10 Common Rookie Presentation Mistakes

Don’t stand out as a rookie.

Being a rookie, does not mean you cannot be a star at presentations.

There are a lot of great blogs and other web resources with tips about how to give a great presentation, but a blog by Terry Gault, Managing Partner and Vice President of The Henderson Group, stands out as it provides insight into how to become a better presenter by avoiding a few common rookie mistakes.

Mr. Gault provides an interesting perspective for presenters to consider. They apply to most any type of presentation, especially teen science cafés.

Below are some excerpts, a type of cheat sheet, laying out his tips. A link to the original blog is posted at the end of this blog.


ROOKIE MISTAKE #1. Using Small Scale Movements and Gestures. “Most rookie presenters are afraid to take up too much space….”

ROOKIE MISTAKE #2. Speaking With Low Energy. “… Crank up the energy level! You will command more attention and project more confidence and charisma.”

ROOKIE MISTAKE #3. Not Preparing Enough. “… Experienced speakers do plenty of research so that they feel confident in their material and their ability to respond to any question the audience might throw at them.”

ROOKIE MISTAKE #4. Not Practicing Enough. “… Experienced speakers will often do a dry run of their material with a trusted audience of friends, family, or colleagues.”

ROOKIE MISTAKE #5. Data Centric Presentations. “If your talk is focused on data rather than the vivid human story the data tells, you are in trouble.”

ROOKIE MISTAKE #6. Playing It Safe. “… When your presentation content is too safe, it usually comes across as boring.”

ROOKIE MISTAKE #7. Avoiding Vulnerability. “… you must find ways to show vulnerability if you want to be seen as credible. …. Tell stories about times when you made dumb mistakes and then reveal what you learned.”

ROOKIE MISTAKE #8. Taking One’s Self Way Too Seriously. “… If [presenters] could bring more of their natural, informal style into their presentations, they would be more authentic and engaging….”

ROOKIE MISTAKE #9. Presenting Too Much Material. “Rookie presenters feel compelled to get through all their material even if it means going past their allotted time.”

ROOKIE MISTAKE #10. Rushing. “… Phrases will lose impact because you are rushing. Slowing down will make you seem far more poised and confident and experienced.” Say less and have more impact!


Read the entire blog by Terry Gault.

Below are some other resources on the same subject…

The Science Presenter: Thinking about science presenting

The Story Collider

Engage Through Storytelling


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