20 Business Presentation Mistakes: Part 3: Are you making these career-damaging blunders?

In Part 1 & part 2 of this post, we revealed thirteen (13) common business presentation mistakes that could sidetrack your business presentations. If you haven’t read this series from the beginning, I highly recommend you stop here, and go back to Part 1 HERE.

Below are the final seven:

  1. Opening slow or long-winded. In business presentations, you have less than 60 seconds to get to the point. You don’t have to be entertaining (it helps), but you must be interesting to this specific audience.
    Fix: Get to the point quickly. No preamble. No pre-ramble. Explain what’s in it for them immediately.
  2. Not having a close. Again, to repeat my favorite speech coach, Patricia Fripp, “Last words linger.” You want to control the last words the audience hears.
    Fix: Like the opening of your presentation, you should know specifically how you would close. Memorize your opening and your closing. This will give you confidence, knowing specifically how you will begin and end.
  3. Running out of time.
    Fix: I always coach my corporate clients to have three versions of their presentations. The original version for the time allotted, say 30 minutes. A Plan ‘B” version, say 10 to 15 minutes and a quick 5 minute version. This way you are prepared for all contingencies.
  4. Introducing new information at the close of your presentation.
    Fix: It’s called the close for a reason. Schedule another meeting or include this information in the body of the presentation, a handout or follow-up email.
  5. Not practicing or rehearsing.
    Fix: One minute of practicing will save you 10 minutes of rambling. Practice in front of a video camera. Yes. You look like that and you sound like that – Get over it! See my blog on how to rehearse your presentation HERE.
  6. Taking too much, without audience involvement or participation.
    Fix: It is a good idea to check in with the audience to make sure they’re with you before moving on to the next idea. Ask, “What questions do you have?” Build in activities or exercises to ensure comprehension. Check for understanding before moving on to the next idea.
  7. Not relating to your audience’s behavioral styles.
    Fix: There are four basic behavioral styles in any audience. I’m sure you’ve taken a behavioral profile such as Myers-Briggs or DiSC:

    • Driver – Think of the billionaire and “Shark Tank” host, Mark Cuban. Keep it fast paced & big picture.
    • Expressive – Think of the Oprah Winfry . Keep it fast paced and fun.
    • Amiable – Think of former first lady Michelle Obama. Build rapport and keep it logical.
    • Analytical – Think of Bill Gates. Keep it logical.

Profile your audience. Determine in advance what percentage of your audience fits the above profiles.

Those are only a few of the mistakes that business presenters make. If you have any experiences you’d like to share on this topic, please reach out with your stories.


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About Ed Tate:

Ed Tate is an award-winning international Keynote speaker, trainer, and author. Worldwide he is known as “The Speaker Who Energizes, Educates, and Entertains.”

Using the principles, he teaches, Ed Tate won the “American Idol of Public Speaking” and became the 2000 World Champion of Public Speaking. This award is Toastmasters International’s most prestigious speaking award among its 332,000+ members.

In 2008, Ed earned the Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) designation from the National Speakers Association. It is the speaking profession’s international measure of professional platform skill. It is an honor bestowed on less than 12% of its members.


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