Top Presentation Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

5 Minutes

Being able to deliver a strong presentation is pivotal when working in sales. Whether you’re...

By Pareto Team


Being able to deliver a strong presentation is pivotal when working in sales. Whether you’re pitching as part of a larger team or giving a product demo on your own, feeling confident in your presenting skills is crucial when it comes to closing a deal. There are a number of steps you can take to improve your presenting skills, from sales training to shadowing a more experienced presenter to get a better understanding of how they turn presenting into a success story.


When it comes to presenting, no two sales people will be the same. What works for one person might not work for others. However, there are some common mistakes that it’s important to avoid so you don’t lower chances of making a sale. We’ve compiled six of the most common presentation mistakes it’s easy to make. Discover how to avoid these pitfalls with Pareto.


1. Offering too much information

Giving your audience an information overload is the first major mistake to avoid. Having a raft of PowerPoint slides crammed full of text, charts and images can be visually off-putting and distract from the key points of your presentation.

Additionally, going into too much detail about the product or service you’re selling at an early stage of the process (including using industry jargon) can lead to your audience losing interest, especially if they’re not experts in the field.  


How to avoid:

  • Keep it brief Include the main points on your slides only
  • Use words the audience will understand avoid confusing acronyms and terms people might not understand
  • Focus on facts – provide essential details needed to understand the topic
  • Provide analysis – rather than reciting information, add extra details and offer commentary on your key points to avoid repeating yourself. 
  • Practice before – when practicing your presentation, it will soon become clear if you’re trying to deliver too much information at once.


2. Using tired visuals

Using visuals is vital to make your presentation more engaging, but they can be distracting and tiresome when used ineffectively. Clichéd stock images used time and again take away from the importance of your presentation. Sometimes they even end up having the opposite effect to what you planned.


How to avoid:

  • Brainstorm fresh images
  • Use bright colour schemes
  • Don’t overload your slides with too many pictures


3. Lacking direction

The aim of your presentation needs to be at the forefront of your mind to avoid its message getting lost and to give you a strong narrative. Whether the goal is to sell or inform, having a very clear idea of exactly what you’re aiming to achieve ensures you stay on track and your audience remains engaged. One way to guarantee this is by including a clear call to action at the end of your presentation.


How to avoid:

  • Identify the next steps – this could be contacting someone, buying a product, signing up for a service or visiting a website. Make sure your audience knows how to take the appropriate next steps by including links or handing out business cards.


4. experiencing technical issues

A video clip that won’t play or a link that doesn’t open isn’t always your fault, but it can give off a poor first impression. While you’re trying to find a new link or view the video on another browser, it’s precious time during which your audience’s attention and interest levels are falling fast.


How to avoid:

  • Arrive early to the venue to test out the technical equipment
  • Prepare a backup in case of an emergency
  • Rehearse your presentation several times beforehand
  • Keep it simple – with less reliance on technology, delivering your presentation will be easier


5. Avoiding questions

Opening up the floor to questions at the end of your presentation is vital to make sure your audience fully understands what you’re selling. It also allows you to clear up any areas of confusion.

This is often the hardest part of the presentation to plan for, and it can be the downfall if you’re unprepared. It’s important to take on questions to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise.


How to avoid:

  • Think about questions to expect and prepare your answers
  • Stay in control – don’t let questions and answers overrun so people start leaving
  • Keep on track and end with a clear CTA


6. Relying on technology

When it comes to giving a presentation, the majority of people will rely on PowerPoint, or similar tools, to bring what they’re saying to life. It’s important not to rely too heavily on technology, however. If you don’t have the capabilities to fall back on your knowledge and the key point you are trying to make, it’s easy to forget parts of your presentation, lose your place or just fail to grab the attention of the audience.


Preparing in advance can be the key tool to success in this regard, making sure you’re not reliant on visuals to prompt yourself and keep the audience tuned in.


How to avoid:

  • Learn your presentation end to end so you know exactly what you’re saying and when
  • Encourage audience interaction – asking and inviting questions – to keep everyone engaged even without visual aids
  • Go old school – a flip chart can be just as useful as a carefully designed slide. Bring your data to life with a quick sketch to show the audience what they need to know without the need for technology.


Presentation skills for sales roles are important and can take some practice to perfect. A good way to get more experience and learn how to deliver an engaging performance for you or your team is with sales presentation training. This can help to boost confidence levels and avoid making any of the above mistakes in your next client presentation or pitch.


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