If I’m coming to your presentation, I’m really hoping you’re going to be a rock star. I want to be different when I leave—to feel like I’ve experienced something valuable that has changed me for the better, even in a very small way.

So, please, please, please—don’t do any of these common presenter missteps.

Don't Undersell What I’m About to Experience
Don’t start by explaining why most days this would be better because  you’re fighting off a cold at the moment, or that your flight got delayed, or that the hotel bed was lumpy and you didn’t sleep well. I’m not going to think more of you, just less of my experience with you.

Don't Skip the Microphone
If you’re presenting to a large audience (I mean more that 20 people), use the microphone that was provided for you. Period. Even if no one raised their hand when you asked, “Can everybody hear me?” Even if you think you’re really good at projecting. You’ll still have more impact with the microphone than without. (Besides, the people that couldn’t hear you when you asked if they couldn’t hear you—they couldn’t hear you ask.)

Don't Change Your Promise
If the people you are presenting to received a description of what you are about to say before they arrived, read it yourself before you begin. Stick to it. If you must deviate (and sometimes you should), start by explaining why you’re going to talk about something else instead—and realize that some people in the room might not be as interested in that, even if you are.

Don't Sit Down
Unless standing during your presentation would be really inappropriate, do so. Standing is almost always better. People can see you better. People can hear you better. You’re more likely to use your whole body to get your message across. You just look like more of a leader.

Presenting is performing. You shouldn’t put on an act, but you should make sure you’re creating impact.



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Andy Zimney is a Senior Advisor and Team Performance Coach at Employee Strategies, Inc., a boutique firm that partners with leaders to develop highly effective cultures that drive outstanding results. Contact ESInc to learn more about how they can assess your current culture and design customized and effective development experiences for your team. Or reach out to Andy directly.