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The 7 deadly sins of presenting

In our latest HelpMePresent blog, we take a look at the 7 common errors people make when presenting.

Falling victim to any or all of these errors is a sure-fire way to undermine the quality of your presentation. The first step is to be aware of the most common mistakes before being able to take proactive techniques to eliminate them.

Which ones are you most guilty of?

  1. Talking too fast – speaking at a pace that goes above ~160 words per minute. Often happens when nervous, or when feeling stretched for time if you have too much content.

  2. Lack of structure – not setting your purpose up front, failing to use signposting, missing a clear narrative within your content.

  3. Fillers – errs, umms, mms, likes. These are natural speech mechanisms we use to fill silence, but using too many will detract from what you are saying, creating more noise and less impact.

  4. Using jargon for the sake of it – using convoluted or overly technical terms without the need to do so. (Note - unlike writing, speech affords no time to “re-read” something, so using simple language is key).

  5. Poor body language – hunching, failing to use the space, avoiding eye contact, general lack of confidence visually.

  6. Monotony – using the same tone throughout your presentation, typically involving a lack of enthusiasm, energy or musicality to the voice.

  7. Poor projection – speaking too quietly and / or in a muffled manner that makes it hard for your audience to fully hear you are saying.

If you’ve identified one or more of the above in your presenting, the good news is that you are not alone. Most people struggle with these pitfalls when presenting, but through practice and applied techniques, you can develop to eliminate them.

Unsure where to start? Try recording yourself reading out a short passage. Listen back to identify which of the 7 deadly sins you are using most.

Alternatively, book a session with an experienced HelpMePresent coach who will be able to identify them for you, before working together to help you tackle them head on.


HelpMePresent is the tutoring of presenting. We offer flexible, accessible sessions that can be easily booked, including packages specifically for women, business presentations and workshops for employees. Click to book now.

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