The 3 Biggest Mistakes even Skilled Presenters Make that Flop their Presentations

How easy is it to bake a mouth-watering, fluffy and delectable cake?

Are you the kind of person that likes to read the instructions carefully first or are you more inclined to ‘try to figure it all on your own’ and refer to the instructions in case of emergency?

Now I’m no Masterchef but wouldn’t you agree that when it comes to baking, it is one dangerous endeavor to do first and read the instructions later – a sure recipe for disaster!

All it takes is one missing ingredient, or a pinch more of another for the cake to go – poof!! And no amount of icing or sugar coating on top is going to transform it into a masterpiece.

And it’s exactly the same when we’re doing presentations. There are 2 elements to both a fantastic cake and presentation: the Icing & the Cake!

So what’s the Icing??

It’s the artful, shining layer of a Presenter also known as:

  • Speaking eloquently and articulately

  • Maximizing body language

  • Effective presentation structure

  • Polished delivery style and

  • Have a designer, concise PPT or Keynote presentation

Of course all of that is important – but lest we forget the cake!!

Without a scrumptious cake, the icing is but a mouthful of sweetness that melts in the heat of the moment and results in sweet disappointment.

What’s THE CAKE?

For a Presenter, our cake is a Personal Presenter Matrix - an instruction manual that details the mind-body-emotional structure of a formidable Presenter.

It consists of our inner world of meanings, understandings and expectations, a sprinkle of beliefs, identity, our sense of our own power and capabilities, a pinch of imagination, memories and what’s super important to us that are accurately measured and mixed together to give rise to our own unique shape as presenters, so we can become the masterpieces, ready for our icing on top.

With that in mind, the 3rd biggest mistake even skilled presenters make that flop their presentations is:

3. Delicious Icing, Unstable Cake

Many presenters have great skills and presenting know-how (their icing), but their inner game (the cake) is filled with limiting beliefs, distorted meanings and the absence of vital internal resources e.g. confidence.

This results in sleepless nights before presentations, not being engaging, uncontrollable fear, shaky voice and hands, going blank or consistently stumbling over your words.

You can have all the skill in the world – without a healthy, solid and robust PPM, any one of these mind-body-emotional elements will unconsciously trip you up whenever you’re going to present and result in presentation flops

The 2nd biggest mistake even skilled presenters make that flop their presentations is:

2. Instruction Manual Aversion Syndrome

Reading instruction manuals first can sometimes seem superfluous – especially when we think we know how to do it already!

I’ll admit, I’ve never been a fan of reading instructions first, but I’ve learnt that it’s possibly the most important element of success - especially when I’m presenting. Nowadays, I won’t do anything without first examining and redesigning my inner instruction manual – my PPM.

According to Neuro Semantics, meaning drives performance.

If we do not bring ourselves to first identify our meanings, beliefs, understandings, values etc. to test their effectiveness and upgrade them where necessary, our performance will not yield us the results we want.

One way to start doing this to spend some time journaling and exploring your inner world of presenting.

Sometimes even just at a level of awareness, we are able to shift things.

Imagine how much quicker you would be able to reach your desired level of success if you had super clear, valuable instructions from the get go?

Finally, the #1 biggest mistake even skilled presenters make that flop their presentations is:

1. They Don’t Have A Professional Coach

Top athletes, musicians, business owners and highly successful individuals have coaches, because it’s the difference that makes the difference.

It is equally important for Presenters to work with a coach that is able to facilitate specific processes that engage your PPM for generative change, eliminate any limiting elements and redesign your PPM with you to give you the kind of extraordinary results you want.

Having a Coach means having a partner to walk with you through it all, be ruthlessly compassionate in their support of you and be your accountability ally to get you to where you want to be.

Professor at Harvard University Amy Cuddy says, ‘Fake it until you become it’. I’d like to change that up a little and say ‘Create it, so you can become it’.

Now, who’s ready to hit the local bakery for a slice of that delicious gourmet cake, smothered in mouth-watering chocolate icing??

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Bonita is a lover of adventurous, authentic living and the power of the human spirit. 


She believes we are all masterful creators of our lives, that we all have the answers within us and that it is possible to live our best lives!


Bonita's blog is a collection of poetry, stories, experiences and personal insights that are born out of her own life journey.


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