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  • Writer's pictureChristine Myers Certified VA

Common Engagement Mistakes Guaranteed to Kill Your Presentation

In any presentation, engagement is key to its success. You need to ensure your whole audience is consistently engaged and interested in what you’re saying.

woman standing next to a chart in front of people

While there are some great ways to boost engagement, there’s also quite a few mistakes you can make too. Not all engagement is good engagement, and some methods are going to decrease it, rather than improve it.

To ensure you deliver the most effective, fun presentation, below you’ll discover some common engagement mistakes you’ll absolutely want to avoid.

Providing too much information

When you’re passionate about the topic you’re presenting, you’ll never run out of things to talk about in your speech. However, that burning passion you have can also cause you to overload your audience with too much information.

While you might want to teach them everything you know about the topic, it’s important not to try and teach them too much. If you bombard them with information, they’re going to not only struggle to keep up, but they’ll also forget everything pretty quickly.

So, make sure you only talk about the most important things your audience needs to know. Break it down as much as you can, mentioning only the key points that benefit your audience

Reading from a script

While it’s a good idea to take your script with you on stage, it’s really important not to continuously read from it. You should only use it as a prompt if you forget where you’re going with the speech.

The trouble is, when you’re constantly looking down and reading from a script, it causes two issues, the first one being that you’re not engaging with the audience. You’re looking down, rather than at the attendees and this is a sure-fire way to lose engagement. Secondly, your tone of voice isn’t going to be engaging.

When you know the script, you can be much more confident. You’ll be able to capture the audience’s attention much easier than if you were focusing on what you’re reading.

Ideally, you’ll want to learn as much of the script as possible before you take the stage.

Failing to structure the presentation

A good, memorable presentation follows a good structure. It needs to be structured just right in order to see results.

If you don’t focus on how the speech is structured, it could end up coming across as scattered all over the place. This is going to kill engagement and leave your audience more confused than before.

Always spend time preparing the presentation, making sure it follows the right structure. How can you deliver all of the information and ensure it flows perfectly? Creating an outline is a good first step. When you figure this out, you’ll be ready to give a powerful, memorable and engaging presentation.

Not rehearsing your speech

In addition, the advice given about not reading from a script rehearsing your speech is crucial. This allows you to familiarize yourself with how it’s structured, how it flows and most importantly, what you’re going to be talking about.

It also gives you the opportunity to experiment with different presentation methods. Changing your tone of voice, understanding where to inject humor and experimenting with how you say things will help you to perfect your speech. You should do this in front of family or friends and ask for feedback as well.

If you don’t rehearse it, you’re not going to deliver the presentation effectively and this is going to have a major impact on engagement.

Failing to provide a clear call to action

Finally, a big mistake you can make is failing to provide a clear call to action. You could have given the best presentation you’ve ever given, but if you haven’t told the audience what to do next, you’ve failed.

So, be sure to let them know what the next steps are. Is it to sign up to a particular cause? Or maybe they should be picking up a leaflet on the way out? Whatever it is they need to do, let them know! You should only have one, so think carefully beforehand about what you want it to be.

There are so many mistakes you can make which can kill engagement in your presentation. The ones listed above are just some of the most common mistakes you can make. Be sure to follow the advice provided to avoid them and ensure your speech is memorable for all of the right reasons.


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