How not to give a good presentation

At least once each year, I attend a workshop, lecture or training in which the speaker does not do the topic or himself justice.

If you are giving a presentation, here are four things NOT to do:

  1. Don’t read the slides. Your back should never be to the audience. Don’t try cheating by standing sideways. I’ll allow the reading of one slide if it’s a quote, but realistically, we can all read the quote so instead tell us why the quote resonated with you. As for the rest of your slides, if I wanted to read them, I could go on SlideShare or another sharing site and find relevant slides on the topic. I want to hear from you the expert. I want to hear your insights and your experiences.
  2. Don’t be boring in your delivery. A monotone delivery will put the audience to sleep. Ideally, you should be passionate about the subject and your energy will excite us, and we’ll be engaged with you and/or the subject. If you are that bored, you should not be presenting. One of the pieces of advice I was given when I first started offering workshops was to stand in front of the audience, smile and share how delighted you are to be presenting. It sets a positive tone for everyone.
  3. Don’t go past your time. This is rude on many levels. You aren’t being respectful of my time as an audience member. If you are on a panel, you aren’t being respectful of the other speakers. And you aren’t being respectful of the venue, which most likely needs to clear the room to set up for the next event. To avoid running long, be sure to practice. You should always ask your facilitator how long he expects you to speak and adjust your talk accordingly.
  4. Don’t deliver something other than your topic. Most speakers possess a wide skill set. But if the program tells the audience they are going to get tips on building an airplane, don’t give them tips on building a sailboat. The audience is there because they expect to learn something about the topic, and you are the person who will deliver it.

If you follow these tips, you most likely will deliver a workshop or presentation that not only resonates with the audience, but leaves them wanting more.

Good luck!