10 Ways to Give the Worst Presentation of Your Career
This is a quick breakdown on how to give the worst presentation of your career.
Step 1: Wait Until the Last Minute
It is important that you wait until the day of your talk to throw your presentation together to help create a sense of spontaneity. Be sure to mix and match from previous decks with the intent to add as little value to your audience as possible.
Step 2: Avoid the Time Consuming Process of Outlines
Some of the best novels and plays were birthed from well-thought outlines. These same masterpieces also followed a unique flow given the richness of their content. You need to avoid this pitfall because 1. You are not writing a novel, you are giving a presentation and 2. Outlines are time consuming and you have Slack messages needing your response and emails sitting in your inbox. Simply, you have bigger priorities than that upcoming investor pitch.
Step 3: Cover All Your Bases
It is absolutely vital to take advantage of the opportunity to share every data point, key finding, and highlight. Headlines are for newspapers so go into a deep dive with every slide. Audiences love to get lost in the weeds with you.
Step 4: Imagine the Audience Naked
This is one of the best public speaking tips that needs to be revisited. When thinking about your audience of professional men and women it is imperative that you imagine each person as if they were naked. Putting your audience in an inferior position will make you feel more confident and persuasive.
Step 5: Save Stories for the Creatives
You are a busy person and the last time you checked, you don’t work for a fancy studio in Hollywood. Save the stories for the creatives. After all, stories are just for the movies. Your content needs to be fact driven since this is how businesses operate. Remember, data wins the hearts and minds of any audience.
Step 6: Choose a PowerPoint Template
When designing your slides it is critical that you choose a pre made PowerPoint template. There are some really beautiful options out there to choose from that will only cost you a few dollars. Remember, great design is about slides looking pretty rather than being designed strategically.
Step 7: Take Pride in a Lower Slide Count
As you start designing your slides, remember that a lot of today’s best speakers take pride in using either no slides or just 3–5 slides. Visuals get in the way of information retention so be sure to reduce the number of slides you use in your decks. As the saying goes, “less is more.”
Step 8: Focus on Lists
The most productive people enjoy a good list. The satisfaction of being able to cross items off one-by-one can intoxicating. You need to make sure to deploy this same technique when building out your slides. Aim to have bulleted lists since this is a process people love and appreciate. Utilize this approach to keep your audience deeply engaged.
Step 9: Don’t Rehearse
It is a common rule of thumb that if you rehearse too much it will make you appear as unauthentic or “too prepared.” To avoid this trap, it is vital that you plan just speak from the heart so you can be as genuine and authentic as possible when in front of the room.
Step 10: Do Not Include a Call-to-Action
Audience members already have all the resources they need to make a decision. Plus, everyone is busy. The last thing they need is another item to add to their to-do list. Don’t bother your audience with telling them what they need to do after your talk. They’ll resent you for the extra work and heavy lifting.
If you want to give the worst presentation of your career, you now have the perfect blueprint to achieve that goal.
Scott Schwertly is the Founder and CEO of Ethos3 and the creator of Badge, a proprietary presentation assessment tool which helps presenters discover and maximize their presentation style. He is also the author of two books, What’s Your Presentation Persona? (McGraw-Hill, 2017) and How to be a Presentation God (Wiley, 2011). If Scott is not working with his team building presentations, you will find him in the pool, on the bike, or on a long run since he is a 2x Ironman, 7x marathoner, and competitive triathlete.