Friday, 27 March 2009

Let’s Be Honest: Most presentations we see in our working lives are rubbish.

You’ve probably sat through hundreds of them in your time. Hours of PowerPoint type talking, gigabytes of bullet-pointed slides and a few charts that carefully combine the unintelligible and incoherent. If you’ve worked in corporate life over the past few years, you’ll have seen it all. Dull content gingered up by the occasional use of, apparently, witty, clichéd clipart to lighten the mood, and on a few tragic occasions, sound effects (Bullets, skids, bells and the like) that only the presenter and the bloke from IT, who doesn’t spend enough time with humans, find amusing.

It’s a miracle of once in a blue moon proportions if you happen to enjoy a presentation that you’re invited to. Name the last time you did. The last time that the presenter was friendly, open, interesting, and amusing; and the stuff she was talking about was relevant to you, clearly explained and put across in a shorter time than your natural attention span. When was the last time you were informed and entertained at a presentation?

It does happen, though, I grant you. I can think of 3 examples from my 19-year career…
That’s all. Three people in all that time. 3 out of about 950 presentations. 4 out of 1900 hours, a 0.21% success rate, a probability of 475-1 against that the next presentation I go to will be worse than finding yourself at the end of a very long queue for the loo at Islamabad Airport.

Even if you went to a presentation once every 2 days, and I know some of you do more than that, it means that it could be 4 years until you next attend one that helps you do anything other than catch a few minutes sleep. Bloody hell. Why is it so? And it’s not just me, I’ve checked with hundreds of friends and clients at many European and US companies, it’s the same there too.

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