Info, Blogs, Contact & Login

The Most Common Presentation Mistakes That You Need to Avoid Making

From the ZandaX Presentation Skills Blog

Articles to make you more effective in your presentations

Home  >  Blogs Home  >  Business Blog  >  Presentation Skills Articles  > 
The Most Common Presentation Mistakes That You Need to Avoid Making

The Most Common Presentation Mistakes That You Need to Avoid Making

A post from our Presentation Skills blog

      Written by Jordan James
Presentations are a very important part of our professional life. Whether you're an entrepreneur making a sales pitch to an investor, an executive trying to market a product, or even a new professional trying to land a job, you will have to walk this road at one point or another.

The good news is that it's not a difficult task if you know what you're doing and are well prepared. To help you get the most out of your work and impress your audience, here are some of the most common presentation mistakes you should avoid:

Presentation mistakes

Lack of Preparation

When you're making a presentation, you need to place your best foot forward. This means that you need to be familiar with the content of your speech, the topic and your slides, and prepare for any questions your audience might ask you as well.

In order to get the most out of your presentation, you need to rehearse as often as you can. If you can, try to practise with a friend or a family member, and ask them for their opinion.

Sometimes what you've written makes sense to you but it may not be very clear to your audience, so practising in front of someone else and making sure they understand your material will help you make sure your presentation is polished and informative, and that your point is getting across to your audience as you intended it.

Too Much Text

As a general rule, the slides or visuals in good presentations should always be clear and readable.

In fact, your audience should be able to get the gist of your presentation just by skimming the content of your slides. This means that you should always use a clear, bold font, present your points in bullet points, and keep the information concise.

If you pack your slides with too much text, people will have difficulties understanding the content, which would only frustrate them. Or, and this is potentially worse, they switch off during the presentation knowing that everything will be in the handouts/slides that they get afterwards.

On the other hand, you should also try to avoid spreading out your content too much and having too many slides.

Always aim to keep your presentation short and to-the-point without overwhelming your audience.

Engaging presentation

Not Actually Presenting

One of the most common mistakes people make when giving a presentation is not actually presenting - that is, reading their slides out loud.

Not only is it pointless because your audience can read the content themselves, but your aim is to elaborate on those points. The slides are just a visual medium to convey your points in a clear, concise manner. They're also an accompaniment to your speech.

Reading your slides, word for word, will make your presentation dull and ineffective, and show your audience that you haven't worked hard enough on it - which is definitely something you want to avoid.

As a rule, ask yourself if you should even be looking at the slides. You may want to check on them now and again to ensure that the correct slide is showing, or to highlight a point on one, but your focus must be on your audience, not on your own content.

Not Knowing the Venue

You might be familiar with the concept of a dress rehearsal, where actors perform the entire play on stage before they're set to go live.

This ensures their equipment and outfits are all in order and work well before they're in front of a live audience.

You need to be similarly prepared when you're about to give a presentation. The last thing you want is to find out that your laptop doesn't work with the projector, or the presentation venue doesn't have sufficient space to seat the audience.

In order to avoid this, make sure to visit the venue and check the equipment in advance - it will help you address any problems before you're set to present your piece.

If it is not possible to see the venue beforehand, check with a contact at the venue or the person that has invited you, about certain details. They may be able to send you details in regards to all sorts of useful information, such as the layout of the venue, where speakers and screens are situated, what PA system is used (or even if an audio system is used or not, you may simply be having to speak loudly!), what they provide in terms of tables, drinks etc that you as the presenter can use.

Another key aspect about a venue is how close the point at which you can drop off your materials is to the area where you are presenting. The last thing that you want is to arrive appearing untidy and sweating profusely because you have just had to carry all your materials some significant distance. Knowing if there is a good distance may mean that you arrange a trolley or some other tool. Or arrange help!

Taking Too Long

Nothing ruins a presentation more than somebody who is overstaying their welcome.

One of two things is going to happen, and you want to avoid both.

The first is that you finish up, after taking way too long, and leave a bad taste in the mouth of your audience. Whatever the purpose of your presentation was, its unlikely that you'll now see that realised.

The second is that you get cut short. Now you don't even have the chance to finish, and you may miss the opportunity to give whatever call to action you had in mind for the end.

Wandering off the topic

For people that prefer to ad lib, or have only a vague outline of their topic, there is the risk of wandering off topic.

This is directly linked to the mistake of taking too long. by the time you get back on topic and finish, you have now run past the optimal time threshold.

Or worse, you never really get back on topic and leave out important bits!

Not Handling Questions Well

The age old dilemma: what to do about questions. You need to have a strategy about how you are going to deal with questions. This includes both people interrupting while you're still speaking, and also should you open the floor to questions after the talk.

You need to focus on two things; the first is that you retain control! The second is that you still have to be on track to complete your goal from giving the presentation. Don't let questions run on for some long at the end that your audience starts leaving, and you miss out on everybody hearing your call to action.


The main thing to remember when giving a presentation is to appear confident, even if you don't necessarily feel it. What impression are you trying to give to your audience? What do you want them to take away from your presentation? We're only human and sometimes mistakes do happen, but by following the points above, pointless presentation blunders can be avoided.

Back to the Presentation Skills blog

Click the button for more Presentation Skills articles.

The ZandaX Business Skills blog

Click a panel for great articles on business skills

ZandaX Blog Contents

Want to see them all? Click to view a full list of articles in our blogs.

Online courses to boost your skills
Click a button to see more about each course
Personal Development
Microsoft Software
ZandaX online training course logo
ZandaX – Change Your Life ... Today
All content © ZandaX 2021
Close menu element
See how you score on a range of skills that are critical to your well-being and performance
Communication Skill test
Communication Skills
How Can You Communicate Better?
Would you like to see what kind of communicator you are? And how you can improve the effectiveness of your communications?
Likeability test
How Much Do People Like You?
Do you sometimes wonder just how likeable you are? And wouldn't you like to see how you can (genuinely) become more likeable?

Time Management test
Time Management
How Can You Make More Use Of Your Time?
Are you frustrated by how easily time slips away? Do you get frustrated when things don't get done just because you run out of time?
Assertiveness test
Are you Passive, Aggressive or Assertive?
Would you like to know where you fall on the behavior spectrum? Does your response to events sometimes surprise you?

Close menu element
Information & Resources
ZandaX information
Read more about us, our Privacy Policy and our Terms of Service
See how we want to help you, and how we make everything easy for everyone
Callback request
ZandaX Blogs
Articles to increase your knowledge and understanding in key areas of your life and career.
Read our blogs on Personal Development, Business Skills and Leadership & Management

Time Management test
Log In
Log in to your online dashboard
View your courses, review what you want and download your workbooks and certificates
Assertiveness test
Contact Us
An easy online form to get in touch
With options for More Information, Customer Service and Feedback

Close menu element
Learn About:
Personal Development
Leadership & Management
Microsoft Office
Microsoft Project
Microsoft Visio

[NOTE: Mouse over the titles above,
then to visit the website pages you want,
click on the links in the right hand panel]
Our courses
We have everything covered: learn all applications at all levels!   All courses are CPD certified.
Microsoft Excel courses
Microsoft Excel Introduction
Microsoft Excel Professional
Microsoft Excel Intermediate
Microsoft Excel Advanced
Microsoft Powerpoint courses
Microsoft Powerpoint Introduction
Microsoft Powerpoint Advanced
Microsoft Word courses
Microsoft Word Introduction
Microsoft Word Intermediate
Microsoft Word Advanced
Microsoft Powerpoint courses
Microsoft Access Introduction
Microsoft Access Intermediate
Microsoft Access Advanced
Microsoft Outlook courses
Microsoft Outlook Essentials
Microsoft Project
Enhance your project management with our two intensive but very easy-to-follow CPD certified Microsoft Project courses.
Microsoft Project courses
Microsoft Project Introduction
Get a solid foundation in Project software to create solid, resilient project plans.
You don't need prior experience with Project: just be able to use a PC with Microsoft Windows.
Microsoft Project Advanced
The Advanced course takes you to a level that will put you in complete control of your projects.
You should, of course, be fully conversant with the skills and concepts taught in the Introduction course.
Microsoft Visio
Become a Visio master with our two intensive but very easy-to-follow CPD certified Microsoft Visio courses.
Microsoft Visio courses
Microsoft Visio Introduction
Get a solid base for using Visio to create high quality, impressive diagrams.
You don't need prior experience with Visio: just be able to use a PC with Microsoft Windows.
Microsoft Visio Advanced
This course will enable you to use Visio to design graphics at the highest level.
You should, of course, be fully conversant with the skills and concepts taught in the Introduction course.
Take a look at our new Marketing section which we begin with two great books on Copywriting
... there will be more to follow, so stay tuned!
Copywriting books
Copywriting for Results
A two-book set that will give you all you need to write great copy every time.
Get the first book to learn the process, then the second to see how to apply it to all media types.
  • Copywriting for Results: Your Complete Guide
  • Copywriting for Results: Putting It Into Action
Watch This Space
We have more in the pipeline so be sure to check back soon to see what's new!
More marketing books
Take a look at our new Leadership & Management section which we begin with a superb course on Managing Teams
... there's lots more to follow, so keep in touch!
Team Leadership courses
Team Leadership & Line Management
For practical advice on managing teams for results.
Make your team successful and more positive with tons of real-world techniques that work.
  • Team Management for Line Managers & Supervisors
  • Building High Performing Teams (in production)
Watch Out For More!
We have more courses in the pipeline so check back soon to see what's new!
More team leader courses
Great, easy-to-follow CPD certified courses on skills that will change your life!
Learn How to Stop Wasting Time!
Time Management course
Get more out of every day of your life ...
Boost Your Self Esteem: Be Assertive
Assertiveness course
Learn how to deal with bad behavior
Great Communications = A Happy Life!
Communication Skills course
Supercharge your communications
Improve Your Relationships
Building Relationships course
Learn how to be more likeable!
Get a Plan to Beat Your Stress
Stress Management course
Learn how to reduce & manage your stress
It's the Behavior, Not the Anger!
Anger Management course
Control anger in yourself and other people
Site Cookies
We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better.

You can change your cookie settings in your browser. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

I'm fine with this