Wednesday, February 22, 2006

BusinessWeek : The 10 Worst Presentation Habits

I am always up for suggestions regarding business presentations. Most
of the suggestions apply to talking in the art gallery too! Just an
FYI for my fellow amazing docents.

BusinessWeek has this slideshow ...take a look

Bad Habit #1
Reading from notes
Great communicators do not read from scripts, notes, or PowerPoint
slides. While it's acceptable to refer to notes from time to time,
reading directly from prepared notes is a no-no. It breaks down the
rapport between listener and audience.

Bad Habit #2
Avoiding eye contact
Great communicators understand that eye contact is critical to
building trust, credibility, and rapport. Far too many business
professionals have a habit of looking at everything but the audience
-- a wall, a desk, or a computer.

Bad Habit #3
Dressing Down

Great communicators look the part. Have you ever seen Donald Trump
dressed in anything less than a classy suit and tie? Even on the golf
course, he looks like a million -- okay, a billion -- bucks. Many
business leaders tend to dress beneath their position. They show up
with a cheap suit, worn shoes, and ill-fitting clothes.

Bad Habit #4
Fidgeting, jiggling, and swaying

Great communicators eliminate small, annoying gestures or mannerisms.
Fidgeting with your hands, jiggling coins, or swaying back and forth
all reflect nervousness or insecurity. These habits inspire no
confidence in the speaker.

Bad Habit #5
Failure to rehearse

Great communicators always rehearse important presentations. Most bad
presentations are the result of failing to practice talking out loud.

Bad Habit #6
Standing at attention

Great communicators are not stiff. Standing at attention like a
soldier waiting for orders might work for the army, but it makes
presentations tedious.

Bad Habit #7
Reciting bullet points

Great communicators assume the audience can read. Many speakers read
the bullet points on their slides word for word. Slides (or any
visual) act as a complement to the speaker, not the other way around.

Bad Habit #8
Speaking too long

Great communicators know that leadership requires the ability to
articulate a message that's passionate, clear, and concise. Studies
show that listeners lose their attention after approximately 18
minutes. Many leaders think that the longer they speak, the more
important they sound. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Bad Habit #9
Failing to excite

Great communicators grab their listeners' attention right out of the
gate. Audiences remember the first thing you say and the last. But
don't worry -- if you're struggling to compose an opening, there is a

Bad Habit #10
Ending with an inspiration deficit

Great communicators end their presentations on an inspiring note. Most
presenters believe the middle of their presentation contains the
really important content. It might, but most listeners will walk away
from a presentation remembering what was said at the end.

Sanjeev Narang


email: ask {*at*} eConsultant dot com
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