What Not to Do

Dying to flub your next presentation? Have we got a how-to guide for you, courtesy of Tom Leech, author of How to Prepare, Stage, and Deliver Winning Presentations (American Management Association, $25). Just follow these five steps and you’ll lose the deal (and maybe your job) with style. 

1-Be Unprepared

Wait until the last minute to write your presentation. Ditto on preparing visuals. Do not, under any circumstances, rehearse repeatedly.

2-Ignore the Audience

Forget what your listeners want and prattle on about your own interests. Have 10 minutes to pitch a venture capitalist? Use nine to blab about your product; don’t even use the words return on investment.

3-Present Visual Ailments

PowerPoint is a great tool for fomenting confusion. Just cram as many words as possible into each frame — preferably in a font hardly distinguishable from the background. Ideally, slides reproduce your remarks exactly. Extra credit: Turn your back on the audience to read them.

4-Invite Murphy

Never arrive early to check your tech equipment for compatibility.­ Fumble with connections until your audience is bored, and then wing it.

5-Let Data Speak

Don’t worry about delivery. Simply speak in a monotone and stand as still as Pinocchio before the Blue Fairy got to him. And please don’t try to connect with one listener at a time! That could undo all your careless planning.