3 presentation pitfalls—and how to avoid them

Boring the audience with numbers is a common mistake. You can discover how to astonish with stats and avoid other missteps for more dynamic PR presentations.

Powerful presentations inspire, inform and entertain. Yet when was the last time you saw one that achieved this elusive trifecta?

Many presentations fall short because of easily remedied mistakes. Here are three common blunders, along with tips for ensuring your next speech, presentation or pitch wows your audience:

1. Numbing with numbers. Most PR presentations include numbers. Yet data and stats can overwhelm or bore audiences. The solution is to dramatize numbers, says Ian Griffin, founder of Executive Communications.

“Don’t just say, ‘There are 100 million people smoking cigarettes,'” he explains. “Say instead, ‘In the time of this presentation, 15,000 people will die of cancer.’ Make the number or statistic relatable to the moment.”

Large numbers can also be depicted visually for their scale to be understood.

For example, the Cisco sales team met a $6 billion revenue target when Griffin worked there. Instead of stating the number verbally during the annual sales team confab, the team leader held up what looked like a $10,000 wad of bills. He said a pallet of the shrink-wrapped bills represented $100 million and that 60 pallets totaled $1 billion.

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