6 Worst Presentation Mistakes Made by Millions

Each time you engage in a conversation, dialogue or speech with the intention of convincing another person to do, think or act upon anything, you are making a presentation. You don’t have to be in front of large crowds to be giving a presentation or using visual aids such as PowerPoint to be giving a presentation. Presentations are given everyday and are one of the most powerful communication tools that exist and has the ability to propel your business, career and sales to ultimate levels. Master presenters get their status by mastering the art of delivery from setting up their content, structuring the flow, controlling non verbal and verbal actions and delivering a powerful message that is engaging and memorable. They master techniques to ultimately reel their audience in and leave them wanting more. So, why do 99% of the presentations fail?

Mistake # 1: Failure to Focus on the Audience
How many times have you sat through a presentation where the entire focus was only on the person presenting? Did you feel as though you were sitting through a “sales presentation”? You know the ones, “My company is great, we do this, and we do that and blah, blah, blah…. ” Most likely you tuned most of their message out. One of the biggest mistakes presenters make is focusing all of their presentation on an “introduction to my company” with historical data, statistics and overview of why they are so great versus focusing on the audience and their reasons for inviting you to present. To avoid this mistake personalize your presentation to demonstrate that you have a complete understanding of the audience needs, objectives and decision criteria. Customize your presentation to hit on your audience’s objectives and deliver your key messages in a way that your audience feels that those key messages are just for them. Lastly, successfully connect the dots between the audience’s objectives and your own objectives with clear and concise delivery methods that create an emotional connection.

Mistake # 2: Lack of Clearly Defined Objectives
Too many times, presenters fail to successfully connect the dots between the audience’s objectives and their own objectives. They have a tendency to focus on features rather than highlighting benefits and never clearly state what they hope to get out of the presentation. If you are not clear, your audience will not know what specifically they should be focusing on. You need to develop an uncanny skill to present from a benefit position and clearly build the roadmap to the audience’s goals. As Craig Valentine states in his Free Audio Series “7 Step World Class Speaking Toolkit”, It is important to make a “Big Promise”. What specifically brings you here today, what will your audience gain from listening to you today. Lay the framework for their audience and clearly state what their audience can expect over the next 45 minutes and keep your presentation on task to support that objective.

Mistake # 3: Information Overload
One of the first questions I am always asked by every presenter is” How Many Points should I include in my presentation”? Or “How Many Slides”? Another big mistake presenters make is they try to squeeze too much information into one presentation. Rather than your audience retaining your key messages, they will retain nothing because of information overload. There is an old wise saying “when you squeeze your information in, you squeeze your audience out”. Selecting the right balance of information for the timeframe allocated to your presentation is a critical decision that a all presenters need to master. As a rule of thumb, most audience will not retain more than 3 key points in an hour presentation. If you are asked to present with less time, adjust your key points down. It is better to be focused and deliver concrete information and leave something out (that you c an always direct them to) rather than jam too many points, facts and theories into the time that you have. Too many times a presenter will not adjust their presentation and focus on trying to communicate everything. Be sensitive to the time, adjust your material accordingly and master the art of follow up for the additional points.

Mistake # 4: Putting the Audience to Sleep!
A presentation that is not engaging and exciting is a complete bore. Nobody wants to be subject to a boring presentation and if you do not make your exciting, chances are you’re your audience will be angered at the fact that you wasted their time. Remember, time is our biggest asset and people do not give it away freely. Bad presenters fail to grab the audience’s attention and make that emotional connection that connects their key messages and usually leaves their audience feeling bored and unfulfilled. Master Presenters know how to use techniques that tease and make their audience wanting more, they know how to adjust the tone of their voice and to pause at the right moment. They effectively use images to reinforce the emotional element of their presentation and they use stories and provocative questions to engage the mind as the audience waits for the answer in the presentation. Master Presenters are skilled at creating an event and making an emotional connection with their audience each and every time. I often refer to Steve Jobs and his product presentations which are exciting, engaging and powerful. If you have never seen this master at work, I would recommend visiting Apple’s website and taken a look at one of his videos.

Mistake # 5: Death by PowerPoint
Misusing visual aids is a common mistake many presenters make. They try to take all their content and jam it into a slide so they don’t forget what they want to say. To make it worse, they stand up in front of the crowd and read the entire slide deck. Chances are your audience is wondering why they are being read to and are not connecting to the material and the content. Visual aids should be used to enhance a presentation, not be the presentation. The use of images can be one of the most effective ways to stimulate emotion and when used correctly, can really hit home a key message. An example would be – Suppose you want your audience to answer the question “how big is an acre of land”?, you could put statistics up on the slide that state the numerical dimensions and square feet and hope that your audience can relate to numbers, or you could put up a photo of a football field and state “it’s about the size of a football field”. The impact would be completely different! To go a step further to making an emotional connection, you could tell a simple story about the football field and make it relevant to reinforce one of your key messages. Learn how to drive the message home using images without overwhelming content and you will avoid this common mistake.

Mistake # 6: No Call to Action
The last mistake focuses on failure to ask for what you want. If you were invited to do a sales presentation, ask for the business. If you were invited to introduce your company, ask for the next meeting. Every presentation must have a call to action or the audience will not know what you want them to do with the information you are providing. Give them a task to do after the presentation. This action will reinforce your key message and get them thinking about what they have just learned. Master presenters know how to leave their audience with a task to perform and always go for the close.
(c) Kellie D’Andrea & Associates

Is This a Christmas Present or What?

One great blessing of Christmas is presents. Of course, at my age, I am not too interested in what I am getting but rather what I am giving.

I cannot think of one thing I really would want. I got everything I need even though some of it may be old and outdated. As long as it works, I’m happy with that.

Therefore, it is not what I am receiving that is important to me. I love to see the smile on the grandchildren’s face as they open up a present. I am just as delighted as they are opening their gifts because I did not buy it. I paid for it, but it is the job of the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage to do all of the shopping, gift buying, wrapping, and everything that goes with it.

If it were up to me, nothing would really get done, which would be sad.

As I say, I am not looking for much for Christmas this year, just to enjoy the family and celebration.

Then something happened this past week that changed that attitude of mine.

In the mailbox this week, I received a letter from the state traffic department. I was a little nervous opening it because I’ve never received such a letter before. Why were they sending me a letter? What kind of trouble am I in?

When I opened it, I noticed it was a traffic violation notice. Upon further notice, I saw it was not for me. Can you guess who this traffic violation was for? Two guesses, and it’s not me.

I’m not too much into dancing, but I must admit, I did a little happy dance as I read this letter.

Accordingly, my wife had a traffic violation, and a camera recorded it.

Looking at the picture, it did not look anything like my wife. The whole picture was blacked out so you could not see anything. Oh well, it did have her name on it, what more do I need?

Walking into the house, I was cheerfully whistling and maybe some dancing.

“What are you so happy about?”

Looking at my wife, I said, “I’m sorry. What did you say?” I heard her, but I wanted to hear her repeat it.

“You heard me. What are you so happy about?”

I was going to ask her to repeat it, but I thought otherwise.

Handing her the letter, I said with the biggest grin on my face I have ever had, “You have a traffic violation ticket.”

There are times in life to celebrate, and, as far as I was concerned, this was one of those times. I do not very often if ever, get one over on the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage. This was the first time, and I did not quite know how to handle myself. How much happiness is too much happiness?

“This cannot be my ticket,” she said with a very disgusting growl.

“I think it is. It has your name and your license plate number on it. Who else’s is it?”

She went outside to her van and checked the license plate number. It was not the right number.

“It is not the right license plate number, so it cannot be mine.”

At this point, my happiness peaked. I was not expecting something like this. I was expecting a traffic violation. The total was $2.35. It did not seem like much, but there it was. I would be able to enjoy this moment for the rest of my life. Oh, how sweet life can be, especially at Christmas.

She handed the letter back to me and said, “Look, this violation was last week in Miami. I was not in Miami last week. This cannot be right.”

My happiness was on a downward spiral. I looked the letter over several times only to discover she was right. She is always right, and here was new proof. I advised her to take it over to the sheriff department and see what they think.

It was not long before she came back and into the house happily whistling but no dancing.

“What are you so happy about?”

She looked at me with a smile and a Merry Christmas twinkle in her eye and said, “The sheriff department told me this was a fraud. It is not my ticket. They advised me to destroy it and forget about it.”

Looking at me smiling, she said, “Aren’t you happy for me?”

All I could do was look back, smile, and say, “Yes, dear.”

Of all the tickets I have received, I could enjoy one for my wife.

It was not a very serious issue, but I could have gotten a lot of mileage from this. Now it is gone. Just when you think you got something, it turns out to be nothing.

I am glad that the ticket was a fraud. I was thinking of what the apostle Paul said. “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Philippians 4:6).

It is that time of the year when we think about all the things to be thankful. I am not sure how many blessings I have because some of the more important ones are ones I do not see. If I rest in God, he will take care of all the blessings I need in life.

How to Build Leverage For Negotiating Substantial and Recurring Salary Increases

Who doesn’t want their salary increased substantially year after year during their career? A yearly salary increase of 10 per cent gives a doubled pay check in about eight years. Make the yearly increase 20 per cent and the pay check is doubled in about four years. But – is it even realistic to want such increases, year after year? Well, of course it depends to some extent on the job. But, basically the answer is: yes, it is realistic, given that the right career strategy is chosen.

For most people – I mean people not working in the family business etc. – the no. # 1 strategy to recurring substantial salary increases is spelled: long term leverage building. Anyone skilled in the art of negotiating a salary knows that when negotiating a salary, it all comes down to bargaining power, i.e. leverage. In a salary negotiation, bargaining power is a measure of which of the parties – the employee or the employee – is more dependent on coming to an agreement on the salary. Or, in other words, the party being most dependent on the other is the party with less leverage.

So, a person will be able to get recurring and substantial salary increases by constantly working on his leverage. Here are some actions to take:

Always look for outside options.

In a salary negotiation, the employees best weapon may be the threat to quit unless he get the salary asked for. However, quitting without having a new job is probably not a good option. And finding a new job takes time for most people. Therefore, you cannot go looking for one the day before your salary negotiation, but must have prepared in advance.

Strive for excellence in the relevant area.

Being the best, being the expert, having reputation of the highest quality – these are qualities one doesn’t achieve over night but only after long, hard and goal conscience efforts. In the end, quality and excellent performance will win – therefore you should start today the work to get there.

Make sure you are not the impatient one.

All things equal, the party most impatient to reach an agreement will most likely be the losing party in the negotiation. You should try to avoid to be taken by surprise when a negotiation becomes necessary. If you negotiate contracts for a company, make sure you know the term of every important contract, so that you can start looking for outside options, gather information etc well before you have to enter a new contract.