10 common presentation mistakes YOU should avoid

We’ve all probably given hundreds of presentations over our lifetime. Even so, we’re still most likely making some of the most common presentation mistakes out there. That’s why they’re common as most people keep on making them. That hard truth doesn’t mean we can’t become experts at it, however! And that’s what we want, precisely! For you to kill a business presentation like a pro when you’re up on stage. Or in an office in front of customers or investors, giving it your best for your business. For that, let’s study the 10 most common presentation mistakes that make you lose customers - and how to fix them!

1. Failing to introduce a topic

Sometimes we know what we’re talking about so well that we forget to introduce what brings us together in a meeting room full of people after our introductions. Once your name and the one of your company are out there, clarify what the presentation is all about. Do so for everyone in the room to be on the same page. 

With business presentations, especially pitch decks, what’s best is to create a great attention getter that will draw your audience into your performance from the start. 

If you lose your audience from the start, how will you get them back afterward? Set some time aside to work on how you’ll start your presentation. Failing to do so is a big presentation mistake that makes you lose customers right off the bat. 

2. Not setting a presentation’s goal 

Any expert on a company or specific topic can probably talk about it for hours in a row. However, audiences need a point. There needs to be a goal behind any sort of presentation. Whether you’re trying to get investors on board, land a customer, raise awareness, educate an audience, or sell a specific product, all these settings need a precise goal. 

It’s best to have that objective clear when you sit down to draft your presentation. It should be the direction in which you guide your slides. It should also be the driving force behind every choice you make, especially pitch decks for funding. Otherwise, you might end up talking about something beyond the scope of the presentation and confusing your audience. Let alone waste people’s time with items that are not pertinent to what you’re presenting.

3. Not knowing your audience 

Number three of the 10 most common presentation mistakes that make you lose customers - and how to fix them is just so relevant! Part of a winning presentation comes with much prior research! It’s essential to do it! And a great way to win an audience, which is a vital aspect of a successful presentation, is to know your audience very well. 

Find out about their interests, what they like, what they don’t like. Address items that matter to them and customize what you deliver to fit that precise group of people. 

No presentation can ever be the same, even if the topic is. Well, at least it shouldn’t be. For an engaging performance, you need to consider whoever is in front of you and mold what you say and how you do that by taking those people’s traits, characteristics, interests, and passions into account. 

A stock presentation content is easy to smell from miles away, and it typically bores audiences to the point of disinterest. Stay away from that as much as possible. 

4. Going overboard with time

Time management is a crucial part of an outstanding presentation. If someone calls you to a meeting, be mindful of their time. Use it well! 

If you’re competing on demo day, for instance, time is simply a determining factor. There’s no stepping out of the limits in those scenarios. If you need to write an elevator pitch, especially, there’s no extending beyond your time allotment to come out victorious. 

On how to fix this part, the keyword is practice! Know exactly how long it takes you to give a specific presentation before setting foot in a room. It’s even possible you won’t be using up your whole time allotment, which can also be detrimental if you’re being way too concise for a business matter that should be a bit more extensive. 

If the above’s your case, check your pace. Then, add a few more examples or work on your storytelling to link your content through even more engaging content. Take advantage of the extra time to be even more engaging with what you say, it’s quite a luxury!

And, whatever you do, try never to go over your time. There’s little to excuse a time extension in business presentations. Handling your time well should be part of your professionalism and expertise. 

5. Too much text or animations 

This slip must be a classic of all presentation mistakes that make people lose audiences. Yet, we still need to include it as it’s a pervasive one. Add very little text to your slides, almost as few as possible without going into bunches of bullet points, either. 

On animations, take note that those are usually unnecessary, so don’t waste your time on ordering those into your decks. Instead, keep your slides clean. 

Everything you add to a presentation screen should serve a specific purpose. Your business slides should reinforce your message and allow people to pay attention to you as a presenter. The last thing you want is people not listening to you because they need to read tons of text or because your animations distract them without serving a real goal. Just cut back on them as much as you can, that should be an easy clean-up. 

6. Giving too much information 

There is such a thing as giving so much information people can no longer follow you. Measure yourself in that sense. Keep the amount of info you provide to levels people can grasp, absorb, and hold in their memories. You, of course, wouldn’t want or expect them to learn all details by heart, but we’re looking not to overwhelm here with data. 

Don’t just present a chart after another or a lot of meaningful data. Instead, focus on giving results and just the right kind and amount of information to back up your main points. Show your findings, solution, or proposal as much as you can. Make it very easy to digest. Infographics can help in that sense. 

Whatever you include needs to tie in with our point 2 above. There needs to be a valid reason why you include what you do. 

7. Sophisticated language choices 

As professionals or experts in what we present, it’s easy to go into complicated jargon that’s too specific for a particular topic or industry. A single person you lose to uncommonly used words, technical terminology, and just far-fetched language is a missed opportunity. 

Say you need to go into technical or industry-specific areas. Simplify in that case. Use words that even the most average of listeners will be able to absorb for them to connect with you. If you must use a specific term, explain it so everyone can follow you. By the way, beware of humor. Try to avoid sensible references, such as political or religious ones, for instance. It’s best to keep your content clean in a universal way. The more approachable you are, the better chances you have at achieving a successful presentation. 

8. Not writing a script 

Writing might be tedious and even hard for many. It might certainly feel like an unnecessary part of presenting. Yet, creating a script will help avoid so many mistakes for a live presentation that, once you have it and practice it over and over, you’ll surely achieve a level of confidence that will make you a master. 

You don’t need to memorize your lines, but getting your presentation’s structure is such an advantage that you can then move on to essential business presentation plus sides. For instance, you’ll then be able to play with transitions, lose the nervousness, and focus on details. You can work on your tone, enjoy pauses here and there, think of your language choice, and so much more! There’s so much to gain from a mastered presentation script; it’s just a common mistake to ignore its force. It’s a kind of secret to great presentations. 

9. Not investing in design 

A crucial part of the 10 most common presentation mistakes that make you lose customers - and how to fix them is presenting on an unpleasant or unprofessional design. That can just kill your presentation without a word said. 

You should have something so appealing as the branding to a product slide that investing in high-quality design is just golden. Consider your slides an opportunity to stand out from your competition—every font and color choice matters. 

Don’t use something that people have seen a thousand times, let alone on a free-for-all platform that people can scout from miles away. That speaks of your business choices, too. 

Templates can undoubtedly help speed up your creation process, and they also help with structure. They’re great! Yet, make sure your customization of them is of great appeal in the way it turns out. 

As usual, we recommend hiring professional design services when you can afford it, especially if you’re going up in front of investors. Don’t just do standard. Impress with outstanding design whenever you can. The results are worth it. Here are 5 common questions on design companies and their answers, in case you’d like to read more about this. 

10. No clear call to action 

Let’s wrap up like everyone should in any given presentation, with a clear call to action. Ours is to invite you never to finish a presentation without a precise call for what you want your audience, especially customers, to do. 

Guide them. Ask for money if that’s your purpose. With business pitches, it’s okay to state precisely how much money you need to raise and why. 

Never finish off on a thank you note. If that throws you off at all, here are 3 main reasons you shouldn’t add a thank you slide. The easiest way to fix this problem is to change your last slide from a thank you kind into a specific course of action you want or need your audience to take. 

If you’re addressing global warming and you need people to recycle, then that word is the one that needs to show up at the end, for example. Transport that analogy to your industry or niche, and you’re done! 

It should be reasonably simple to achieve as verbs power actions, and sending a call for a specific line of behavior is a matter of issuing a request. 

Be polite in how you do so, and strategic if you can. The idea is to foster conversation and clear responses as soon as you’re done presenting. You want investors to want to know more about your business and not feel insulted by the word you chose to wrap up your discourse. 

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