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Stop Making These Four Public Speaking Mistakess

by Matt Snodgrass  |  
February 11, 2013

I just woke up from a three-day hibernation caused by watching one of the most boring presentations of my entire life on Friday afternoon. The only good thing to come out of it was  a quick list of what not to do when creating and delivering a presentation.

Reading every slide aloud. Ever attend a presentation in which a speaker simply read his slides to you as if you possessed the literacy of a four-year old?  Kinda makes you want to poke your eyeballs out, right?

Winging it. Or maybe you attended a presentation in which the presenter clearly hasn't done their homework and they're winging it. But "winging it" is just a euphemism for "spending 60 minutes sweating profusely and awkwardly stammering in front of a group of total strangers." Not very impressive, is it?

Distracting your audience. How about when the presenter is so full of nervous energy that they're unable to stay still. Talk about distracting!

Assaulting their eyeballs. Or what about slides that are so covered with graphics, colors, and fonts, that it looks like a rainbow threw up on them? (See the eyeballs comment above.) We know you've got a great graphics department, but your presentation probably isn't the best place to showcase that.

Ensure you don't make these same mistakes and that every one of your presentations is top notch. Check out our latest slideshow, "9 Public-Speaking Mistakes You Need to Stop Making."

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Matt Snodgrass is marketing manager for MarketingProfs University, which provides affordable yet comprehensive online training in the interrelated disciplines that make up the marketing mix. Reach Matt via

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  • by Carolin Geissler Mon Feb 11, 2013 via blog

    Great summary of those big mistakes, Matt.
    I had a university professor who made so many of these mistakes and his lectures were the most boring I ever had to endure!

  • by Matt Snodgrass Mon Feb 11, 2013 via blog

    Thanks, Carolin. I feel your pain- I've experienced the exact same thing. It's a pity that being an expert doesn't come with the ability to present that material well.

  • by Carolin Geissler Tue Feb 12, 2013 via blog

    It truly is, Matt! I'm sure he's had great tips to share, but they were lost on a lot of us. Which is terrible for all involved: not just us and the time we spent listening (or, well, doodling and yawning) but also him and the time he'd invested.

  • by Rich Young Tue Feb 12, 2013 via blog

    Matt - really good stuff. One final tip to add. If you have to include text (which, let's face it, we do), try to focus on only a FEW font families (for main content and maybe captions). Too often we see presentations that use six different font styles and it's extremely distracting. Final point - size matters. When I see a slide with Times New Roman size 12, I tune out the slide completely whether the presenter reads directly from it or not. The message is lost on me.

  • by Matt Snodgrass Tue Feb 12, 2013 via blog

    Great point, Rich. I couldn't agree more. We put a humorous take on this very point in one of our other slideshows. Check it out for a laugh:

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