Avoiding the Top 4 Presentation Mistakes: Tips for Engaging and Impactful Delivery

It’s easy to tell when you’re sitting in a horrible presentation. Maybe the speaker didn’t prep the tech before hand, maybe the content is stale, or maybe the design is so horrible that it’s distracting. The good news is that with a little bit of research and study, you can avoid giving a horrible presentation. The problem is that often that’s where people stop, and they’re left with mediocre presentations.

Some signs of a mediocre presentations:

  • You’ll get some slight head nods
  • You’ll see people taking notes (spoiler, they’re actually just doodling because they’re bored)
  • You won’t be the worst speaker at any event, but you’re not winning any awards
  • You’ll have free time after your talk because people won’t be coming up to talk to you after

At the end of the day, it’s not a spot you want to be in. So we’ve compiled a list of our top 4 mistakes that we see people making in their mediocre presentations:

1. All Head No Heart:

We often think that in the business world, people only want to hear the facts and the stats. Unless you’re in marketing, no one cares about the emotional side of the story. The problem is… that’s wrong. A presentation should never be without emotion, regardless of the topic or audience. To really engage your listeners, find ways to add emotional depth to your content. Begin with relatable stories or incorporate analogies that give meaning to your data. Unearth the emotional appeal by asking yourself “why” questions.

2. The Sistine Chapel on a Post Card:

PowerPoint™ is an amazing tool, but it’s important to use it correctly. What we see so often is people trying to fit everything they want to communicate on one slide. It’s like getting a post card of the Sistine Chapel. You might walk away with an idea of what’s going on, but the beauty and the detail is all lost. Avoid overcrowding your slides with excessive elements. Presenting a slide deck filled with bullet points and exhaustive content is the best way to lose your audience.

Instead, focus on reinforcing your ideas with visuals that complement your narrative. Pictures speak louder than bullet points.

3. Talking Jargon:

We all love feeling like an insider. When we know how people speak and understand all the abbreviations. But you know who hates that? Everyone else who doesn’t know what you’re talking about. By using “jargon”, it alienates your audience and makes them feel like an outsider. Even if you think it’s a ubiquitous phrase or term, find a new more simple way to say it. You’ll stand out from the rest of the crowd.

4. Use Your Time Well:

This is the simplest tip that can either make a crowd love you or hate you, yet it’s one of the things I see presenters think about as and afterthought. What you need to remember is that at the end of your presentation, people will either think, you’ve given them time or you’ve taken their time.

If your talk is scheduled for 15 minutes – make sure it’s 15 minutes.
If your talk is schedule for 30 minutes – make sure it’s 30 minutes.

People’s time is valuable. If you end too early, you’ve convey the message that you didn’t do enough research to fill your time. If you go over, you’ll convey the message that you didn’t care enough about your audience to prepare well.

Time is the best way you can show your audience that you respect them.


By avoiding these common presentation mistakes, you can elevate your speaking skills and deliver a presentation that isn’t just “not bad” or “mediocre” but a truly compelling presentations that engages and inspires your audience.

And for a bonus tip to close out: Practice, practice, practice. It’s the only way that these will become second nature.

If you want to take your presentations to the next level and ensure they resonate with your audience, reach out to our award-winning presentation agency today. Our team of experts can help you craft impactful content and design visually stunning presentations that captivate and inspire.

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