5 presentation mistakes every early professional should avoid

Public speaking can be daunting, but with the right technique in place, you can say goodbye to ‘stage fright’

We all know that presenting can be a challenge. Having to stand in front of a group of people and present your ideas can be overwhelming, especially when you fall in the trap of overthinking if the audience can spot the flaws.

As you get closer to the assessment centre phase, these practical presentation ‘mistakes to avoid’ will help amplify the possibilities of earning your chance to become part of our 5-month Talent Accelerator Programme.

Working through the fear of public speaking can take time, but on the positive side, a lot of the most common presentation mistakes are easy to avoid.

1. You are not engaging with the audience.

No presentation, big or small, should be lacking emotion. Speak to your audience’s spirit and minds equally. Always look for ways to add layers of emotions using data, humor, a story or other analytical content. Ask intriguing questions and build your presentation like a story from start to finish.

Smiling helps in engaging your audience. When you’re nervous, you might forget that, but smiling is the key to relax, being confident and passing through positive emotions. The only exception to the “Smile Rule” is when you’re delivering bad news – which will not be the case during your assessment, so smile away!

2. You are reading from very crowded slides.

The quickest way to disengage your audience is giving them your back and reading from your slides. After all, they can read them too so what is the value you’re adding in your presentation? The purpose of your presentation is to clarify, convince or describe the material in more detail. Make sure to have engaging visual aids (using a mixture of photos, videos, PowerPoint or Prezi slides).

Ever heard of the presentation 101 rule: Don’t put too much writing in one slide? Having a visually clear presentation will actually help regulate your stress level, as you will have the space to explain your ideas and avoid forgetting any points.

3. You did not expect all possible scenarios.

One key to ace your presentation, is to go through all possible scenarios beforehand and work through your tactics. Ask yourself: “What if the projector doesn’t work? What if your laptop won’t load the file you need? Some problems are not avoidable but the better prepared you are, the more able you are to handle potential things going wrong.

Ever heard of the presentation 101 rule: Don’t put too much writing in one slide? Having a visually clear presentation will actually help regulate your stress level, as you will have the space to explain your ideas and avoid forgetting any points.

4. You speak in jargon.

One assumption some people make, is that using complex terminologies and techy terms would give the perception that their super-smart. The truth is, that’s not the case. Each field has its own glossary that might not be familiar to your audience. Using simple words to address your subject will always be the key to win your audience. Earning the support of those you need to influence, or fulfilling your objective, comes when you tell stories that speak to the subject in the matter.

5. You did not rehearse.

Almost every top public speaking expert would quote this as the biggest mistake to avoid. Every presentation should be rehearsed, especially when you’re presenting to a lot of people or depending on the importance of the topic. Rehearsing the material will build up your confidence and increase your awareness of all the subject details. Write key notes from each slide and go over it till you feel confident about presenting it in front of your audience. Practicing in front of a mirror can do wonders too! Don’t forget to engage with your imaginary audience as in our earlier tips.

One additional benefit to rehearsing is to make sure you’ll use the assigned time for the presentation wisely. Nobody likes a presentation going longer than it should be.

Prepare in advance, be confident and use these useful tips to excel in your presentation through the assessment centre stage. Seize your opportunity to shine with Jadarah!

Have more tips to add? Please share it in the comments so that Jadarah community can benefit too!