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5 Things I Hate About Presentations

Posted on the 08 July 2011 by Combi31 @combi31

5 Things I Hate About Presentations

I am surely not the only one in the world that gets irritated by some of the things that people do when giving presentations. Some of these things that some, OK, I’ll be honest, a lot, of presenters do,  just totally turn me off and make me count, the seemingly endless, hours until the final death-throws of a bad presentation.

You must know what I am talking about here :

1. The presenter comes into the room, sets up the computer, plugs in the projector, then gets the first PowerPoint up on the screen and …. then says, “I am here to present …”. Like really, that had never occurred to me that you were going to do that, wow, what a surprise. Sounds petty perhaps, but there is a deeper side to this – the presenter has started creating distance between themselves and the audience – it’s like, “I am the presenter (which is strictly true) and you are the audience (also true) … and I am going to speak at you. Come on, how about getting a bit more synergy into things, use some inclusive language, such as, “We’re going to look at ….”, or “We’re here to ….”. Now, with that I feel a bit more implicated from the start, as a member of the audience, so if I am implicated, I might be willing to participate.

2. Making double usage of PowerPoint – In a lot of companies, I work with, the presenter sends the Powerpoint to the members of the audience ahead of the presentation. OK, my question is, “why do people bother turning up then?”, if they already know what the presentation is about. Additionally, what then happens is that the presentation is full of text, formatted like a report, so that the readers know what the presenter is going to talk about. Now that’s fine, but then, the presenter uses exactly the same Powerpoint that he sent to the audience as a presentation. The result is that the presenter then tuns his bak on the audience while he reads, line-by-line, the presentation on the screen, with a voice that is monotone and lifeless. Don’t do this guys! If you must do this send a report – Microsoft Word, Acrobat or Pages in Mac would be great for this – Powerpoint doesn’t do a good job of report writing. By the same token Word, Acrobat and Pages are not great for a presentation – horses for courses.

3. When the presenter gets to the questions for the audience – one thing that really irritates me is the use of a slide with the word, “Questions”, a big question mark or a little clipart character with a question mark above his head. Totally redundant, kitsch, unprofessional and patronising. Just use the “B” button to get a blank screen up on the projector screen – this is the moment when the presenter really needs to give extra focus to the audience and answer questions. What does a slide do, apart from create a distraction?

4. The presentation starts at 11 o’clock, the presenter starts droning away, but doesn’t tell the audience how long they will be talking for. Come on, I am nearly French, I eat at 12 o’clock on the dot and don’t you dare encroach on my meal-times. Apart from this, humans are well-known to have short attention spans. The audience needs to be cushioned against any worries they may have, like missing lunch, getting to a meeting after the presentation, transport etc., etc. It is also common courtesy to tell people how much of THEIR time you will be using.

5. “I’ve been asked to present …. to you” Arrrgh! This is similar to the first point in this list, but the presenter is also telling me that they don’t really adhere to what they are presenting as they have been asked to present it to you. Get some commitment and think about what you are saying – if you want others to buy-in to what you are presenting / selling, make it look like you have bought-in too, otherwise you will lose your own credibility and any chance of getting commitment from the audience.

These are just some of the things that really get my hackles rising during a presentation, I could, and may well do, write another series on this subject – let’s face it there is plenty of raw materials out there.

Just remember, that we cannot, not communicate – even if we do nothing we are communicating something – as a presenter, we need to be very aware of what we are and what we are not doing, as whatever it is, we are communicating a lot – we just need to ensure that our intentions get the results that we are seeking.

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5 Things I Hate About Presentations
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