4 Traps to Avoid Presentation Disasters

With a constant cycle of proposals comes a constant stream of scheduled presentations. With that constant stream of presentations comes traps that are very easy to fall into because everyone is busy running around. That leads most presentation teams into dreadful traps, but you can avoid presentation disasters.

Haven given and coached well over 1,000 presentations and witnessed countless more, take my word for it, you don’t want to fall into these traps.

4 Traps to Avoid Presentation Disasters

  1. The entire time is spent babbling about information that is written in the physical bid.
    This is one of the worst traps because the selection committee was so looking forward to meeting and getting to know the team and the company only for it to be a huge letdown. And not just one letdown, but one that repeats over and over again as the four or more teams come in and give the same presentation over and over again. Such a drag!
    At the end of the biggest letdown that has now repeated itself multiple times, the selection committee has no additional information now than when they started. The worst part is that they have to make a multi-million dollar decision based on very little information. Not just any decision, but they are now putting trust with a company that they don’t know that well, that’s scary!
  2. Too much text
    A PowerPoint slide deck can be a powerful tool if you know how to use it. Many presenters believe that they have to use it because it’s expected, or simply because the technology is available.
    Far too many presenters either purposefully overrun their slides with bullet points so they have a checklist of what to talk about, or mindlessly prepare their presentation last minute so they type out every word that needs to be said on the slides.
    To the listener, it appears that the presenting team doesn’t know what they are talking about, or maybe that they are completely unqualified.
  3. web_offer_banner_2losingReading slides
    Presenters that haven’t studied their topic enough and are not comfortable with it, tend to read the slides. In most cases, the presenter turns around backwards reading off of the screen and the audience begins to believe that they are listening to somebody who doesn’t know the subject.
    Some presenters cram so much data onto graphs that you can’t even read it. I’ve even witnessed a presenter telling the audience “I know you can’t read this” — that is a huge problem.
    Your slides can go a long way to assist your presentation but that’s only if the strategy is planned out well in advance. Pictures resonate with emotions, therefore your slides (if you even need slides) should be pictures that correspond with your examples or correspond with what you are talking about at that moment.
    And I’m not condoning five pictures per slide, 1 picture per slide is plenty enough and a maximum of 5-7 words, 3 is ideal.
  4. Not genuine
    One may be the loneliest number but numbers aren’t friendly. If your presentation is 100% facts and data mixed in with acronyms that nobody can define, then your presentation is seriously lacking character.
    People relate with people, not numbers. It doesn’t matter how many years a person has been with the company or how many certifications the company has earned (that’s in the paper proposal anyway). It doesn’t even matter what jobs you are currently working on, also a habit when introducing the team.
    What does matter is feelings! The team as a whole needs to explain how much being a part of the community means to them. Or even how much this project means to the company because the owner had ties to this organization. Whatever the circumstance is, it needs to be explained in order for the presentation to be genuine. And genuine isn’t something you can fake!

Now you can see how to avoid these presentation disasters and make your bid presentations much more successful. Have you experienced a presentations disaster that you wish you could have avoided?

Additional Resources

How Speak Simple Can Help You

Win more work, increasing your billing rate, and prospects coming to you are all results of being a good presenter. Erica Olson created Speak Simple to help technical professionals to become comfortable presenting and excel at each presentation, whether a bid presentation or an educational, content marketing presentation. Learn more about Speak Simple’s flagship program is SpeakU, a self-guided presentation training program.

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