We are all pitching or presenting throughout our daily lives. With people we know, people we don’t, with work colleagues, to clients and potential clients. So why do so many people present so badly in an industry such as ours? I’ve sat in some great pitches and presentations. I’ve been to meetings where best practices have been adopted and they have been as good as a well prepared and rehearsed pitch, even on occasions when it has been a casual conversation over a coffee. Pitching and presenting is a skill and one that needs constant work and refinement. I have witnessed people with a great deal of commercial experience present badly. Take nerves out of the equation and you’re left with some simple things to avoid:
1 – Take a really long time to explain what you’re going to talk about.
2 – Make sure you subtly let everyone know how important you are.
3 – Refer to your notes repeatedly.
4 – Never quote yourself! Seriously Never.
5 – Speak slowly and dramatically.
6 – Use lots of unexplained technical jargon to make yourself sound smart.
7 – Cram your slides with numerous text bullet points and multiple fonts.
8 – Speak at great length about the history of your organization and its achievements.
9 – Sound as if you’re reciting your talk from memory.
10 – Don’t bother rehearsing to check how long your talk is running.
11 – Never, ever make eye contact with anyone in the audience.
Rob Sheffield is CEO, APAC at Nakama Global based in Sydney.