Why do we meekly accept poor presentations? We get what we reward & until we vote with our feet and our feedback we will continue to get boring & incompetent presentations

download (1)I attended a conference summit last week and as is the way of these things was treated to a range of different presentations from the dull and predictable to the inspiring and informational. From the ‘scripted and read’ to the flowing and enthusiastic. There were lively and competent panels ably compered…there were Death by PowerPoint speeches and lengthy drones…

On the train home I reflected on that ones I had enjoyed and valued. I had learned lots – about entrepreneurship, about Liverpool (this was part of the Liverpool International Festival of Business) about young people in enterprise, about innovation and about business models. It felt good to have learned something and to be exposed to different perspectives. And it was lovely to experience good speakers who could explain their content clearly.

So what about the less than inspiring presentations? Well. There were a few grumbles, as there always are, about poor presentations, about people who read and stumbled and should have known better. There were people who said their last forty minutes had been wasted and could never be reclaimed and people who came up to me and said certain speakers needed ‘something’!!

Why do we accept this low level of presentation? Why do we subject ourselves to the unclear, the boring, the un-engaging torture of what are classed as presentations? The more we accept this as ‘normal’, the more we give bland and feeble feedback to these presenters (you were great…brilliant, fine), then the more we will have to endure in the future. And we continue the vicious circle of replicating poor presentations because that is all we see around us. We get what we reward.  And until we vote with our feet and our feedback we will continue to get these dreadful experiences.

This is what we need to do:

  1. vote with our feet…
  2. be prepared to give honest feedback ( thoughtfully, constructively and direct)
  3. organisers need to offer support to their presenters
  4. when we speak we need to step up to the plate and up our game…

After all, the opportunity to speak up is the opportunity to get our message out there with impact and with influence…

In what ways do you think we can raise the level of presentation skills in business and in conferences? What were the best ones you have seen? The worst?

Contact Catherine to discuss your presentation needs or if you organise conferences. And make sure that you sign up for Speech Bubbles – weekly email inspiration and tips for your speaking skills!

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