10 Ways to Waste Good Presentation Skills

Are you frequently required to give presentations as part of your work? I was, and I gave many and sat through way more. So to say that I have seen and made a full range of ways to waste good presentation skills is an understatement. I’m sure you have seen a few yourselves.

Check out our thoughts on customer focus.


Now, a positive example for audience engagement:


There are several psychological principles you can implement into your presentation that will drive engagement. They also elicit significant responses from your audience.


This is important because it helps you get the most from your efforts. Also, it ensures the content you give doesn’t fall on deaf ears.

presentation killers
Presentation killers.


Telling a story.  That’s all you have to do to capture and engage the audience.


Keeping control is another matter. It will depend on the strength of your story and the skill and generosity with which you tell it.


Tell the story well, but don’t perform it. Say it with great care, great involvement, high vulnerability, and great sensuality.


The story shouldn’t be like a spotlight shining on you. It should be like a gift you’re giving the listeners.


Giving gifts is how you take over the room, and the best gifts are stories.


The reason stories are so appealing is that you can transport customers inside the story. That gives your message more meaning.


Now back to the main topic. It is always a good idea to review the state of presentation mistakes. They are a reminder of where your attention needs to be in actions to fix them.


Here is my list of prioritized presentation killers and what you should do to fix them:


Presentation killers … too much information

The biggest killer of all time? Providing way too much information. Hands down the biggest in my experience. That is the case whether it be way too much detail on each slide, too many slides, or both.


Actions to take

Cut, cut, cut the fat away from the meat. You can always cut more to get the core message faster. One point (NOT bullets) per slide … one thing to focus on. Let the audience digest and then move to next slide.



giving effective presentations
Giving effective presentations.

Ways to waste good presentation skills …. not being visual

No visuals make the audience use only one type of processing. This is usually very dull. Break up the processing into multiple forms to better engage.


Actions to take

A picture is worth a thousand words. It makes it much easier to remember and talk about. This is particularly the case if the picture makes the audience think to grab the message.



Focused on decoration

Decoration or design? They are like night and day in their differences. The decoration is just the icing with no cake.


Actions to take

Pick a simple design style and stick with it. Avoid the decorating fluff at all costs. Avoid adding complexity no matter what. Find a unique way to draw attention to key messages. An example is using color. It will certainly help in the learning.



Delivery lacks passion

not being visual
Not being visual.

Nothing is worse than a monotone and humdrum voice. That makes the speaker seem like someone just going through the motions.


Actions to take

Find spots for particular emphasis and emotions. Break up your presentation with pauses, inflections, and questions to the audience. It will enhance how the audience recognizes your passion.



Lacking consistency

Want to create a look of haphazard? If so, use lots of different styles, fonts, colors and the like. Like Jacob’s coat of multicolor.


Actions to take

Pick a style you want before you start. This includes 2-3 colors, illustration design formats, and fonts. This will give the presentation a cohesive theme without sacrificing uniqueness and creativity. These can be added elsewhere.



No connection with audience

You know there are people watching you. But you don’t see them. You are not connected, are you?


Actions to take

Pick out one person at a time to talk to as in a one to one conversation. Rotate that person every minute or two. Establish rapport as you go. Be real.



Not going for the heart

Are you talking to just the head all the time? Where are you introducing emotion?


Actions to take

Don’t just share ideas and facts; make meaning by challenging hearts. Pick on emotions by using emotional topics and stories.



Using bullet points

This is beginning of your death by PowerPoint design, isn’t it? A good thing to leave at home. Certainly encourages the overuse of detail, don’t they?


Actions to take

Find any way possible to avoid the look of the traditional PowerPoint design. Be different.



Hiding, frozen behind podium

Standing behind the podium shows a lack of personality. It illustrates that you really would rather not be there. Not a good thing.


Actions to take

Good presenters are genuinely moved, quite literally. Walk around as you talk to reach out and touch.



Lacking call to action

You just end the talk as if you forgot your objective. It always leaves everyone hanging and confused.


Actions to take

End on a challenge to your audience that fits with your theme. Give them something to remember. It always gives them something to talk about after you are gone.




One of my favorite experts in this field is Nancy Duarte. I like to keep in mind her golden rule anytime I am working on a presentation:


Never deliver a presentation you wouldn’t want to sit through yourself.


Are you devoting enough energy to improving presentation skills for yourself and your team?


So what’s the conclusion? The conclusion is there is no conclusion. There is only the next step. And that next step is entirely up to you.


It’s up to you to keep improving your continuous learning. Lessons are all around you. In many situations, your competitor may be providing the ideas and or inspiration. But the key is in knowing that it is within you already.


All you get is what you bring to the fight. And that struggle gets better every day you learn and apply new lessons.


When things go wrong, what’s most important is your next step.


Test. Learn. Improve. Repeat.


Do you have a lesson about making your innovation learning better you can share with this community? Have any questions or comments to add in the section below?


Mike Schoultz is the founder of Digital Spark Marketing, a digital marketing and customer service agency. With 40 years of business experience, he blogs on topics that relate to improving the performance of your business. Find them on G+Twitter, and LinkedIn.  


Digital Spark Marketing will stretch your thinking and your ability to adapt to change.  We also provide some fun and inspiration along the way. Call us for a free quote today. You will be amazed how reasonable we will be.


More reading on continuous learning from Digital Spark Marketing’s Library:

Studying Innovative Change for Creative Business Ideas

The Most Innovative Company? Our Answer May Surprise You

Google and Innovation … What Is the Larry Page Vision?

Aware of These Amazing Facts on Innovation?


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10 Ways to Waste Good Presentation Skills