The top 25 dumbest and worst things you can do in a presentation

Presentations are the worst thing in the world. Standing up in front of bored looking strangers (or bored looking friends, for that matter) and trying to impress them with how intelligent you are is a terrifying thing to do. Everyone has to do them at university. Take comfort in the fact that all those bored looking faces hate it just as much as you do, and are likely mainly thinking about how badly their own presentations are going to/ did go.

If it'll make you feel better, at least you probably won't make any of these 25 massive errors...

25) Not being confident enough

It sucks that people can mark you down for essentially being shy, but teachers can do this, mistaking basic human shyness for not having confidence in your own material. Fake confidence until you feel confident.

24) Putting in jokes only you get

It's ok to put things in to entertain yourself (it helps keep you motivated when you're creating the presentation), but don't laugh at the in joke. They'll think you've cracked under the pressure.

23) Or opening with a joke about just how much you hate presentations

Everyone hates presentations. It's implied, no need to say it out loud.

22) Picturing everyone naked

No teacher will give full marks to someone who is visibly aroused.

21) Picturing just yourself naked

No teacher will give full marks to someone who is visibly disgusted.

20) Not dressing for it

19) Using too much eye contact

Don't be creepy.

18) Standing weirdly close to the audience

It's tempting to walk out into the audience like it's a pantomime, but it'll mainly make them feel uncomfortable.

17) Using ancient presentation software

If you're using old software you'd may as well carve out your bullet points on a rock. It's distracting and distressing to see someone present in Powerpoint 98. Upgrade (for free) to Tawe for a modern look.

16) Getting distracted half way through your own sentences

You may have just thought of the most brilliant thing you ever could have thought of, but it's too late to include it in the presentation now, it'll just throw off your timings. Try and crowbar it in to the Q&A section if you can.

15) Repeating your points

Try not to repeat yourself, it's incredibly boring and annoying.

14) Repeating your points

Try not to repeat yourself, it's incredibly boring and annoying.

13) Mistaking natural pauses for tense pauses

Being the centre of attention is a horrible thing. It's easy to think that if there's a big awkward pause where you thought they'd laugh and/or gasp in awe that they aren't interested in your presentation. Silences are normal. Don't panic - continue as normal. Above all, never try and kiss a pig to break the tension (we're looking at you, Cameron...).

12) Showing annoyance at yourself when you mess up

No-one will feel awkward if you mess up. They probably won't notice that you didn't include some brilliant points you were going to make. Showing annoyance at yourself (or saying "shark farts" out loud) will probably make them feel more awkward.

11) Treating the whole thing as an "f you" to the lecturer

You may not like the presentation you've been set. Try not to show your disdain for the topic throughout your presentation. And strictly no sinking into a sandpit whilst flipping the middle fingers.

10) Using power point, or power points

It's overpriced, and not the best one available. Also, keep the pointing to a minimum. No-one likes having a finger jabbed at their face.

9) Getting your timing all wrong

Your presentation might be great, but that's useless if you have to jettison half of it because you got your timings all wrong. Equally, it's just as bad to realise you're incredibly short and have to spend the rest of your time doing an entertaining dance. Time yourself beforehand and make sure you use your allotted time wisely.

8) Not being visual enough

Presentations are expected to be visual affairs. This doesn't mean writing lots of text and then adding a swipe effect. You need to keep your audience interested, and this can easily be done with striking imagery, and short concise text.

Get software that can turn any image into a visually interesting presentation to make things easy on yourself.

7) Using ambiguous wording

Present as if you're presenting to the stupidest person in the room (you are) and make sure they aren't thrown off by ambiguous or overly flowery language.

6) Stealing from famous speeches

It's fine if you credit Martin Luther King, but otherwise this is a big no-no... though admittedly not the most common of mistakes.

5) Leaving way too many pauses for applause

It's tempting to leave huge pauses for applause (or, more realistically, for questions at the end) but make sure you don't leave too long for either of these things. Use the time as best you can.

4) Not paying attention to the spellcheck

They do this for you.

3) Showing annoyance when someone asks a dumb question

Keep calm. Try to say something quick and concise, and move on to a more intelligent question, or answer it like they asked a better question in the first place and link it to something you want to talk about.

2) Or freezing up entirely when they ask an intelligent one...

Don't panic. Worst case scenario pretend you didn't hear them and ask them to repeat it. Hopefully they'll take the hint and rephrase it for you - if not, you can ask them to rephrase it - you won't be judged too harshly for this.

1) Going over every single mistake in your head afterwards

It's too late, it's done. Stop punishing yourself and make sure the next one is better.

Getting a presentation right is easy when you have the right software. Tawe is effortless. It transforms a humble image into a dazzling presentation or video. Perfect for explaining diagrams, sketches and doodled notes. Download it for free here and win 1 of 5 x £50 notes in our exclusive competition.

This article was sponsered by Tawe.