Lean manufacturing is a management philosophy which has its roots in the Toyota Production System and focuses on creating customer value while eliminating waste (in Japanese, "muda"). Building on the original 7 wastes that Lean identified, here are the 7 wastes that you should eliminate from your presentations:

1. Overproduction
Value is defined as what the customer is willing to pay for and overproduction occurs when you create more than your customer needs at that time. Applied to presentations, this means that first you must determine what the customer – your audience – needs. Then make sure every example, detail, statistic and story you include helps you meet those needs. Otherwise, you will "overproduce" and overwhelm the audience with too much detail while going over the time limit.

2. Lack of Confidence
Before you can command the attention of your audience, you have to believe that you have a message worth listening to and that you have the ability to communicate it effectively. Your self-confidence will allow you to tap into your background and your knowledge to deliver the best presentation that you can. And if something goes wrong during the presentation, self-confidence will help you think on your feet without self-destructing under the pressure.

3. Lack of Preparation
You cannot deliver value to your audience if you "wing it" and pull together the presentation at the last minute. Instead, take the time to prepare your material and practice it so you can deliver a focused, well-organized presentation within the time limit, answer questions with confidence and comfortably handle the room environment and logistics.

4. Filler Words
Filler words include "um," "ah," and words such as "like," "so," and "ok," which you use to fill in space while you remember or think of something to say next. Overusing them can make you sound uncertain and unprepared. Instead of using filler words, pause and take a breath – and then move on to your next words.

5. Mismatched Body Language
Body language, or non-verbal communication, includes elements such as facial expression, voice, eye contact, gestures, posture and movement. Your body language has to match the message you are conveying or it will confuse the audience and distract from your message. And making eye contact, smiling and varying your voice and body language will make it easier for you to engage the audience and keep their attention.

6. Crowded Slides
First of all, think about whether or not you really need to use slides. Remember, you are the presentation and the slides are only there to assist you, not the other way around. If you do decide to use slides, make sure they are relevant, easy to read (even from the back of the room) and focused on your message. Cut out the endless bullet-pointed sentences and the columns of data in 6-point font.

7. Sloppy Q&A
Answering questions can be an integral part of your presentation. Set expectations at the start of your presentation by letting the audience know if, how and when you will handle questions. Be prepared for questions and be mindful of your body language while responding so you convey respect, confidence and energy. If you don’t know an answer, don’t bluff; admit that you don’t know. And keep control of the time by agreeing to handle off-topic or in-depth questions later.

Eliminating these 7 wastes will allow you to create, practice and deliver a presentation that clearly conveys your message and delivers value to your audience.

Author's Bio: 

Gilda Bonanno is a speaker, trainer and coach who helps people from all walks of life improve their communication and presentation skills. Receive a FREE Special Report, "Six Mistakes to Avoid in Public Speaking, So Your Presentation Sparkles" by visiting http://www.gildabonanno.com/Pages/newsletter.aspx and entering your email address. You'll also be subscribed to Gilda's free twice-monthly e-newsletter containing practical tips you can use immediately to improve your communication and presentation skills. Copyright (c) 2014