Have you inflicted one of these types of presentation on your audience? These seven types are all a result of a lack of planning or the wrong sort of planning. I’ll be looking at how to avoid some of these presentation planning traps in a live webinar with Ellen Finkelstein next week. The webinar is on Wednesday 29th September at 4pm ET. Sign up here.

1. The “I want to tell you everything” presentation

heart This presenter is in love with their topic and wants to share it all with you – every nuance, every subtlety, every story. Their passion and enthusiasm is great. But it’s not tempered with any discipline. And that results in information overload for the audience.

If you’re guilty of this type of presentation, checkout this post How to avoid information overload in your presentation.

2. The “grab bag” presentation

The “grab bag” presentation is one where the presenter has a miscellany of points which are only loosely related to each other and appear in no structured order. I’ve seen highly experienced, professional speakers fall into the trap of the “grab bag” presentation.

The solution to the grab bag presentation is to plan your presentation around a key message. That provides you with focus. For tips see this post How to Craft a Memorable Key Message in 10 Minutes.

3. The “shopping list” presentation

This presentation contains point, after point, after point. Often presented as bullet-point slide after bullet-point slide after bullet-point slide. It’s deadly dull. There’s no variety, no light and shade. It may be organized but it lacks any evidence: stories, case studies, endorsements, metaphors or analogies.

The antidote to the shopping list presentation is to include evidence to back up each of your points. I analyzed speeches from Al Gore, Seth Godin, and Malcolm Gladwell. 60-70% of their speeches were composed of evidence.

4. The “meringue” presentation

Emergency firefighting cover - Operation Fresco This is the opposite of the shopping list presentation. The presentation is chocka full of stories, anecdotes, jokes, shocking statistics, and metaphors. It’s highly entertaining and engaging – but an hour later when you try and work out what you learned – there’s a void.

To avoid this, plan your presentation using a solid three-part structure. Clothe your structure with your stories and anecdotes.

5. The “race against the clock” presentation

This presentation might be well-planned and have a good balance of points and evidence, but the presenter hasn’t rehearsed and timed it. Pretty soon, she becomes aware she’s not going to have enough time to cover everything she planned, and the race is on! Every two minutes she says things like:

“I’ll just cover this quickly”

“If I have enough time, I’ll let you know about X”

“I wish I had more time to tell you about this.” etc. etc.

Simple solution: rehearse and time your presentation. More tips are here: How to Keep to Time during your Presentation.

6. The “mystery novel” presentation

This is the presentation where the presenter holds back the most important point till the end – like a whodunnit. Sometimes this can work but it needs to be carefully planned. More often, the “mystery novel” presentation happens because the presenter didn’t think about the needs of the audience and simply followed their own train of thought which resulted in a conclusion at the end.

In this post Why its Smarter to put your Conclusion in the Opening I recommend that you should start with your conclusion, but I also list the exceptions to that rule.

7. The “perpetually taxi-ing” presentation

Consider a presentation to be like an aeroplane journey. The ideal presentation gets you in the air quickly. But some presentations spend so long on “background”, “methodolody”, “who we are” that they never get into the air. The audience never gets taken anywhere.

Do you recognise yourself here? If you do, don’t beat yourself up over it, but resolve not to do it again! And if you want some more specific tips sign up for next week’s webinar.

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