Why we keep hearing dreadful presentations…

10530744_564379527017556_2086744617955652645_nWell…my last post seemed to ruffle a few feathers.

I have received so many comments (mainly agreeing) about some dreadful presentations people have had to attend and lots of examples.  There was the OFSTED expert, teaching teachers of all people, who wouldn’t have passed his own professional body’s exacting standards of communication.  There have been the Mumblers, the Arrogant Articulators, the Staring at the Ceiling speakers, the Shouters and the Apologisers.  And even my five year old came out with the story of the visiting police officer who ‘didn’t give eye contact because he was checking his phone Mummy’ ( we might give him lee-way if a crime was being committed at the time!)

We all seem to be able to come up with stories and examples of poor presentations and the term Death by Powerpoint has gained much currency and lots of raised eyebrows.  So why ,why do we still perpetuate this dire state of affairs?

Here are my thoughts: There are so few well structured, carefully sequenced and clearly communicated presentations, that it is hard to find role models.  We know how not to do a presentation but in the absence of any thing else we carry on replicating the same old (ineffective) model.

It takes effort and time to craft a good presentation that comes across as natural, confident and flowing. Few people spend that time or if they do, they don’t use that time in the most effective way.  They often design slides, research information and write notes rather than consider the message, the flow and the outcomes.

People associate business presentations with information-led, PowerPoint illustrated and dry content.  Surely to do anything else ( tell stories, use verbal colour, add movement and build in audience participation) is simply not professional?

So what is to do?

As audiences we need to give direct feedback – constructive and positive and focussed on what we want to hear and see more of

As Speakers we need to spend time in learning the skills.  Spend effort in getting the feedback so get better each time.  Use our preparation time more effectively.

To finish with this week, a story.  A private client of mine delivered her first presentation last week to 90 people.  She nailed it!  And the feedback she got included , ‘What a natural…she must be used to speaking in public…it just flowed…didn’t even use a notes…wish I could speak like her…’ When we invest in our skills and spend time in getting it right, it looks , sounds and feel effortless and elegant and it hits the spot.  Perfect communication

Keep the stories coming in…

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