6 Mistakes People Make When Presenting Data and how to Avoid Them

This is a guest article by Freddie Tubbs, a communications manager at Boomessays. He regularly takes part in marketing conferences and webinars, and contributes articles to Academized and Paperfellows blogs.


Holding someone’s attention is often a hard job. You have to be interesting, present something new and valuable and give accurate information. Most people are not born with a natural talent for speaking publicly, so this is a skill that has to be mastered.

However, mistakes happen when people are either not willing to learn or they are not aware that they are doing something wrong. If the problem is the latter, here are some of the most common mistakes that presenters make and easy ways to fix them.

1. Your data is hard to understand

This is a small mistake, something that often gets overlooked in companies but it creates a lot of problems. This is what happens when people have bad presentation making skills.

For instance, you have created a chart but you have placed it over an image related to the subject. That may seem creative but it’s really just confusing and it’s making your chart hard to see. Place your chart on a blank background so that it’s clear what it’s representing. Some presenters like to flaunt their thoroughness by presenting a table with a bunch of numbers and a lot of footnotes – this is a mistake as well. Never add large tables and remove footnotes entirely. You can place this data in your handouts but your presentation is just for your conclusions. Other mistakes include using large numbers – 654378910, for example – writing in small font and so on.

2. You are sharing too much information

Presenters often fall into this trap – they have so much to share and they really want to impress their audience so they go on and on. However, people often get bored with this. They don’t want to know all about the data and your process. They just want a brief overview of how it went and then they want to hear your analysis.

A good rule of thumb is to lead the audience through only the essential information and then tell them why that information matters – balance information with insight. You will also avoid sounding dry.

3. Not composing an accurate presentation

As a presenter, grammar and spelling are probably not at the top of your list when creating a presentation. However, they should be. Other than adding to the overall clarity, good spelling and grammar will not distract your audience and it will make you look professional.

If you don’t want to deal with this yourself, you can use some of these tools:

- Academ advisor – Proofreading is a tedious job and people often miss mistakes after reading a text for a while. This is why proofreading tools like this could be extremely useful.

- UK Writings – Coming up with titles that will attract people and inspire them to listen to you is never easy. However, title generating tools like these will help you come up with something relevant and interesting.

- Viawriting – When creating a presentation, we often use data that other people collected or information that others came up with. This is why it’s easy to plagiarize unintentionally. Use this plagiarism guide to avoid this.

- Paper Fellows – Editing your presentation is another thing that you have to do but you would rather not.

- My Writing Way – Grammar is something we often forget to check. But with this tool, you can be sure that your presentation will be mistake-free.


4. There is no clear point or stance

Giving presentations is often done with a risk of people disagreeing with you. However, with data and information that you have gathered, you can often prove your point and clarify why you believe what you believe. But presenters are sometimes afraid that they’ll cause this disagreement that they take no stance.

This is a mistake because having a stance is what keeps the conversation going. If someone disagrees, you have a chance to learn but also give them a chance to learn. Presenting isn’t all about facts, it’s about having an opinion and sharing it with your audience.


5. No passion when speaking

The truth is – if you are not passionate or excited about your presentation, your audience will not be passionate or excited about it either. Speaking confidently isn’t easy and it can be awkward when you have to stand in front of everyone but even if you are a bit nervous but still excited over presenting this information, it will pay off and people will listen.

If you are not – and this is often paired with reading from the slides – you’ll just bore your audience, no matter how confident you are.

6. Distracting your audience with jargon

While jargon may sound professional, it’s a mistake to have it all over your presentation. No matter who your audience is, they will likely prefer common, simple language over complex words and business jargon, abbreviations, acronyms and so on.


Final Thoughts

Making mistakes is easy and fixing them can be just as simple if you notice your mistakes on time and do your best to avoid them.