Presentations can be overwhelming for anyone, whether it is a business meeting, an interview for a potential job, or a speech before an audience of peers or customers.
Being able to speak in front of people is a skill that everyone needs to have. However, it doesn’t come naturally for a lot of people. In-fact statistics show that it is the number one fear – even above the fear of death and spiders!
Thankfully, skills can be learnt and tools can be acquired.
Here are the most common mistakes people make when presenting, and what you can do instead to make sure that you stand out from the crowd and get that job/deal/sale/grade that you are aiming for!
• Mistake #1 Failing to Make Strong Eye Contact
• Mistake #2 Fidgeting and acting nervously
• Mistake #3 Not Paying attention to the noises from the room
• Mistake #4 Forgetting the Importance of the Audience’s Line of Sight
• Mistake #5 Arriving and Leaving Unsure of Yourself
Failing to Make Strong Eye Contact
When you are nervous, you naturally tend to shift your eyes around and not give your audience sure and confident eye-contact.
This is a common and easy mistake to make.
Unfortunately, shifting your eyes around is distracting and confusing for the audience, and it instantly conveys insecurity.
Eye contact is a part of daily communication and your audience will feel uncomfortable if they’re denied it. Untrustworthy people avoid eye contact and that is not the message you want to send your audience.
Look at your audience with confidence! Embrace an attitude that radiates confidence and high self-esteem, in every word that you say.
Looking someone directly in their eyes establishes a personal connection and engages them.
You don’t need to look at each member of the audience individually, but make sure you’re looking at their faces and make eye contact with some. It will make your audience feel that you are a person who is trustworthy and can be relied upon.
Fidgeting and acting nervously
Another common mistake that people are prone to when they are giving a speech, or in a job interview, is to fidget constantly. This tells the audience that you are unsure of yourself or your content.
Some people might just move their legs a bit, others tap their fingers rhythmically on the desk, or grab the pen and papers in front of them.
This clearly indicates to the audience that you lack confidence, and that you cannot work under pressure.
Appear calm by using deliberate and natural actions.
Focus on being calm and acting naturally. Never fidget or make movements without a reason. You want to convey the message that you are full of confidence, completely sure about yourself and abilities, and no one can change this deep belief in yourself. It will make others respect you and know that you should not be taken lightly.
Stand tall with a good posture. Act confident and feel confident. It’s okay to move around, but do it in a controlled manner and not in an anxious way.
Correct posture will also benefit you. When you stand straight you are not tightening your vocal cords or diaphragm and it will be easier for you to breathe and speak.
Finally, you also show respect for your audience with your body language. You can show your audience how important you think they are and their time is to you.
Not Paying attention to the noises from the room
Another very common mistake that people make is to be focused exclusively on what they are saying and doing that they fail to notice what else is happening in the room.
Noises from the room can be distracting or may be so loud that they make it impossible for you to be heard. If you fail to notice this, the audience will quickly start to lose interest in what you have to say. It doesn’t matter how great your content is, if no-one can hear it!
Pay attention to what else is going on in the room and consider your audience.
If external noises are covering your voice, pause or raise your so you can be heard by the audience. This is really simple, but it will be greatly appreciated by your audience. It also will convey the message that you are confident in what you have to say, and you insist that your words must be heard as they are of great importance.
If the audience is applauding or verbally responding to your last point, wait for them to finish before continuing!
If the distraction is because someone in your audience is talking, pause until they stop talking. This is another characteristic that will be appreciated, because it shows clear strength of character, and a person that has absolutely no tolerance for interruptions and belittlement.
Remember that the main point of a presentation is to share your knowledge with your audience, and to do that, your audience needs to be able to take in what you are saying!
Forgetting the Importance of the Audience’s Line of Sight
If the audience cannot see the speaker, or the documents/props that he is showing, the audience will easily lose interest. It is a common mistake for presenters to overlook their presentation environment.
In order to give a successful speech or presentation, the line of sight for the audience needs to be considered. It is of utmost importance to make sure that your audience can easily see you, and the documents that you are presenting.
This is especially critical if the presentation involves slideshow and other props that will make the presentation easier to understand.
Check the room of the presentation meticulously, and take care of any problems.
Objects between the speaker and the audience that obstruct the line of sight should be removed. The most common objects that presenters tend to overlook include a laptop, a table, and a water bottle.
Remember also that you are part of the presentation. You need to stand in the right position that allows the audience to see all movement easily.
It is also vitally important to make sure that the documents you are going to use during your presentation are large, clear and visible for everyone.
Arriving and Leaving Unsure of Yourself
How you arrive and leave the presentation is an often overlooked part of the presentation. This is a mistake. In fact, this is as important as the way you hold yourself during the actual presentation. Your entrance and exit of the room is crucial. You can either make a great or poor first impression.
When you enter the room or walk up to the podium looking stressed and unsure of yourself, your audience will not be sure of you either.
Your entrance should be slow and sure, showing that you are in control and confident. You want your audience to be inspired by your presence and anticipate great things from you.
When are leaving, close the presentation with gratefulness; smile and thank them for their attention and time. Leave with purpose and your head up. No matter how impressive you were during your talk, if you leave hurriedly at the close of the presentation it will leave a bad last impression that is going to linger in the audience’s thoughts. Rushing off doesn’t convey confidence in your message!
Keep in mind that every second the audience’s eyes are on you counts as a part of the presentation. If you need to take a seat in the audience after finishing your presentation, then it includes that. Make sure that, from beginning to end, you are instilling confidence in your audience, both in you and in your message.
Acting skills can help in a variety of ways in daily life situations. All of the above points are taken straight from acting training!
We understand that most people don’t ever have access to acting training and may not have any desire to do so either!
At Rewards Drama we teach you some acting skills and tips that you can use in everyday life situations. We focus on the outcomes of confidence, presentation, voice and self-worth.
Acting skills and tools to help you be your best!
If you would like to learn more information and further techniques (in a fun and fresh way!) that will help you present better and grow your confidence, enrol in our course and learn tools that you will find useful in your everyday life situations.
Believe in yourself!