10 Presentation Mistakes You Need to Avoid

I bet you’ve seen a TED Talk.  And I bet that you’ve noticed that TED presenters do a  great job.  Several of my career mentoring clients have told me that they wish they were as good a presenter as those who do TED Talks.

The other day I came across some advice on presentations form Chris Anderson, the Curator of TED.  Here are the 10 mistakes Chris says you should avoid if you want to deliver a dynamite presentation.

  1. Taking a really long time to explain what your talk is about.
  2. Speaking slowly and dramatically.
  3. Making sure you let the audience know how important you are.
  4. Referring to your book repeatedly, and worse yet, quoting yourself.
  5. Cramming your slides with a lot of text bullet points and multiple fonts.
  6. Using unexplained technical jargon to make yourself sound smart.
  7. Speaking at great length about your organization’s history and it’s achievements.
  8. Not bothering to rehearse your talk.
  9. Sounding as if you are reciting your talk from memory.
  10. Making no eye contact with your audience.

Obviously, some of these ten mistakes don’t apply if you’re not doing a TED Talk.  But some of them — like numbers 1, 2, 5, 8, 9 and 10 — are key mistakes to avoid no matter what type of talk you are doing.

Let’s focus on numbers 8 and 9.  Over 40 years ago, one of my early mentors gave me some advice that has stuck with me till today.  “Preparation makes up for a lack of talent.”  This is especially true when you are delivering a talk.  You have to prepare.  You have to rehearse (number 8).  This means saying your talk out loud while using your slides.  The more times you do this, the more likely you are to deliver a great talk.

Many of my coaching clients tell me that they don’t need to rehearse.  They know what they’re going to say.  I say that’s a recipe for disaster.  The more you practice your talk out loud, the better you will perform when the time comes to deliver it.

On the other hand, while preparation is important, you don’t want to write out your talk and memorize it (number 9) .  If you do this, you’ll come across just as poorly as if you hadn’t prepared well.

Giving a great talk isn’t easy. You have to present your ideas in an informative and engaging manner.  This means that you have to prepare.  Take the time to prepare before all of your talks.  You’ll brand yourself as an articulate, thoughtful person — and that will help you create the life and career success you want and deserve.

Your career mentor,


PS: I write this blog to help people create the life and career success they want and deserve.  Now I’m going one step further.  I’ve created a membership site in which I’ve pulled together my best thoughts on success.  And, as a reader of this blog, you can become a member for free.  Just go to  www.BudBilanich.com/join to claim your free membership. You’ll be joining a vibrant and growing community of success minded professionals.  I hope to see you there.

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