This blog is a note to myself on how to avoid possibly the worst 5 mistakes on a business presentation. This is inspired by a real event that happened earlier today on how poor preparation ruins a business presentation.
Our team was on a meeting with a service provider whose representative was visiting us on-site. The contract had recently renewed, so the service providers wanted to express their gratitude in-person by making their next presentation in our office instead of the usual virtual meeting. Bless her heart, that she was flying from city A to city B in a cold, snowy day in February. We have global team on our side, which means the virtual meeting environment a must. Unfortunately, it was one of those days when things were not going on her favor. Several problems occurred, and here are my observations on the worst possible mistakes one can make on a business presentation.
Here are the 5 Worst Mistakes:
- Arriving Late
When you’re traveling (as in flying from city A to city B), it’s imperative to have some padding on time for flight delays, traffic jams, your visitor pass not ready at security etc. No silly reasons as such should prevent you from arriving on time to make your business presentation. Always arrive early.
- No Fallback for Internet Connection Issues
In a new office environment, your Mac or PC may or may not easily connect to the Internet. Be prepared for that. What if you could not get into Guest wireless? Do you have a spare Ethernet cable? Or even better should you consider having your own internet data package or just create a hotspot from your smart phone. There are many options including asking the host about internet access beforehand.
- No Offine Back-up of the Presentation Deck
You cannot get online? Then what? Do you have your deck in a flash drive so you can hand it over to someone in the office? No USB drives? Is your presentation deck somewhere in the cloud so you can use any other machine to retrieve and share. How about old fashioned print outs?
- No Communication with your own colleague
Does your coworker know about your important presentation? Does he/she have a copy of your deck so in such an emergency scenario, he/she could forward it to whoever in a seconds notice.
- Rush though the remaining time of scheduled meeting
Now that you have wasted most of the scheduled time on finding and and sharing your deck, next you rush and try to cover the full presentation. At this time, probably it’s prudent to acknowledge the poor preparation and schedule a follow-up while touching up on the major key factors. Rushing through the deck only adds to the negative impression on you as well as your the company. Use your physical presence to build the relationship. Isn’t that’s why you were there in the first place?
Solutions (whatever makes sense – pick just one or all of them)
- Allow sufficient travel time and preparation time on site.
- Email the presentation deck to client(s) beforehand, if that make sense in your case.
- At least share the presentation deck with your colleague at your own office for backup purposes.
- Have your own reliable Internet Access on such important business presentations.
- At least add 0.2lbs of weight in your luggage with a a 6′ network Ethernet cable!
- Flash Drive – Get one and use it, now they cost close to nothing. Flash drive saves presentations!!
- Worst case scenario – stop by the Starbucks not just coffee but for their Internet access.
So while waiting for the presentation to get started, I had more than enough time to make a mental note of what are the things that could go wrong in a business presentation. You may not have to carry an spare bulb for the projector however if you have deck in a USB drive, that would have saved one of these days.
Have you experienced any other such scenario that I’ve not included above? Would love to hear and learn from your experience.