Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Ten Things Great Presenters Avoid

Here is the list of things in random order.

One. Complaining in public

“This is a vast subject area. There are so many things to cover.  I am wondering how one can do this in 45 minutes.  Excuse me!  I am going to try what I can.” 

"Before we start, let me tell you.  This topic needs at least 2 hours. I am trying to do it in 30 minutes.”

Do you need to tell something like this?  If you have to do this because of some exceptional reasons, how about conveying this message in a better way?   Great presenters don't make a big deal out of this in public. 

Two. Boasting

“I accommodated this session in my busy schedule because of multiple requests from the organizers.”

So what?  Great presenters are modest. They don't boast.

Three. Being very direct or rude

“For whatever reason, I am not going to cover any of the advanced concepts in my talk because those are very difficult to understand.”

Does it motivate? Can this be put across gently?  Great presenters motivate. They avoid being too direct or rude.

Four. Feeling low and or being too modest

“I am not a guru in this subject.  I have not read a lot about it. Nor have I worked extensively. But…”

In this case, why are you here?  Why should we listen to you?  Great presenters do what they know and know what they do.

Five. Reading out the slide to understand what it says

“This is a complex definition. I found it on the Internet. Let me read it out for you.”

Do you think reading this complex definition is going to benefit the attendees? Or are you trying to entertain them?  Great presenters like simplicity. They attempt to make complex thing simple. 

Six. Packing too much of information per slide

"The next three slides have lot of information.  You will find it hard to read because of small font size.  Anyway let us have a quick look at them one by one.”

Why so? Great presenters include these in hand-outs. 

Seven. Complex diagrams, flowcharts etc.

“This flowchart has lots of boxes and tiny fonts. It is important but we can skip that now.”

Alright!  What made you include this chart in your deck? How can you improve next time?  Great presenters see their slide deck from the point-of-view of their audience. 

Eight. Arriving unprepared

“I am sorry.  ‘Converge’ is not the right word here. I am sure you got the meaning.  I was busy preparing this slide deck until midnight yesterday.”

“Oh. Is that it? I was not aware that we have participants from 4 different offices!”

This makes us understand that presenting in front of us is not important to you. Right?  Great presenters are diligent. They do their homework. They care!

Nine. Poor time management

"I think we are running out of time. There are 15 slides left.  Those are not very important.  Let us spend the remaining 2 minutes in answering your questions.”

Do you think this approach would encourage questions? Great presenters are good at time management. They are very smooth in their take-off and landing.  

Ten. Lack of quality or pointing fingers at someone else

“My apologies, this embedded file is not opening. This is not new to this operating system. Isn’t it? “

“Let me tell you, I did not prepare this slide deck. One of my colleagues prepared it two years ago. ..!”

“In this list of 12 bullets read the 7th point, you will find that….”

Do you want to us to count 1, 2, 3, 4 to reach the 7th bullet?  Do you care about us?  That is what the audience would think.  Well!  Great presenters prepare well, check the equipment, and do not point fingers at someone else.

Let me ask you!

Which of these ten things are at top in your list of things to avoid?  Do you have anything to add?

Having state-of-the-art tools is not sufficient to deliver a great presentation.
Read - When Tools Destroy Value!


  1. 1. Putting full speach in slide and reading it completely.
    => Just have the bullets or questions that does not answer fully but just increases curiosity to that they listen to you more.

    2. Monotone and lack of movement

    3. "Any quesions? actually this is ..."
    Ask for quesions but still continue to talk...

    4. Allow tangent discussions

  2. Great collection of things not to do!

  3. Another one - repeat the patterns. ex - movement (2 steps forward and 2 steps backword) or using some words repetedly (ex. "incredible", "by the way") - people then start counting and betting!