10 Things Not to Say When Giving A Presentation

When giving a presentation you are often left to your own devices as to what to say, but here are 10 things that you should steer clear off.

steve jobs presentation
Source: AP

1) I am really tired

Let’s be honest they are not interested in you, it is what you have to say that is important. It does not sound professional and it is going to make the audience think you are not going to give your best. If you are not up to the job you should not have accepted or at best should have cancelled. It is not going to take you that long to give the presentation so have a coffee, use your medication and get on with it

2) I’ll come back to that

Don’t ever knock back the chance to get someone involved and maybe open up the floor. If it really is something that you were about to come to, go straight to that point. It seems that is what is interesting at least someone. Encourage others and if it means re-organising the way you were going to present then so be it

3) Can you hear me?

If there is a problem with the audio equipment, let the venue staff deal with it. If you can’t be heard once you start to speak there will be someone who will let you know. If there is a problem, try again and if you still can’t be heard then there will have to be a break while it is fixed. Always stay calm and confident and if there is just a small audience you may mange to carry on without a microphone.

4) I cant see you

Does that really matter as long as they can see you and watch the presentation. If the lights are so bright they affect you, ask if they can be dimmed, but otherwise walk around confidently and if there are to be questions ask that someone not on the stage and who can see the crowd, chooses the ones to ask them

5) Can you see this?

Make sure that the font is big enough before you start and a good rule of thumb is to select a font that is twice the average age of the people you will be presenting to. So if you expect a group of 30 year olds, choose 60 font. It may cut down on what you can fit on a slide but that can be a good thing.

6) I’ll read this out

Make sure that each slide is brief and takes seconds to read. A slide should be a not for you and the details you want to give should come from the notes you are reading from. If people take time reading what you have written they will automatically stop listening and then you have to win them back. If there is something you think needs to be written in full, give the audience the time to read it and don’t speak while they are doing so.

7) Please shut off your appliances

This could work against you as it will prevent listeners from tweeting your words of wisdom. It could be that someone does not want to be there and they are going to look at Facebook whether you want them to or not. It is no good demanding that they give you their undivided attention, you need to be so interesting that they choose to listen to you at the exclusion of everything else.

8) No need for notes – I’ll upload it

If you have provided a good presentation it will be short and succinct. Some people may want to note what you say that is not written down. If writing it down helps them remember then that is all to the good. Treat the audience like adults and allow them to get the most out of the presentation their own way

9) I’ll answer that now

It’s great that you can give a great answer right away but can you be sure that the rest of the audience heard the question and know what you are answering. Repeat the question before you answer it – it also gives you the chance to think about exactly what you are going to say next.

10) I’ll stay brief

No you won’t, no one does. The audience don’t want to feel you are about to rush through something that may be important to them and they will have invested time and effort to get there. Tell them it will be a little longer than you expect it to be and when you finish early, let them go for coffee and they will be impressed that everything was covered so quickly.