Top 20 reasons_presentations_suck_and_how_toavoidthem


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Top 20 reasons_presentations_suck_and_how_toavoidthem

  1. 1. Top 20 Reasons Presentations Suck and How To Fix Them Geoffrey James
  2. 2. Too Freakin' Long <ul><li>Diagnosis: It presents way more than anybody wants to know. </li></ul><ul><li>Why It Happens: The speaker is “spraying and praying” in hope that something works. </li></ul><ul><li>What Results: Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz… </li></ul><ul><li>How to Fix It: Always make your presentation less than half as long as you think it should be. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Complicated Graphics <ul><li>Diagnosis: It's full of busy graphics with lots of little details. </li></ul><ul><li>Why It Happens: One picture is worth a thousand words, right? (Uh, wrong.) </li></ul><ul><li>What Results: The audience stared glassy-eyed, then pulled out smartphones and started checking emails. </li></ul><ul><li>How to Fix It: Only include simple graphics; highlight the data point that’s important </li></ul>
  4. 4. Reading from Slides <ul><li>Diagnosis: The speaker reads aloud what everyone can read for themselves. </li></ul><ul><li>Why It Happens: The speaker is unprepared and using slides as a memory-jogger. </li></ul><ul><li>What Results: By the third slide, the audience is ready to kill the presenter. </li></ul><ul><li>How to Fix It: Use slides to reinforce your message rather than to outline your data points. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Unreadable fonts <ul><li>Diagnosis: The slides have fonts that are too fancy, too small or both. </li></ul><ul><li>Why It Happens: The fonts looked great on the desktop screen; on the projector… not so much. </li></ul><ul><li>What Results: The audience squints and peers and then gives up. </li></ul><ul><li>How to Fix It: Use large fonts in simple faces (like Ariel); avoid boldface, italics and UPPERCASE. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Redundant content <ul><li>Diagnosis: The presentation has slides that everyone has already seen. </li></ul><ul><li>Why It Happens: Somebody is trying to “standardize” on a standard presentation. </li></ul><ul><li>What Results: The audience gets bored to death. </li></ul><ul><li>How to Fix It: Never present the same material to the same audience twice. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Busy backgrounds <ul><li>Diagnosis: The slides have background templates that are distracting. </li></ul><ul><li>Why It Happens: Somebody thought it would make the slides look more “professional.” </li></ul><ul><li>What Results: The audience gets headaches trying to see what is actually on each slide. </li></ul><ul><li>How to Fix It: Use a simple, single color background. Always. </li></ul>
  8. 8. All opinion and no facts <ul><li>Diagnosis: The presentation is all opinions without any supporting data. </li></ul><ul><li>Why It Happens: Laziness. It’s easy to claim “leadership”; it’s harder to actually be a leader. </li></ul><ul><li>What Results: The speaker's credibility with the audience leaps down the toilet. </li></ul><ul><li>How to Fix It: Only state opinions that you can back up with quantifiable data. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Biz-blab <ul><li>Diagnosis: The presentation is filled with tacky business buzzwords. </li></ul><ul><li>Why It Happens: The speaker wrongly thinks that biz-blab sounds “business-like.” </li></ul><ul><li>What Results: The audience assumes the speaker is 1) pompous, 2) crazy, or 3) talking in tongues. </li></ul><ul><li>How to Fix It: Just stop it. Please. (The horror... The horror...) </li></ul>
  10. 10. Irrelevant information <ul><li>Diagnosis: The speaker includes material that doesn’t really belong in the presentation. </li></ul><ul><li>Why It Happens: The speaker isn't clear about the message that needs to be conveyed. </li></ul><ul><li>What Results: The audience loses the train of thought. </li></ul><ul><li>How to Fix It: Only include material that’s relevant to your overall message. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Crappy clip art <ul><li>Diagnosis: It has graphics lifted directly from a low-grade clip art library. </li></ul><ul><li>Why It Happens: Somebody was trying to save a few bucks and a few minutes. </li></ul><ul><li>What Results: The audience figures that the speaker is too cheap to do it right. </li></ul><ul><li>How to Fix It: If you've got to use clip art, buy the good stuff. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Skipping around <ul><li>Diagnosis: The speaker flips ahead to another slide, then flipped back. </li></ul><ul><li>Why It Happens The speaker is trying to edit the presentation real-time. </li></ul><ul><li>What Results: The audience rightly figures the speaker isn't fully prepared. </li></ul><ul><li>How to fix it: If you must improvise, do so within the structure of the presentation. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Wrong audience <ul><li>Diagnosis: The presentation is on a subject that isn't appropriate to the audience. </li></ul><ul><li>Why It Happens: The presenter didn't bother to research the audience. </li></ul><ul><li>What Results: The audience rightly concludes that the presenter doesn’t give a flying. </li></ul><ul><li>How to Fix It: Always research your audience and customize a story to match. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Technical difficulties <ul><li>Diagnosis: Something happens that screws up the slides or the sound. </li></ul><ul><li>Why It Happens: Nobody bothered to test the setup prior to the presentation. </li></ul><ul><li>What Results: The audience rightly concludes that the presenter isn't prepared. </li></ul><ul><li>How to Fix It: Always check, then double-check, the setup. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Introduction too long <ul><li>Diagnosis: The first third of the presentation introduces the speaker, his firm and the topic. </li></ul><ul><li>Why It Happens: The speaker is used to giving a longer presentation and didn’t shorten the intro. </li></ul><ul><li>What Results: Eye rolling all around as everyone wonders when the speaker will come to the point. </li></ul><ul><li>How to Fix It: Never spend more than 1 minute on your introduction. Never. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Weak Attempts at Humor <ul><li>Diagnosis: The speaker tries to be a comedian but lacks the skills. </li></ul><ul><li>Why It Happens: The speaker heard somewhere that humor will make a presentation better. </li></ul><ul><li>What Results: Blank stares. </li></ul><ul><li>How to Fix It: Unless you've got the skills, leave the humor to professional comedians. </li></ul>
  17. 17. Overly Fancy Slides <ul><li>Diagnosis: The presentation is chockablock with special effects and visual jim-cracks. </li></ul><ul><li>Why It Happens: The speaker was afraid that the audience would find him boring. </li></ul><ul><li>What Results: Your audience watches the pretty pictures and misses the real message. </li></ul><ul><li>How to Fix it: Use the minimum visuals that you need to tell the story. </li></ul>
  18. 18. All data and no story <ul><li>Diagnosis: It presents scads of information without any context or meaning. </li></ul><ul><li>Why It Happens: The speaker wrongly assumes the presentation was a lecture. </li></ul><ul><li>What Results: The audience pulls out their smart phones by the time the fifth slide comes up. </li></ul><ul><li>How to Fix It: Make your presentation tell a story, ideally with the audience as the heroes. </li></ul>
  19. 19. Meandering <ul><li>Diagnosis: The speaker wanders off on a tangent rather than following a train of thought. </li></ul><ul><li>Why It Happens: The speaker didn’t really take the time to think the presentation through. </li></ul><ul><li>What Results: The audience rightly assumes the speaker is disjointed and disorganized. </li></ul><ul><li>How to Fix It: Review your presentation with a colleague, make changes, then rehearse. </li></ul>
  20. 20. Discussion Ratholes <ul><li>Diagnosis: The presentation has a slide guaranteed to pitch the discussion down a rathole. </li></ul><ul><li>Why It Happens: The speaker probably didn't realize that the rathole was there. </li></ul><ul><li>What Results: The audience starts arguing about the slide, making the entire exercise useless. </li></ul><ul><li>How to fix it: Think through the emotional impact of EVERY slide in your deck. </li></ul>
  21. 21. Wrong Time of Day <ul><li>Diagnosis: The presentation is scheduled for when everyone's mind was elsewhere. </li></ul><ul><li>Why It Happens: The speaker wrongly believe his message is too important to wait. </li></ul><ul><li>What Results: The audience barely hears what is said. </li></ul><ul><li>How to Fix It: Schedule presentations for a time when people will give it proper attention. </li></ul>