10 Reasons Why Presentations Fail
Do you remember the last presentation you attended?
Did it leave you invigorated, excited and energized, or bored to tears?
Did you simply persevere it, checking your watch? Or, did you use the time to catch up on your texts or tweets?
In the corporate world, the success — or failure — of a presentation has a ripple effect throughout an complete department or organization.
Where and why do presentations go off track? I’ve found that there are 10 main reasons why presentations fail:
1. Failure to Know Your PAL™.
Successful speakers know their PAL™ — Purpose, Audience & Logistics.
Is your purpose to inform or persuade? It’s basic to start planning your presentation with an end in mind to unprotected to results. Ask yourself what you want your “audience” to walk away knowing, feeling or doing?
Who is in your audience? Imagine how you would frame a presentation for a group of new hires. Now imagine giving that exact same presentation to a long-time client. The outcome could be a disaster — not just for the presentation, but for you. Having a profile of your audience is basic. This includes demographics, participant objectives, expectations, attitudes, and so much more.
Is the devil really in the details? You’d better believe it!
Not having the logistics nailed down prior to a presentation can finish you before you start. Having specifics such as time allotted, other speakers’ topics, audiovisual arrangements, and room particulars, make the difference between being seen as a polished specialized or bumbling incompetent.
2. Data, Data and More Data
Facts and figures are basic to all informative or persuasive presentations. However, relying solely on them is never a good idea. It makes for a dry, uninteresting monologue — all but guaranteeing that you lose your audience well before you accomplish your goal. Citing product features and research studies/statistics can be effective. But, don’t forget to also incorporate real life stories, examples and interaction with your audience to make your presentation “stick.”
3. What Was That? Too Much Technospeak & Jargon
You may think the medical terms and acronyms you’re using are easily understood. But, if you’re using words or phrases that most of your audience members will have to look up in the dictionary, you’ll lose them fast — not to mention make yourself sound pretentious.
4. The Novel Should Have Been a Short Story
It can be very difficult to boil down a complicated topic into a concise and understandable presentation. But, if your material is to be manageable for your audience, it’s a must. Truly effective speakers don’t cram as much material as possible into their presentations. Rather, they distill and deliver meaningful points that the audience can digest in the timeframe given. Don’t drown your audience in information. Leave the fire hose at home.
5. Forgot the GPS
A rambling, disorganized presentation takes your audience nowhere. Map out your material in an organized and logical manner that guides your listener from point to point. Think of your presentation as a story – make it easy to follow.
6. Failure to Apply the Big Bang Theory
Failing to grab your audience’s attention closest can average failing to grab them at all. Get out of the starting gate with a bang! State an uncommon fact, tell an interesting story or ask a thought-provoking question. End your presentation already stronger with a message that emphasizes meaningful points, provides closure and gives your audience something to remember — and do!
These six reasons presentations can fail all dealt with the design of a speech. The final four reasons from my top 10 list have to do with presentation delivery dynamics, and how they impact audience perception. Mistakes with delivery dynamics can cost you! Here are the last four reasons why presentations can fail:
7. Visual Violations — as the saying goes: perception is everything.
Audience members will begin to form individual perceptions of you and your presentation before you utter a single information. What they see accounts for an overwhelming percentage of the total perception they will take away. Your dress, grooming, body language, posture, gestures and facial expressions all combine to form your audiences’ visual impression. Don’t underestimate the impact these all can have.
8. Vocal Vacations – don’t leave your powerful voice at home.
The way you speak will form your audiences’ verbal impression of you. This includes your quantity, rate, diction and emphasis (“punch”). You want to speak confidently to your audience members, but not overpower them. Very fast speech communicate nervousness. Too slow, and you’ll have some folks snoring. Diction errors definitely mirror on your professionalism. And, don’t be afraid to pause. A well-timed pause can be very powerful, and give the audience time to course of action what you have just said. Avoid filling in the blanks with “ands” and “ums” — it’s distracting to your audience and projects a without of confidence.
9. Verbose Verbalization – Being too long-winded (verbose) will cause your audience to tune out.
Also, avoid strength-robbing words and phrases like: “I guess” or “I hope”. Would you use a vendor who said, “I think this new product will solve your problems and maybe help operations,” or, the one who said, “This new product can help reduce your expenses and make operations run more smoothly.”? Use descriptive, informative language that will resonate with your audience.
10. Question Quagmire – The Q & A session is your opportunity to further clarify your message and leave your audience with a final, positive impression.
Anticipate the questions, be fleeting when answering, and keep control by paraphrasing the question. Then, end with an action statement.
It IS possible to move beyond a crippling fear of public speaking to become a more confident, polished presenter.
If you avoid these 10 reasons why your presentation can fail, you can learn to truly enjoy presenting and become so achieved that you set yourself except others in your industry.