As you climb the career ladder it becomes more likely that you will be asked to give a presentation, whether to colleagues or clients.

Presenting is a brilliant opportunity to raise your personal profile and impress a lot of people.  How well it goes could either launch or sabotage your career.    Avoiding the pitfalls below and working on your speaking skills will enhance your credibility and improve your chances of career success.

Here’s what to avoid to make sure your first presentation isn’t your last!

Assuming just because you have a lot of knowledge about a subject that automatically means you are capable of communicating that to others.  (Does knowing the words to a song make you a great singer?)

Thinking that the more information you give an audience, the more they will retain.

Talking in terms of your needs and interest rather than the audience’s.

Believing that ‘stories are for children’ and overlooking one of the most engaging communication techniques.

Assuming that people enjoy seeing and reading complex and detailed Power Point slides.

Failing to recognise that the way you say something is equally, if not more important as what you say.

Lacking focus or a clear purpose to your presentation to your presentation and seeing it more as an opportunity to tell your audience absolutely everything you know about the subject.

Believing that speaking ‘off the cuff’ is an adequate substitute for planning and preparation.

Being so full of your own self-importance, or being so unprepared, that you fail to appreciate the need to stick to time.

Failing to seek honest feedback from others on how you can improve your presentation for next time.

Paul McGee

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