The Five Big Presentation Errors

The Five Big Presentation Errors Janice Haywood English coach

The Five Big Presentation Errors

Millions of business presentations take place every day. And unfortunately, many of them are wasting people’s time.

How often have you yourself sat through a presentation and come away bored, confused and frustrated!

Why is this happening? What can be done about it?

Below is a list of the five main errors that presenters make which cause those feeling of boredom, confusion and frustration in audiences. I’ve also made some comments about how we can prevent the errors in the first place.

1. No benefit to the audience

The presenter doesn’t give the audience a reason to listen, nor tells them how they can benefit from their message. The audience MIGHT be interested in the topic, but more than anything, they want to know how the information in the presentation relates to them and their lives.

How to prevent – Right at the beginning of your presentation, tell the audience what they will gain from listening to you, or what they might lose from not listening to you.

2. No clear point

The presenter seems to talk about all sorts of things related to the topic but we’re not sure which point is the main point so we don’t know WHY they are speaking; effectively we don’t know what they want to achieve with the presentation.

How to prevent: Make sure you know exactly why you’re speaking, what is your objective? Is it to merely inform? Or is it also to persuade? Or perhaps inspire?

3. The presentation doesn’t flow

The presenter moves around from point to point without any apparent connection between them. We find it difficult to follow and we just don’t know where the presentation is going.

How to prevent: Use signposting phrases to link the different points logically. This will give the audience a sense of progression. It will also demonstrate that you as the presenter are in control and that you know what you are leading up to with each point.

4. Too much information

Why do some presenters think that it’s good to include this detail and that detail ‘just in case’?  We need to resist the temptation to include a lot of information. Audiences can’t assimilate (meaning hear, understand and process) information as easily as we think.

How to prevent: Create your key message and then make sure all your content supports your key message; if it doesn’t, leave it out

5. Too long

Nobody every complains about a presentation being too short. Many presenters speak for too long because they feel they have to fill the time. Another factor is that they believe that to be credible,  they need to show how much they know about the topic.

How to prevent: Remember the acronym KISS – Keep It Short & Simple. We are all busy people these days and on top of that, our attention spans are short. It’s your job as the presenter to edit content and to keep your messages concise. It’s better to create a short presentation, putting extra detail in an appendix at the back of your slide deck to pull from in answer to questions than to include too much information and the audience switch off completely.

So there you go, now you know what are the main causes of ‘bad’ presentations. But more importantly, when you get to present, you now know how to avoid making these mistakes.

Instead of your audience going away bored, confused and frustrated, they will go away informed, clear and inspired.


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My mission is to help employees in multinational companies learn the skills and techniques they need to give outstanding presentations in English and receive the visibility and recognition they deserve.

feel confident and engage with your audience Janice Haywood