Presentation Pitfalls Series: Top 10 Content Mangement Mistakes


Here, David Letterman style, are what I consider to be the Top 10 most common mistakes presenters make when organizing and preparing their content:

10) Not setting the stage.

An introduction should be more than just "Hello. Today we'll be discussing _____." If you just jump into the content without setting up the presentation, it can get you off to a jumpy, disjointed start. An introduction should give the audience a sense of who you are, what you're there to do, and what's in it for them to listen.

9) Using ineffective notes.

It's almost always wise to have some notes handy to make sure you don't forget anything important, but if your notes are hard to follow or are distracting for the audience, they defeat the purpose. Trying to read from a crowded page of word-for-word narrative is a killer because you look down and have trouble looking up for fear that you'll never find your place again. Disorganized papers or cards can be cumbersome and messy. Keep clear, concise, key-word-or-key-phrase-only notes handy to simply jog your memory, not serve as an unnecessary crutch.

8) Using jargon or acronyms that leave the audience bewildered.

When a listener hears a word or phrase he/she is not familiar with it causes what I call a "cerebral derailment". The listener's mind is chugging along happily with you until he/she hears an unfamiliar term and suddenly the mind jumps the tracks to wonder, "What does that mean?" Always define acronyms (even if you're sure they know what the letters stand for) and, when in doubt, define any terms that could possibly be unfamiliar.

7) Planning backwards.

Many people begin to prepare a presentation by thinking, "What do I have that's cool?" (meaning visual aids, support points, stories, examples, etc.) Then they ask themselves, "How can I work it in?" This is backwards. Decide on what you want to accomplish and then ask "What do I have in the way of support that would help me meet that objective?" If you plan backwards you may very well end up with a bunch of interesting information that is of no value to the listeners.

6) Not knowing your objective and/or not sharing it.

In addition to being clear on the point you want to make, you should also be clear on the objective you wish to achieve. Do you want the audience to make a decision? Show them the options and ask for a decision. If you need their cooperation, make sure you explain why you need them and how they can help you. If your goal is to familiarize them with a topic, make that clear so you don't get bogged down in excess detail. Both you and your audience should be clear on what you're there to accomplish.

5) Not providing "signposts".

Imagine that you can get a new set of information two ways: 1) you can read it in a report or 2) you can listen to it in a presentation. What advantages do you have when you're reading that you don't have when you're listening?

  • You can go at your own pace

  • You can re-read things that you found confusing

  • You can skip sections that don't interest you

  • You can see when a new topic begins (because of section titles or white space)

  • You can make notes

  • You can file it away for future reference.

None of these options are available to your listeners. To the audience, your ideas are just sounds in the ether, so to make up for the lack of these advantages, you need to provide signposts to let us know where you are. Visual aids can help, but remember to include phrases like "Now, let's move on to point #2", "That's all for the background, now let's move on to the current status," or "Let me just wrap up." These little phrases take very little time but do wonders for helping your audience stay with you.

4) Having complex, hard-to-read visual aids.

Your visual aids should be just that--aids. They should HELP you get your message across. Complicated, crowded, hard-to-read visual aids compete with you for your audience's attention. Keep them simple enough that listeners have a reason to stick around and listen to YOU.

3) Not having an obvious, logical structure.

Meandering from point to point can be very frustrating to a listener. Have your information laid out in a logical structure and share that structure with the listeners up front so they know where you're headed.

2) Not making the POINT clear up front.

There's nothing more frustrating to a listener than to sit there thinking, "OK, so what's your point?!" Remember, you know your material cold. The listeners don't. Sometimes you have to smack them between the eyes with the point, as in, "If you only remember one thing from my presentation, I want it to be __________________." Don't wait until the end to present your point with a dramatic flourish. Make your point right up front and spend the rest of the time supporting that point.

And the #1 content management mistake. . .

1) Including too much information.

It's tempting to want to cram all the information possible into the heads of your listeners, but ironically, it's possible that the more information you include, the less they learn. Think of a rainstorm. When rain is pouring down, much of it runs off before it can soak into the soil. The water is wasted because there was simply too much of it to take in. Whereas, a slow, steady rain has a chance to soak in thoroughly. It's far better to include half as much information and have them retain most of it, than to squeeze in every imaginable tidbit and have 90% of the information wind up as runoff.

All of these problems are common. Luckily, with awareness and a few simple adjustments, they are easily overcome.

About The Author

Melissa Lewis turns traditional thinking about public speaking upside down to give people more comfort, confidence, and charisma in front of groups. She is a former actress, a certified facilitator of SPEAKING CIRCLES, president-elect of the National Speakers Association Kansas City Chapter, and author of the soon-to-be-released book, Upside Down Speaking. For more information call (913) 341-1241 or visit www.upsidedownspeaking.com" target="_new">www.upsidedownspeaking.com, melissa@upsidedownspeaking.com


MORE RESOURCES:
This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news


Hackaday

Got a Burning Idea For An EMF Camp Presentation? Now's Your ...
Hackaday
Sometimes the world of tech conference presentations can seem impossibly opaque, a place in which there appears to be an untouchable upper echelon of the same speakers who pop up at conference after conference. Mere mortals can never aspire to join ...

and more »


Billings Gazette

MSUB dean to take job at Presentation College in South Dakota
Billings Gazette
Montana State University Billings announced that college dean Diane Duin will leave to take a job at Presentation College in South Dakota. Duin is the dean of MSUB's College of Allied Health Professions and the interim dean of the College of Business ...



KULR-TV

Internet Parent Presentation
KULR-TV
A presentation for parents with the Montana Internet Crimes Against Children was held Thursday night at the Family Tree Center. The event is a way to help parents become more aware of technology and how children are using it. Ofc. Earl Campbell with ...



The Laconia Daily Sun

Presentation on the use of art in recovery programs set for April 23
The Laconia Daily Sun
LACONIA — The Lakes Region Art Association will host a presentation by Elaine Morrison and Dick Smith on their work with Creative Recovery, previously known as River Crew Art. The presentation will be part of the LRAA's monthly meeting at the Woodside ...



Education group to host presentation at Mahaiwe
Berkshire Eagle
Education group to host presentation at Mahaiwe. Posted Friday, April 20, 2018 8:21 pm. GREAT BARRINGTON — The Southern Berkshire Educational Future, a working group focused on inter-district collaboration among southern Berkshire County school ...



FalconStor Software Hosts First Quarter 2018 Financial ...
GlobeNewswire (press release)
AUSTIN, Texas, April 20, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- After the close of market on Thursday, May 10, 2018 FalconStor Software, Inc. (OTCQB:FALC), will announce financial results for the first quarter 2018, which ended March 31, 2018. FalconStor will host a ...

and more »


Seeking Alpha

Huntington Bancshares (HBAN) Investor Presentation - Slideshow
Seeking Alpha
Huntington Bancshares (HBAN) Investor Presentation - Slideshow. Apr.20.18 | About: Huntington Bancshares (HBAN). The following slide deck was published by Huntington Bancshares Incorporated in conjunction with this event. 111. Click to enlarge. Notes ...



Holocaust Survivor Presentation
Catholic Courier
Sunday, April 22, 2018. 2 p.m.. Author Marlies Adams Di Range, who wrote Queen of the Bremen, will be a guest speaker at the St. Francis-St.Clare Parish Center in Waterloo. Her talk will be based on her true-life experiences. Marlies was five years old ...



SNAPSHOT: Check presentation
The Saratogian
From left to right, Lily (Girl Scout Troop No. 3415), GSNENY CEO Mary Buszuwski, NBT Bank Senior Vice President and GSNENY Board Member Patricia Garrow, NBT Bank Vice President Tim Robinson, Zoe (Girl Scout Troop No. 3415), and Ava (Girl Scout Troop No ...



Engadget

Dropbox's Showcase presentation tools are faster and more flexible
Engadget
Since going public earlier this year, Dropbox has been steadily rolling out new features to its all-important business customers. Earlier this month, the company's Smart Sync feature had a wide release after several years of testing, and today Dropbox ...

and more »

Google News

Eitforum.com ©