Ask anyone if he/she has sat through boring presentations and the answer is always "yes", and if needed, with numerous stories to back their claim. Ineffective and boring presentation is a pervasive problem. And, yet presentations are part of our mainstream life in business, education, politics... Almost every walk of life. Why?
There are two key reasons: First, learning how to create and deliver presentations is not part of our standard education curriculum. Most of us have had virtually no training in it. Second, we just don't realize how important presentation skills are for our success and therefore never try to do anything about it. Rather than harp on how we got here, now that we are here, let's understand the most common causes of bad presentations. I am sure you will relate to them.
Generally, presenters don't define their presentation's objective; they sort of know what they want but it lacks clarity. Yes, surprisingly this is one of the most common reasons. Think of the last time you gave a presentation or you were at the receiving end of it, and try writing down a single sentence that would clearly explain the objective of the presentation. As a presenter, the first step should be to write down the objective of your presentation.
Next, presenters often don't spend enough time or effort trying to understand the audience; most importantly, what do the audiences want. This combined with unclear objective gives rise to several other ills of a bad presentation. Because your objective is unclear and you don't know what the audiences need, the safe option is to tell them everything; don't miss a thing. That way, nothing can possibly go wrong.
Your audiences do not need to know everything. They are neither interested in all the details, nor can they absorb them in a presentation setting. When you try to cover too many details, audiences get busy trying to figure things out. They stop listening to you. As you move ahead in your presentation, they fall further behind and you eventually lose them.
Poorly organized material is another reason for a failed presentation and a direct result of not knowing your objective clearly. In my next week's blog, I will talk about presentation objective and this will become clearer.
Finally, many presenters think they will "wing" it. This problem gets worse as you climb the corporate ladder. Somehow "winging" it becomes something of a macho factor. Please understand, there is no substitute for hard work and you shouldn't try to wing it. As you present on the same topic over and over, your prep time may decrease and it may appear you are winging it, but the fact is there is lot of preparation that went into it to get to that point.
Creating and delivering effective presentations is part science and part art. It is one of the most important skill sets you need to learn. It will help you in more ways than you can imagine.
The best presentation app for business is still Microsoft PowerPoint. Are you using the latest, cloud-powered version of PowerPoint available as part of the Office 365? Let us show you how it can improve your presentations today!
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