06 January 2007

Is your presentation self-consistent

I attended a presentation last week. These kinds of presentation generate most of the presenter's income since he uses them as a sales vehicle for his paid services. The first point on the presentation was ho-hum, but the third was a doozy which made his audience sit up. The problem was that some of his later points contradicted the third which seemed like a major faux-pas to me.

I'm anal about presentations - the material itself has to tell a story when I'm not there but it has to tell it in a way which is self-consistent. The presentation that I attended just about worked despite the incongruities because the presenter had just about enough skill to bring it back even if he was unaware why he had a problem in the first place.

This comes back to being ruthless in checking and testing presentations before you make them live - once they're gone, they're gone and if you don't test it, you risk that part of your audience will never think about you as positively in the future as they did before point 4.

Presentations aren't easy, if they were then people would be better at them - most presentations are tosh. Since they are so important to many people's professional lives, they deserve more thought in the planning, development and execution. These are all skills that can be learnt and practiced - promise yourselves that you will do better in 2007. Then, having made the promise to yourself, do something about it.

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