10 deadly presentation mistakes anyone can avoid

Practice makes perfect. Less is more. Audiences love a good story. These tips and more will spare you a deluge of flop sweat.

Ragan Insider Content

At some point in your career you’ll probably be asked to make a presentation.

For some, public speaking is an opportunity to shine; for others, it’s a nightmare.

Wherever you fall on that spectrum, understanding these 10 common presentation mistakes—and knowing how to fix them before they happen—can mean the difference between a presentation that’s a career maker or a career breaker.

Too much content

According to presentation expert Paul Vorreiter of ReflectiveSpark.com, your audience should need no more than three seconds to read and understand each slide. If they’re busy reading the slide, they’re not paying attention to what you’re saying.

Too many bullet points

Bullet points don’t tell a story, and a slide with 10 bullet points violates the three-second rule. Instead, break up that one overloaded slide into 10 slides with one idea each.

Relying on facts and figures instead of a story

A crucial mistake is failing to tell a compelling story. Instead of telling your audience that revenue is up 300 percent, detail how revenue was increased or what the company is doing with the profits.

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