Really bad presentation: One thing you must avoid

Updated: Apr 21


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It was a nice sunny day. I had to drive 30 miles to reach the biggest Analyst event organized by a $5 billion technology giant. All the leading Analyst from Forrester, Gartner, IDC, Everest were there, to listen to the leaders and with great expectations.


As the leaders started presenting, i noticed they all had one thing in common. Text heavy slides, rarely any visuals expect the logo. What a shame, and a missed opportunity. And then the epic moment arrived, one of the senior leaders started reading the slides, word by word.


How many times have you faced this?


That I would say is a really bad away to present. The one thing you must avoid while delivering the presentation.


But then what is the right way to do it. While the presentation experts across the globe prescribe presentation success formula, let me tell you from my experience, there is no single formula that works well all the time.


The key is, you need to be flexible, street smart and willing to adapt to the needs of your audience. Choose a style that you are comfortable with and that which will work for your audience.


Here are some best practices that I do recommend. Take this as a principle and not a prescription.



The moment of truth, seize the opportunity


Companies spend millions of dollars in marketing investments, to sponsor and organize events. If the leaders aren't able to deliver the presentation of their life, then that's a shame.


If you can't articulate your business and value proposition in those 15 - 30 minutes while delivering your pitch, then forget it. You missed the bus.


History stands witness to some of the greatest leaders, who seized their opportunity. And those who did, changed the world.


Here is one such presentation, from the master who 'Thinks Different', the great Steve Jobs introducing Apple to his customers during one of Apple's first ever event.




Keep it simple silly


Simplicity now a days seems to be a rare commodity.


Most presentations are long winding, and simply boring. Great presenters are not the one who has the greatest ideas, but the one who is able to present the idea with 'simplicity'.


Guy Kawasaki, a well known public speaker and author of best selling books on presentation, always amazes me with the simplicity of his slides. He keeps is really really simple. Check out his presentation.




Let the visuals tell the story


'Once upon a time there lived a sales person who created powerpoint like literatures ....'


You can definitely do a better job, converting all those written words to visuals. Use visuals creatively to support your story.


We all love good stories, I have seen some awesome presenters just use images to tell powerful stories. See how this Ted speaker uses images creatively to narrate his story.




Break the pattern, try something new


One of the famous presentations I remember is a presentation from anonymous face, who speaks about local civic problems in India. Checkout this jaw dropping presentation.





Be the real you


I see experts prescribe proven presentation success formulas - you need to start with a joke, be fluent when you speak, don't stammer, modulate your tone and voice, etc.


Well, these best practices are fine. But let me tell you this, some are good at cracking jokes, while others may be good at narrating a serious story. It doesn't matter if you stammer, have a gorilla voice or a shaky legs. It doesn't matter, be the real you.


Make your point to the best of your abilities, that's all you can do. Everyone is different, that's what makes us interesting. If everyone is the same, then the world will be one boring place.


Check out this inspirational speech from Sean Stephenson.



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