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3 Most Common Mistakes Presenters Make

by | Feb 21, 2017 | 2 comments


You want to capture your audience. You want to make a difference. You want to give your presentation without throwing up.

Then don’t make these three most common presentation mistakes.

  1. Too much stuff on your visuals.

Yesterday I worked with an executive on a presentation he is giving to a mayor of a large city and the top business leaders in that community. It’s a 20-minute presentation. “Really?” I asked. “You have enough info on your PPT deck to talk for one hour.” We cleaned up his deck. Made his font as large as we could, we deleted bullets (they kill) and added pictures. Visuals need to be visual.

  1. Ineffective beginning.

I beg you: don’t start with, “Good morning! My name is ABC (you might as well use these initials because no one will remember your name if you say it at this point of your speech when you haven’t built any rapport yet) and I’m going to talk about how to be heard online.” Boring. Not unique. Time to check email. Start with a story, quote, question, or an audience engagement activity. Anything but the norm.

  1. No “call to action”.

Every time you open your mouth you are trying to have your listener do, feel or think something differently. Often you forget to actually tell us what you want us to do as a result of listening to you. Huge mistake. We can’t intuit your thoughts. Plus we are very distractible! Before your final conclusion tell us what you want! Examples: “Stop checking email every 3 minutes.” “Go vote in your local elections.” “Start exercising.” Or for my client yesterday, “Start putting  your city’s data together in order to capture this billion dollar opportunity.”

Your “call to action” from this blog: I challenge you to simplify your PowerPoint visuals, begin your message with creativity and clarify what you want us to do after we’ve heard your valuable information.

© 123RF Stock Photo

© Karen Cortell Reisman, M.S., author of 3 books and President of Speak For Yourself®, works with decision makers on how to speak with gravitas. It’s all in how you speak for yourself. Karen also speaks about her cousin, Albert Einstein, in a message about hope, resilience and brassieres.

Read more at www.SpeakForYourself.com/blog.

Did you know that we also work 1:1 with decision makers on overcoming the fear of public speaking? Click here: https://www.karencortellreisman.com/seminar-what-i-didnt-say.html



  1. Michael Gallant

    Karen – you write like you talk. I like that.
    This was a good one. One day when I am asked to address the International Powder Coating Association, I will remember these tips.
    Keep em coming.

    • Karen Cortell Reisman

      Thanks, Michael! Let me know when you speak to your International Powder Coating Association!

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