Bad presentation habits are hard to break, but break them!
Presentation Mistake #1:
Use slides as a teleprompter
The biggest reason people present slides-as-documents is that they want to make sure they cover everything comprehensively. Presenters put every word on a slide so they don’t forget what they’re supposed to say. They build what is essentially a visual teleprompter. Audiences become frustrated when they have to sit through a presenter read-along, just like it would frustrate you to read the President’s teleprompter instead of listening to the State of the Union.
Presentation Mistake #2:
Leave no time to prepare a real presentation
Authors pour ideas, words, and pictures onto slides as part of the creative process. The problem is that people stop there—with all their thoughts in writing on the slide. If you plan to present the material, there’s an additional step you need to take to distill the document into a true visual aid. If you don’t have time to perform this step, it’s best to distribute it as a document.
Presentation Mistake #3:
Think dense slides look smart
People in analytical roles sometimes think the merit of an idea is directly proportional to the amount of information on the slide. They feel that if you don’t have dense charts and graphs, you haven’t done your research or been thorough enough. However, projecting several layers of charts on a slide is a very different experience than distributing several charts throughout a slidedoc for people to read and interpret for themselves.
Presentation Mistake #4:
When you’ve worked hard on your ideas, it’s tempting to present the material instead of handing it out. Presenting material makes it clear that you’re the author and subject matter expert. But is that necessary? This behavior is based on pride of authorship, not communication efficiency.
Regardless of why people present their dense slides, the practice should stop.