Common Practice Does NOT Equal Best Practice! Three Common Practices to Avoid the Next Time You Present
by Kelly Vandever
Jay was young – in fact, he was an intern…he hadn’t even finished college yet. This may have been his very first “business presentation.” But he said what I often hear clients and business presenters say: “My topic is boring. No one cares about this.”
I begged to differ. With Jay and with anyone else out there who has said the same thing, you’re wrong! You and your topic can be engaging!
If you have passion for your subject and if you take into consider what the audience cares about, you can make even your topic fascinating.
But there are some common practices that 90% of all business presenters do that will add boring to your talk. Avoid doing these common practices – plus speak with conviction and consider your audiences needs – and you’ll outshine your peers in the business presenting world!
Here are those common practices to avoid – and what to do instead!
Common Practice #1 – Thanking the Audience in Your Opening
How many business presentations do you know that start with something like this…
Thank you for having me. I really appreciate you spending your time with me. I know there are a ton of other things you could be doing. But you’ve made time to … blah blah blah
Idle prattle doesn’t help you engage the audience or set good expectations for your presentation. Skip it all together and dive into something that will engage the audience. Some of my favorite ways to start are…
- Tell a story that makes a point relevant to the audience
- Make a starting statement that goes against traditional wisdom
- Share a little known fact or statistic relevant to the topic and/or your audience
Common Practice #2 – Tell Them Everything You Know
In an effort to help others understand, we have a tendency to start from the beginning and start sharing everything we know. Audiences don’t need that. They need just enough information to understand what’s relevant and important to them.
Narrow your scope to better serve your audiences.
Common Practice #3 – PowerPoint with Bullet Points
PowerPoint slides with bullet points detract from your verbal message and in themselves signal boring.
Instead use a new slide for each new idea and on that slide have an image plus two or three words to make your point.
It will be less boring for your audience and increase retention of information.
Don’t Do It Because That’s the Way It’s Always Been Done
Business presentations are an opportunity to shine. The bar is set really low. You can stand out for all the right reason just by not doing what is commonly done.
So start small if you have to, but start! Your audiences will thank you.
Kelly Vandever is a leadership and communications expert who helps leaders and organizations thrive in today’s attention-deficit, entertain-me-now, wait-while-I-post-that-on-Facebook world. Connect with Kelly and discover how opening up and speaking practically can bring you better business results.
Contact Kelly by phone at 770-597-1108, email her or tweet her @KellyVandever.