Thought of the Day - Make yer point

75802-1339606-thumbnail.jpgThe work I do has a lot of presentations.  Sales presentations, training presentation, project status presentations.  What I have noticed over and over again is how poor most people are at presenting.

We are taught about (and fear) 'Public Speaking' as kids, but isn't that what we do almost every day?  It's just not an auditorium full of people.  It's a conference room with a half dozen people and a few people dialing in from Timbuktu on a crappy corporate phone. 

I cringe when I listen to a presentation full of 'Uhms' 'Ahs', 'You know'...doubly so when it's coming from someone from my company and we're trying to sell something.

Of course, that's just the public speaking part of a presentation.  That is only the icing on the cake for most presentations.  Many presentations fail to tell a story.  They don't have flow.  They don't start somewhere and end somewhere else.

I won't even get into the sins of PowerPoint.  A 70 slide deck crammed full of text is a good sign of a horrible presentation.  Powerpoint is to accompany a presentation, not be the presentation.

Given the importance of presentation skills why don't companies spend more time training it and evaluating people on it. 

While I don't really relish criticism I know that's how I first became sensitive to the subject.  I took a class where we had to give oral presentations regularly.  If we used any cruches (uhm, ah, like..you know) we were dinged 2%, for each instance.  Very quickly we learned to speak slowly and pause making no noise if we needed a break. 

Our presentations were graded very stringently as to their messaging as well.  Was the message clear?  Simple?  If not, major deductions.

It's been years since that class.  I wonder how many bad habits I've fallen into again? 

My short relatives telling a story in a single photo.