Ten Fatal Mistakes to Ruin your Presentation

man standing


Hard to believe another year is gone and we are now starting the year 2014!  For those of you who remember the movie “Back to the Future 2”  Marty McFly time traveled to the year 2015 which is now only a year away!  I’m anxiously awaiting the hover boards for next Christmas.


I have always found “time” to be a curious dimension as it appears to have no beginning nor end but just keeps accumulating.  However, it does seem to go faster as we get older and the only way I can rationalize that phenomenon is that when you were 4 years of age, 1 year was a “whopping” 25 percent of your life, compared to when you are 50 years of age that one year only amounts to a “meager” 2 percent of your life…. sorry I have digressed from the subject.


While reading through an article in the Harvard Business Review on the subject on “How to Give a Killer Presentation by Chris Anderson,  I came across these Ten Fatal Mistakes that will ruin a presentation that I thought were worthy to review;


  1. Take a really long time to explain what your talk is about.
  2. Speak slowly and dramatically.  Why talk when you can orate?
  3. Make sure you subtly let everyone know how important you are.
  4. Refer to your book repeatedly.  Even better, quote yourself from it.
  5. Cram your slide with numerous text and bullet points and multiple fonts.
  6. Use lots of unexplained technical jargon to make yourself sound smart.
  7. Speak at great length about the history of your organization and its glorious achievements.
  8. Don’t bother rehearsing to check how long your talk is running.
  9. Sound as if you’re reciting your talk from memory.
  10. Never, ever make eye contact with anyone in the audience.


The article goes into more details on how to make a Killer of a Presentation that is really worth the read.  The most impactful part of the article started off with the story about a young pre-teenage boy from Kenya that actually presented at a TED conference.  He wasn’t a gifted speaker but used the art of telling a story that this article elaborated on that concluded with him receiving a standing ovation.  Here is the link to the beginning of the article and this boy’s actual presentation.  http://hbr.org/2013/06/how-to-give-a-killer-presentation/ar/1  .  The presentation is only about 7 minutes but it is worth watching to see how he tells his story and uses appropriate mixes of pictures and graphics.  

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