Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Presentation Introspection

I've seen presentations where you could tell that the presenter's main goal was just to get through the talk. There was no interest in whether the audience had retained anything. A close relative to that low standard is the university lecturer who simply drones through a mass of material in order to eat up class time and to be able to say that certain points were covered.

They were indeed covered, but not in any desirable manner.

Some serious introspection is needed for even the best presenters may adopt bad habits. Here is my review list to head off problems:

  1. Is the material organized in a manner that is of maximum benefit to this audience or is it designed to please another group? [Which other groups? Upper management, lawyers, politicians, and the community come to mind.]

  2. Is an audience being neglected? [This is especially important to remember when presentations are televised and there are multiple audiences.]

  3. Has the presenter put in information that is interesting but not really on-topic?

  4. Are too many points being covered? [My rule is to have no more than three major points.]

  5. Is there a coherent theme that links the points together?

  6. Is there a careful blend of generalizations and examples? [Both are needed for the sake of clarity.]

  7. Does the presenter have a clear sense of which parts of the message are vital and which are optional and will the presentation convey those priorities?

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