Avoid these Presentation Mistakes

Avoid These 5 Common Presentation Mistakes

Ben Sales

Presenting Too Much Information

Including too many concepts, details, explanations, and examples is confusing… and causes stress. Your prospect needs to be able to focus on one meaningful concept, relevant to his or her situation, at a time. You can back up or illustrate the concept with a few facts or examples, but don’t go overboard. If you have more than one concept to present, make sure the prospect is 100% comfortable with the first before moving on to the next.

Presenting Too Little or Vague Information

Presenting a big picture view with few or vague supporting facts is as detrimental as presenting too much information. There must be enough information for the prospect to “connect the dots” and make sense of what you are presenting. And, there must be sufficient dots to connect, and the connections must be clear. Otherwise, the prospect will be confused and he or she will doubt your assertions and abilities. Establishing trust will be difficult. The prospect will have more reasons to “flee” than to remain mentally present.

Not Framing in the Proper Context

A presentation with too much, too little, or even just the right amount of information is confusing and ineffective if it’s not framed in a context relevant, specific, and meaningful to the prospect’s situation—goals, challenges, needs, etc. Prospects view presentations from a “What’s in it for me?” perspective. If you don’t answer that question specifically and quickly, they become anxious…a nd eager to “check out.”

Pushing Too Hard

Pushing too hard, regardless if it’s the result of enthusiasm or last-ditch desperation to make a sale, is interpreted by the prospect as DANGER. Both the primitive brain and the intellectual brain wonder, “If this is good for me, why is he pushing so hard?” And both come to the same conclusion—it must not be so good.

Not Getting to the Point Quickly

Presentations that drag on or wander seemingly without direction, even if they contain relevant information, framed in the proper context, create tension for the primitive brain. The easiest way for your prospect to relieve that tension is to eliminate its source — YOU. Limit your presentation to no longer than 20 minutes. This should give you ample time to cover your most salient information without losing your prospect’s attention.


Finding that “sweet spot” between providing detail without creating information overload takes planning and practice. Keep it simple and to the point. Consider what outcome you want from this meeting as well as what you need your prospect to know to achieve that goal — and stick to it. Breathe deep and talk slow. Being calm and relaxed will create the confidence that you can deliver what the prospect needs. Focus on the solution you are offering and then wrap it up.

“Presentation Authors [5/365]” by Alvin Trusty, used under CC BY 2.0/overlay,text