We are well aware that we could be accused of ‘banging on a bit’ when it comes to your audience but not only are we unapologetic, we’re not going to stop either.
It’s important to know why your audience get bored and what you can do about it, and it’s important to engage them, but that’s not all you need to worry about. Your audience is armed with the most advanced tech possible – the Human brain and that means they’re clever enough to (mis)understand things in a phenomenal way.
For example 55% of people are able to read this
And an even larger percentage can make sense of this
Amazing as this is, you need your audience to understand your message, not a message their brain interpreted from your presentation.
‘Poor Presentation causes International Incident’ is not a headline we ever expected to see, yet it’s actually happening…..
Online Espionage aside, we were wondering just how bad presentations can be, and decided it was time to give a voice to all those who have suffered in silence.
So as Edward Snowden continues his search for exile in far flung corners of the globe we’re offering you the opportunity to whistle blow without incurring any airfares.
Simply click through this link and tell us about the worst presentation you’ve ever seen. You don’t have to name names if you don’t want to, we’re interested in the crime not the criminal. Just tell us what made the presentation so bad and we’ll try to set the world to rights on your behalf.
If you’re unsure on what makes a bad presentation, or you’re unfortunate enough to have never seen a good one, take a peek at our 10 commandments below to see what’s what.
As if saving you the trouble of planning an escape route wasn’t enough, we’ll pick one of you out of the hat to receive some chocs and flowers as a thank-you.
This week I have been carefully considering the art of commentary.
When the news about Murray Walkers illness hit the airwaves I found myself reminiscing for the glory days of F1.
Don’t get me wrong there is still something very magical about it – the speed and the cutting edge engineering are thrilling and the cars make a noise that you can hear in your sternum. I spent my childhood following my Dad round as he marshalled at UK race tracks in the 70’s and 80’s (until Ayrton Senna ran him over, but that’s another story). I still have my Junior Marshall pit pass and overalls. I was an F1 fanatic, but F1 seemed to have more personality back then, and no one captured that better than Murray.
Murray Walker is a great commentator because he is a great fan, enthusiasm on that level is impossible to fake. His commentary style was not always entirely accurate or factual but we forgave him, because he drew us in and made us invest in the story unfolding before us, his enthusiasm became ours.
Right now I’m looking forward to the Le Mans 24 hour race. On quite a few occasions in the past it has been broadcast live, in its entirety, possibly the toughest commentary challenge that there is. This requires a team of commentators, who largely do a fantastic job, but there are challenges. Firstly, not even those spectators who actually made the journey to the circuit watch the whole race – there’s a fairground, a bar and a campsite for them to frequent. Secondly it’s quite hard to even see what’s going on at night, never mind talk about it.
Those that get to fill the early hours of the morning give some of the most interesting commentary you’ll never hear. I know this because in 2002 I took it upon myself to watch the whole thing. At approx 3am the commentator was chatting about the British driver Perry McCarthy, in the brief bio that he was using to fill time, he included the fact that Perry was also The Stig on Top Gear. Now as we know later revelations of this nature created a multi-media circus and legal action. So what happened in 2002? Apart from it waking me up a bit, nothing. It wasn’t until January 2003 that his secret Stigness was revealed in the papers.
Television commentating is much like presenting slides – it involves talking about things that the audience can already see for themselves and it requires some similar skills. Murray is a fantastic commentator because he cares about the subject and because he is himself. As for the early morning Le Mans commentator, he just proves that you can say anything you want if no-one’s listening….
The syllabus was based on our proven Presentation OptimisationTMmethodology and the students were keen to learn about the importance of message and the mistakes that can be made by over egging the cake (it becomes a floury omelette if you’re wondering).
They also discussed how best to visualise their ideas in a way that will engage the Dragons. The relative merits of PowerPoint, product demos and art boards were all debated along with the opportunities and dangers that using multiple platforms can bring.
The students were very enthusiastic to learn and interestingly they showed the same anxieties that we see every day with our business customers. We know that, to our customers, every presentation is THE presentation and the students felt just the same.
Encouraging the business people of tomorrow to think a little differently about how they present will help them to avoid the pitfalls associated with “Death by PowerPoint” that have given presentations such a bad reputation.
It’s a very Eyeful way of helping to raise the bar for business presentations.
On Friday, Simon will be seeing his work from the other side, as he unfurls his Dragon wings and judges the finalised presentations – we’ll let you know how he gets along.
Simon will be undertaking the unenviable task of tackling the ‘Dragons Den’ – from both sides.
On Wednesday 22nd he will be maintaining his usually friendly persona and helping the young entrepreneurs prepare for their Den encounter by sharing his skills and knowledge on ‘How to present to a panel’.
In the Den, a great presentation marks the difference between an idea you’ve had – and a business you will have. In life this can be translated as the job you really wanted and the job you got.
Most people are distinctly uncomfortable in front of an audience – it can feel like a test that you haven’t revised for.
Yet the rules for presentation success are simple and can be essentially summarised as ‘three knows making an ess’* – know your subject, know your audience, know yourself = success.
Bringing that to a life actually needs a little something extra and that’s the ‘secret sauce’ that Simon will be sharing with the students.
Then he’s back on Friday 24th – flying in and donning his incredulous face (practice ongoing) to take his place as a Dragon.
It’s unusual to see both sides of a pitch and Simon is hoping that his Wednesday masterclass will minimise his exposure to the type of cringe inducing umming, ahhing, panicking and fudging that we often see on the telly.
*feel free to insert a bad pun apology as required.
Not only does it provide us with a quick and satisfying medium to sound off about presentation topics that either delight or frustrate us, it also acts as a platform for those that feel the same levels of passion.
Comments, thoughts and ponderings hit us via LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and via the blog pretty much every time we put forward our thoughts…and we love it.
In light of this, we’ve handed over the Eyeful blog to regular readers who have something to sound off about. It may be in response to one of our earlier blogs, a current hot topic or something they simply had to get off their chests.
Whatever the reason, we thank and salute them for their enthusiasm, passion and insight.
OK – so it’s January… Dark mornings and evenings. Cold and damp weather. And let’s not even mention the detox diet..!
Now is also traditionally the time that many New Years resolutions are left broken and shattered on the floor…
Moving hastily on from the “no chocolate until February” resolution, what about those pledges you made for work? The perfectly planned and executed sales campaign or the update to your dusty old presentation?
If the presentation resolution still hangs over you, we have some advice – don’t buy another self help book, get some real help from the experts.
We’ve been running presentation training sessions for some time but toward the end of 2012 we revamped them…and have seen some great results.
Want to learn how to create the perfect presentation? We’ve got a course for that.
Want to update and enhance your presenter skills? We’ve got a course for that too.
Want the lowdown and latest thinking on presentation message development? Yep, we’ve also got that covered.
Interested? Don’t take our word for it. This is what our graduates have said about our basic and advanced PowerPoint courses:
“The basic course was very good. The structure was great and covered the variety of experience levels within the group. I would certainly like to attend the advanced course and I have recommended this course to members of my team”
Marketing Manager, Lloyds Banking Group
“It was all relevant to my requirements. I particularly enjoyed playing around with animation – discovering how to be creative with the functionality. The course remained interesting throughout”
Graphic Designer , SIG plc.
Oh, and the post training feedback supports these comments too:
You can find out more about our courses, dates and fees by clicking here.
And so to our first Christmas treat… Book on any of our Public Training Courses before the end of January and receive an early bird discount of 30% (offer excludes any other discount and available to the first 3 places on each of the advertised dates).
We look forward to spreading our Passion for Presentations!