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Eight Ways to be a Presentation Land Mine Sweeper
By Alan Alcon   Printer Friendly Version

The path to putting forth an exceptional presentation is fraught with land mines. Notice that I said an exceptional presentation. Today, with all the electronic gizmos available as well as "free" advice from the Internet, it is relatively easy to do one that is considered effective. But do you just want to settle for effective?

So how do we even approach exceptional? One way is to be a PLMS, or Presentation Land Mine Sweeper.

Here are some of the major land mines I have seen presenters detonate over the years. I may have even stepped on one or two of these myself. How about you?

  • Starting the program before you are ready. Your opening remarks will set the tone for the entire program. Get yourself centered, focused on the audience and smiling before you utter your first word.
  • Not engaging participants early and often. The sooner you involve your audience, the longer they will stay with you.
  • Not establishing credibility with the group early on. If someone hasn't done it for you, make sure you let the group know your credentials within the first five minutes. They need to know why they should listen to you.
  • Holding back on the physical aspect of presenting for fear that the presenter will come across as emotional. It is alright to show that you are excited to be there. It is contagious and will greatly affect receptivity to your message.
  • Failing to realize that the more technical the presentation, the more critical the need for visual aids. If you start to bore yourself because the topic is so technical, you are probably losing your audience as well. Keep the presentation moving using simple but varied aids such as handouts, overheads, slides and props. However, watch out for . .
  • PowerPoint Petrification. This is a vegetative state brought on by the misuse and overuse of this product. Too many slides, slides that are too busy, inconsistent transitions, and presenters reading from slides are some of the more common causes. Remember: YOU are the message, not the images on the screen.
  • Worrying about forgetting what you wanted to say midway during the presentation and looking foolish. Not to worry, you will probably look foolish way before that.
  • Forgetting that people love to laugh and that no matter the subject, you can find humor in it. But please, no jokes. Unless you are a polished joke-teller, too many bad things can happen. Laugh at yourself and use the humor from the group. They will both take you far.

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