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PRESENTATIONS
SUCK
WHY
Alexei Kapterev
WWW.KAPTEREV.COM
GOOD PRESENTATIONS ARE HARD TO DO.
THEY MIGHT SEEM EASY.
BUT OF COURSE THIS IS JUST AN 

ILLUSION. IT’S ALL HARD WORK.
BUT WHAT EXACTLY MAKES THEM SO HARD?
(oops, wrong picture)
BUT WHAT EXACTLY MAKES THEM SO HARD?
(yep, that’s me)
to
I DECIDED
ASK
I asked ~40 people “What makes preparing
and delivering presentations so difficult?”
Disclaimer: I am not a sociologist, this is by no means scientific. If
you want to research this subject properly — please do contact me.
They named 3 reasons each.
This is the analysis of their replies.
It’s illuminating.
PRESENTATION
PROBLEMS
META
Motivation (31)
Setting goals (12)
Presentations aren’t important (9)
Slacking (8)
Other (2)
No content (10)
Audience-related (8)
Presentations culture (7)
Other (4)
STRUCTURE Structuring (15)
Storytelling (9)
Focus on the core (11)
Other (4)
SLIDES
DELIVERY
Design skills (12)
Lack of taste or visual culture (7)
Fear or anxiety (10)
This is the amount of 

complaints in this category
Surprise #1:
MOST PROBLEMS WITH
PRESENTATIONS HAVE
NOTHING TO DO WITH

PRESENTATION SKILLS.
SUCK
PRESENTATIONS
beca e
PEOPLE DON’T WANT
TO DO THEM
HARD
WORK
YOU SEE, ON ONE HAND, IT’S HARD
WORK. ON THE OTHER HAND…
OH, WAIT, WHAT’S 

ON THE OTHER HAND?!
?HARD
WORK
“This presentation is just a formality, 

you know…”
“All important decisions are made 

behind the scenes anyway…”
“Everybody admits — secretly —

that it’s just a waste of time…”
PRESENTATIONS AREN’T IMPORTANT
PEOPLE DON’t SET MOTIVATING GOALS
“There was no clear goal…”
“There is no real goal, they just do it
because they were told to do it…”
“They don’t understand that they 

have to SELL their ideas…”
TRY SETTING GOALS THAT MOTIVATE YOU
TIP #1
WORK ON THE END FIRST (IT’S WHERE 

YOU ASK PEOPLE TO DO SOMETHING!)
TIP #2
Come up with your ending before you
figure out your middle. Seriously. !
Endings are hard, get yours working
up front.
Pixar, Inc.

Storytelling Rule #7
“
”
SOMEHOW COMMUNICATE THAT 

PRESENTATIONS ARE IMPORTANT
TOP PRESENTATION
AWARD WINNER 

OR SOMETHING
TIP #3for managers
Surprise #2:
STRUCTURING
INFORMATION
IS THE MOST IMPORTANT
PRESENTATION SKILL
Why Presentations Suck?
Why Presentations Suck?
The main point is
obscured by lots of
irrelevant detail.
Source: PowerPoint® Presentation Flaws and Failures: 

A Psychological Analysis (2012) by Stephen M. Kosslyn et al
THE SINGLE MOST COMMON AND ALSO 

THE MOST ANNOYING PRESENTATION PROBLEM
“
”
STRUCTURING & PRIORITISING
“I want to tell them EVERYTHING but
there’s never enough time…”
“They don’t structure the information
so it’s just incomprehensible….”
“Presenters don’t focus on what’s most
important…”
HOW DO YOU IDENTIFY THE CORE?
YOU NEED TO ORGANISE YOUR INFORMATION
LEARN TO USE MIND MAPS OR CONCEPT 

MAPS FOR PLANNING PRESENTATIONS
TIP #4
Surprise #3:
POWERPOINT*
* OK, no surprise here
Editing slides 

for most people
is really, really
HARD.
Editing slides
for most people
is really, really
HARD.
Editing slides is hard
“I am not a designer so it doesn’t come
out pretty…”
“Most presentation programs require 

a tutor to use them…”
“Design.”
TIP #5
FORGIVE ME FOR BEING CAPTAIN OBVIOUS
BUT SOFTWARE & DESIGN TRAINING HELPS
1. Do I really, really want to make
this presentation? Why? Get to
the bottom of it.
2. Mind mapping helps a lot.This 

is probably presentation skill #1.
3. There’s still no decent slide
editor, both powerful and easy 

to use.This is an opportunity.
KEY TAKEAWAYS
Why Presentations Suck?
License: CC, Attribution, Share Alike | http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5/
kapterev@gmail.com
www.kapterev.com/eng/
ALEXEI KAPTEREV

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Why Presentations Suck?

  • 4. BUT OF COURSE THIS IS JUST AN 
 ILLUSION. IT’S ALL HARD WORK.
  • 5. BUT WHAT EXACTLY MAKES THEM SO HARD? (oops, wrong picture)
  • 6. BUT WHAT EXACTLY MAKES THEM SO HARD? (yep, that’s me)
  • 8. I asked ~40 people “What makes preparing and delivering presentations so difficult?” Disclaimer: I am not a sociologist, this is by no means scientific. If you want to research this subject properly — please do contact me. They named 3 reasons each. This is the analysis of their replies. It’s illuminating.
  • 9. PRESENTATION PROBLEMS META Motivation (31) Setting goals (12) Presentations aren’t important (9) Slacking (8) Other (2) No content (10) Audience-related (8) Presentations culture (7) Other (4) STRUCTURE Structuring (15) Storytelling (9) Focus on the core (11) Other (4) SLIDES DELIVERY Design skills (12) Lack of taste or visual culture (7) Fear or anxiety (10) This is the amount of 
 complaints in this category
  • 10. Surprise #1: MOST PROBLEMS WITH PRESENTATIONS HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH
 PRESENTATION SKILLS.
  • 12. HARD WORK YOU SEE, ON ONE HAND, IT’S HARD WORK. ON THE OTHER HAND…
  • 13. OH, WAIT, WHAT’S 
 ON THE OTHER HAND?! ?HARD WORK
  • 14. “This presentation is just a formality, 
 you know…” “All important decisions are made 
 behind the scenes anyway…” “Everybody admits — secretly —
 that it’s just a waste of time…” PRESENTATIONS AREN’T IMPORTANT
  • 15. PEOPLE DON’t SET MOTIVATING GOALS “There was no clear goal…” “There is no real goal, they just do it because they were told to do it…” “They don’t understand that they 
 have to SELL their ideas…”
  • 16. TRY SETTING GOALS THAT MOTIVATE YOU TIP #1
  • 17. WORK ON THE END FIRST (IT’S WHERE 
 YOU ASK PEOPLE TO DO SOMETHING!) TIP #2
  • 18. Come up with your ending before you figure out your middle. Seriously. ! Endings are hard, get yours working up front. Pixar, Inc.
 Storytelling Rule #7 “ ”
  • 19. SOMEHOW COMMUNICATE THAT 
 PRESENTATIONS ARE IMPORTANT TOP PRESENTATION AWARD WINNER 
 OR SOMETHING TIP #3for managers
  • 20. Surprise #2: STRUCTURING INFORMATION IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PRESENTATION SKILL
  • 23. The main point is obscured by lots of irrelevant detail. Source: PowerPoint® Presentation Flaws and Failures: 
 A Psychological Analysis (2012) by Stephen M. Kosslyn et al THE SINGLE MOST COMMON AND ALSO 
 THE MOST ANNOYING PRESENTATION PROBLEM “ ”
  • 24. STRUCTURING & PRIORITISING “I want to tell them EVERYTHING but there’s never enough time…” “They don’t structure the information so it’s just incomprehensible….” “Presenters don’t focus on what’s most important…”
  • 25. HOW DO YOU IDENTIFY THE CORE? YOU NEED TO ORGANISE YOUR INFORMATION
  • 26. LEARN TO USE MIND MAPS OR CONCEPT 
 MAPS FOR PLANNING PRESENTATIONS TIP #4
  • 27. Surprise #3: POWERPOINT* * OK, no surprise here
  • 28. Editing slides 
 for most people is really, really HARD. Editing slides for most people is really, really HARD.
  • 29. Editing slides is hard “I am not a designer so it doesn’t come out pretty…” “Most presentation programs require 
 a tutor to use them…” “Design.”
  • 30. TIP #5 FORGIVE ME FOR BEING CAPTAIN OBVIOUS BUT SOFTWARE & DESIGN TRAINING HELPS
  • 31. 1. Do I really, really want to make this presentation? Why? Get to the bottom of it. 2. Mind mapping helps a lot.This 
 is probably presentation skill #1. 3. There’s still no decent slide editor, both powerful and easy 
 to use.This is an opportunity. KEY TAKEAWAYS
  • 33. License: CC, Attribution, Share Alike | http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5/ kapterev@gmail.com www.kapterev.com/eng/ ALEXEI KAPTEREV