Deadly Sins of Presenting: 3 Things to NEVER Do During Your Next Presentation

3 deadly sins of of presentingWith so much attention given to what you MUST do during presentations, let me give a few pointers about what NOT to do.

1.) Arrive late: this is a cardinal sin for most situations, but it is especially important when you are the presenter.  There is no better way to start off on the wrong foot than being late.

Time is a persons most valuable asset and by showing up late, you are blatantly and selfishly disrespecting their time.

Alway show up at least 30 minutes early so you can check the room out, meet the organizers, greet the audience members and double check your powerpoint..

Which brings me to the next deadly sin.

2.) Use Pure Text Power Points:  In an effort to make sure we “don’t forget something” we tend to cram as much text as we can possibly fit into each powerpoint slide.

This is a huge no-no.

There are a couple of reasons why this is a mistake.

First of all, when there is a ton of text on a slide, the font size tends to very small, making it hard to read.

So… your audience (by human nature) will strain and try to read the slides and STOP listening to you.

The second reason it’s taboo is because its BORING!

The solution: limit each slide to one idea/bullet point.

In addition, add a large picture or graph to illustrate that point.  The picture should take up at least half the slide and is perfectly acceptable if it takes up 100% of the slide.

This will keep the audience focused on you and your message and won’t bore them to death.

“Pictures are worth a 1,000 words” anyway.  Right?

Last but not least the third cardinal presentation sin is:

3.) Forgetting to turn off ALL cell phones: By far, this is one of the biggest mistakes a  speaker can make.

When I say all cell phones, not only am I referring to the audience members’, but I’m also referring to yours.

In the speaking world everything should be orchestrated the opening, preframes, body, preclose, close, all stories, and all the emotions that you want the audience to experience at any given moment.

And that can’t happen if someone’s cell phone is going off every ten minutes (because it will happen if you don’t ask people to turn off their phones or at least put on vibrate) causing  a distraction.

The best thing to do is at the beginning of your presentation, you simply ask the audience to turn their cell phones off or very least put in the ‘vibrate’ mode.

If you make a habit of doing this, it will be an automatic reminder for you to turn your phone off and it will create social pressure for your audience to stay off theirs as well.

So there you have, the 3 things you should NOT do during your next presentation.

Use these 3 presentation tips to maximize your next presentation so that you don’t start off on the wrong foot, you keep the audience engaged and you limit any distractions from your message.


  1. Rob Carlson on October 19, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    Great post guys. All good points made simply.

    • Jeff Sterling Paro on October 19, 2011 at 7:49 pm

      Thanks Rob! Some times there is no magic pill, just have to do the basics!

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