6 Ways to Mess Up a Presentation

There is no way that you will get through your schooling life without having to give a presentation of some kind. It’s highly probable that you’ve done one, if not many, already. These can range from simple three-minute talks, to half hour presentations complete with slide shows and handouts. There are lots of things that can go wrong in a speech, so here’s 6 things to look out for in your next oral presentation.

  1. The Migraine Inducer

    This presentation will use yellow on white, blue on black, or purple on green in the PowerPoint. You know you’ve got a problem if no one will look at the screen. This pretty much goes for all design choices. Choose colors that don’t make you want to tear your eyes out. If you can, try to set up your presentation a few days beforehand, on the same screen, so that you can see where your text is unreadable. Watch out for low contrast, as this can be a problem on projectors, and clashing colors, which hurt people’s eyes.

  2. The Special-Effects King

    On par with the migraine inducer, this presentational mistake uses mountains of special-effects, many of which have to be reused, because apparently, PPT doesn’t provide them with enough. A simple fade-out will suffice if you’re looking for a little flash, but making your text appear letter-by-letter, while your images swirl around the screen makes other people feel like they are going to be sick.

  3. The Nervous Nelly

    Quiet voice, hunched shoulders, speech in front of their mouth, and head looking at their shoes are some of the signs that your presenter really doesn’t want to be there. Display some confidence. Keep eye-contact with the audience, speak loudly, at a regular pace, and stand tall. If people see you have confidence, they will automatically think that your content is reliable.

  4. The Fidgeter

    My goodness, just stand still! This is one of my pet-peeves. A sure sign of nervousness is fidgeting, and it’s so annoying, I thought I would include it in its own point. Fiddling with things in your hand, rocking back and forth, pacing around the room unintentionally and not keeping focus can distract your audience. A focused audience is a good audience, so try to keep them concentrating on your presentation, not your nervousness.

  5. The I-Want-People-To-Read-And-Hear-My-Speech Powerpointer

    No, you do not need your entire speech written on into your PowerPoint. They should be important dot points, that your audience can refer to. Most people prefer to read off the screen, rather than listen to you, so don’t let them! You want all attention focused on what you’re saying, not the screen. Think of the screen as a supplement to your speech, for things that you can’t say, or are important enough to restate.

  6. The Tree Killer

    This presenter feels it necessary to provide his audience with a multitude of hand-outs, many of which are irrelevant, or unimportant. Sure, handing out your entire speech may be useful later, but why would people listen to you, when they can just read what you’re saying? And yeah, maybe a whole bunch of facts may help them better understand you, but if it’s so important, shouldn’t you say it in your presentation?

Have you identified any of these in yourself? Yeah, I thought so. We are the computer generation, so let’s get rid of the terrible PPTs of the previous generation, and make this the building-block for more superior presentations.


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About Katie Walker

Hey, I'm a student. I'm into web development, so currently I'm working on my blog, a few Tumblr themes, and a few web apps for various purposes. It's exciting stuff.

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  1. 5 Ways to Ace Your Speech | Awesome Study - February 21, 2011

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