Some Thoughts on Presentations

When I am speaking to a group of people I  typically know what is expected of me to deliver, and I think that this is true (and necessary for a successful presentation).

I try to make presentations something that are more interactive to get feedback, examples, involvement, etc.  A great presentation can be just good job by the presenter and the sparking of a great discussion by the attendees.  If you had budgeted 45 minutes for this presentation, great discussions/Q&A, etc can take it well over an hour.

Conversely there are those occasional painful presentations where perhaps you have misjudged the target, or everyone has just had a big lunch and is sleepy, or for whatever reason, there just isn’t energy in the room (as the presenter this could be your fault, and it’s definitely something that you should be aware of and try to correct)…but even in spite of your best efforts, this connection isn’t made.

It’s hardly news worthy to say that humor is great way to break the ice.  The converse of this though is that (in my humble opinion) the absolute worst way to start a presentation (or any type of performance, etc) is downplay your interest in it, or talk about how you question the quality of it.

For example: “So, umm, I hope that you guys like this stuff that I through together”, or “well I haven’t researched all of this, but…”, or “so I was going to talk about X, but last night I had this great idea about Y, so I hope it makes sense”, or “I wasn’t planning on speaking today, but I thought that someone might like this…”

You might think that you are saying it to get a laugh, or to get the audience to not judge you harshly.

Statements like this completely discredit you before your audience and get them to tune out.  Really what you are saying is that you think so lowly of your audience, that you haven’t cared enough to prepare.

Please don’t ever make a statement like this…even if it’s true (and if it is true, shame on you for not preparing).

In fact titling this blog post “Some Thoughts…” shows that same sort of lack of focus.  So if you have clicked through, and read this far, did the title affect your perception of this?

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