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Three reasons your presentations suck

Three reasons your presentations suck
There are as many excuses for giving bad presentations as there are stars in the sky. "I didn't have time to prepare." "I was hungover when I gave it." "My boss made me give the presentation." "I was nervous." "I lack confidence." "My dog was sick." Nobody cares about those excuses.


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You don’t care enough about the audience

You don’t care enough about the audience

Most people think they are the most important player in a presentation. They are wrong. The audience, the listeners, the people watching the presenter are the most important players.

Care about the audience, creating messages and stories that resonate with them and inspire them.




The Words and the Design

The Words and the Design

The work on the presentation slides should be clear, crisp, concise, with fewer words and more visually striking simple imagery.

Long sentences and tiny words going through the whole slide are not advisable.



Lack of Practice

Lack of Practice

Invest your time practicing thoughtfully and getting in a zone where you are a natural.

An effortless-looking presentation makes the audience love it, even though you have toiled hard to make it look effortless.




A TED Talk is 18 minutes long

A TED Talk is 18 minutes long

TED curator Chris Anderson explains:
The 18-minute length works much like the way Twitter forces people to be disciplined in what they write. By forcing speakers who are u...

Give a TED-style talk that gets a lot of views

  • Arrange your message onto the 9-up format: same size as sticky notes, until you are happy with the flow.
  • Solicit feedback from effective presenters that you trust to give honest, unfiltered feedback on your narrative and slides.
  • Rehearse with a great (honest) communicator that is not afraid to speak up.
  • Articulate each point clearly.
  • Practice with a clock counting up the minutes, to know how much you're over. Then trim it down.
  • Once you're within the timeframe, practice with a clock counting down. Know where you should be at 6, 12 and 18 minutes.
  • Let your coach jot down what you say well and what you don’t.
  • Don’t be camera shy. Practice by videotaping yourself.
  • Do one more full timed rehearsal right before you walk on stage.
  • Pick two natural places you could stop in your talk, then demarcate those as possible endings.

The Data Scientist presentation style

The Data Scientist uses data, analytics, facts, and figures to make his point and persuade the audience. 

Pros: This presentation style delivers data, information and analy...

The Storyteller presentation style

The Storyteller can tap emotions and weave a persuasive narrative.

An audience may not remember every single data point or statistic, but they will remember a great story or emotional connection.

Pros: Focused on making an emotional connection with the audience.

Cons: Not suitable for audiences that just want a factual answer to a simple question.

The Closer presentation style

The Closer jumps into a presentation, cuts right to the chase, delivers the bottom line and skips all the boring stuff.

It sees the end goal and goes right for it. 

Pros: reduces a presentation to its esssence.

Cons: may be perceived as too harsh or abrupt.

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Before You Give A Presentation

Before You Give A Presentation
  • Walk the stage. It is good to get a feel for the stage because it means you can establish a sense of ownership of the space, which will increase your confidence.

The Beginning Of Your Speech

  • Take the time to stand straight, to smile, (acknowledge the audience, thank them and your host depending on the event), take a couple of deep breaths while going over your first line in your head.
  • Start with a bang - a statistic, a quote, a statement, a joke - anything that will arouse curiosity and engage your audience's thinking.
  • Don't start with "Hello, my name is... and I'm going to talk about..."

Maintaining Your Audience's Interest

Now that you’ve captured the audience, you have to maintain their interest. This can take different formats:

  • Problem/Solution: This is commonly used when introducing a product or innovation, using the Monroe Sequence: Draw attention, Establish need, Satisfy need, Visualise future, Take action. You identify the problem as something the audience wants to solve, then present the solution as well as simple ways of implementing the solution.
  • Interaction: This can be embedded into the first approach. You can engage an audience by demonstrating, for example, a thinking bias that you will solve.
  • Gimmicks/Visuals/Props: If you are using PowerPoint, do not read your slides line by line, but use it to enhance rather than make the point. If you are using props - lights and sound can help. Don't act unless you are ready to pull it off, to prevent your audience from feeling embarrassed on your behalf.