why risk blowing it on one (or more) highly preventable mistakes?

Here’s my Top 50 ways to blow a great presentation.  Check off which ones you’re guilty of – if you dare!

  1. Spend a lot of time “chatting” with your prospect in the beginning so YOU can be comfortable.
  2. Talk about yourself or your company right away.
  3. Take your time getting to the value you bring your customer.
  4. Don’t confirm who will be in the audience ahead of time.
  5. If you find out anything’s changed before you start, forge ahead with what you planned, regardless of whether it’s still relevant.
  6. Don’t practice. You don’t want to be phony!!
  7. And if you didn’t have as much time to prepare as you’d like, be sure to tell your audience that upfront.
  8. Don’t plan out the key points you want to convey. Your memory is rock solid under pressure!
  9. Don’t tailor your presentation to your audience – beyond adding the obligatory logo to your first slide.
  10. Skip through slides that aren’t relevant (and you forgot to hide.)
  11. Don’t waste time warming up your voice or body.
  12. Don’t worry about getting into a positive mental state or focusing on your intention.
  13. Try to get across as many points as possible in the time that you have.
  14. Don’t let the prospect speak for at least 10 minutes.
  15. Continually ask your prospect, “does that make sense?”
  16. Answer your own questions. Who has time to wait?!
  17. Don’t plan your questions out ahead of time – wait for inspiration.
  18. Put up an agenda. And then never refer back to it again.
  19. Don’t worry about a back-up plan. What could possibly go wrong??!
  20. Make a big deal out of every mistake or technology issue. (Bonus:  Lament what they could have seen if everything was working perfectly!)
  21. Read from every slide. Because reading is hard.
  22. Expect your prospect to read a slide – but then talk about something else while they’re reading it.
  23. Use light pastel colors and fancy fonts that are pretty, but difficult to read.
  24. When showing graphs or charts, refer only to colors. After all, what are the odds people are colorblind anyway? (Ahem, one out of every 16 males!)
  25. Use lots of bullet points or tiny type.
  26. Go through each bullet point, line by line by tedious line…
  27. Try to use fewer slides – and pack each one to the point of collapse!
  28. Show a complex screen or graph and let your audience figure out what part they should focus on. Or wave vaguely towards a section of it.
  29. Save questions for the very end of your presentation.
  30. And use a slide with a giant question mark on it for Q&A (otherwise, how will they know?)
  31. Speak in a monotone voice.
  32. Never pause. You’ve got a lot to get through so just do it!
  33. Keep it real by not worrying about filler words in your speech, like um, ah, so, etc.
  34. If standing, shuffle back and forth aimlessly or continually shift your weight.
  35. Never move from your safety zone behind your laptop.
  36. Do not smile. I repeat, “do not smile.”  Especially when sharing good news!
  37. Never record yourself. Nothing you can do about it anyway, right?
  38. Don’t plan your closing. It will happen naturally. HAHAHAHA
  39. Answer every question, no matter where it takes you or how long it takes to answer it.
  40. Dive into as many details as possible.
  41. When presenting data, let the numbers speak for themselves. Why beat it over the head?
  42. Don’t summarize. Surely they got it the first time you said it!
  43. If you use a whiteboard, don’t practice. Your handwriting is PERFECT!
  44. Don’t bother testing out your opening or story on a representative audience. It’ll be fine!
  45. Tell the same tired analogy everyone’s heard a hundred times about Apple, Microsoft, the Wright Brothers, etc. etc
  46. Use as many acronyms or product names as possible. Spend a lot of time teaching your audience their meaning if necessary.
  47. Don’t use a webcam for virtual presentations. Who cares what you look like, right?
  48. When pointing to information move your mouse really quickly. As soon as your audience figures out where you are, jump to the next point.  Rinse and repeat.
  49. Present on your mobile device the same way you would on a larger screen. It’s all the same.
  50. Use every last minute of your allotted time – even if you’re done.

Room for improvement?  Don’t despair. Learn how to avoid mistakes and  get the latest tips for delivering a compelling presentations and demos!



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