Why presentations fail? (Part1)

10Dec

Why presentations fail? (Part1)

I was thinking about different type of presentations I saw during the last decade while I was trying to become better and better with delivering those presentations written by me or by others  ( is work in progress at least for the next 50 years:) 

 

While at a moment I had no option but delivering what others wrote" because it worked so you just have to do it " and I was too afraid or very in my comfort zone to argue on that now I am free to write and deliver presentations how I want and most important how I fell.

What I've learnt and what I read about a failed presentations:

  • - Common misconception
  • - One-minute checklist of presentation essentials
  • - Dirty dozen reasons for failure

Here are three startling research findings:

1. 80% of business presentations fail

2. A survey of CEOs in Florida revealed that over 71% of them admitted to dropping off during business presentations.

3. A Practical Training for Professionals (PTP) survey revealed that that 75%of UK managers find business presentation boring.

 

In my own experience presentations of working since 2000 at least 80% of them were somewhere between poor and embarrassing bad.

 

The actual percentages are not important. What matters is that the time and expense invested in preparing and delivering presentations is, most of the time, wasted. You can add the indirect cost add diminished reputation and business lost simply because the presentation failed to impress. If you could quantify that cost it would be a frightening figure.

 

 If a business presentation’s purpose is to obtain business, it must be persuasive and possibly even impressive. If it is boring, if it is poor, if it is inferior in any way, not only will it fail to win the business, but it will create a negative impression of the presenter.

 

Presentations tend to fail because certain disciplines have not been followed. The necessary techniques are relatively easy to acquire. What is more important is to understand the process of persuasion. It’s the way to get more positive results from speaking in public.

 

Two common misconceptions:

The first is the astonishing and frankly incredible claim that speaking in public is a person’s greatest fear. It is claimed that this activity outranks to fear of death!

"The American humourist Jerry Seinfeld put this on the context. He says that if this were so, then the average person delivering the eulogy at a funeral would rather be in the box! That is clearly nonsense. But it will get in the way and cause failure if you believe it."

Of course there will usually be some anxiety about presenting, but it is perfectly natural to fell nervous when the spotlight is turned on you.

 

The second misconception is that a presentation consists of simply telling your stuff. Most business presentation falls into this trap. They consist of a linear description of the product or service being offered, following this kind of sequence:

- this is who we are

- this is what we do

- we did it for these people

- we’d like to do it for you

It’s one-way traffic. The presentation is prepared, complete with slides, and the presenter delivers it, hoping for a positive response.

 

An example of this approach was when Alan Johnson was appointed Britain’s Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer in 2010. He called a press conference at the House of Commons, turned up and read out a speech that he clearly had not written himself, took no questions and left.

 

Not only that, he actually gave the journalists a copy of his prepared text!

 

Why, then, was necessary for him to turn up and read the text to them? Wouldn’t it have been more efficient to send it as an email? And yet, that is exactly how many business presentations are delivered. The text is prepared, with accompanying slides, and the presenter turns up to read the script and press the button to move the slides along.But what what most of the presentors are not thinking about is that story telling is to set children for sleep - same happens with the audience once you just read the slides you have prepared.

 

The reality is that facts tell but feelings sell. We all buy on emotion and justify with reason. A presentation that is full of data will do no more than inform. We need to interpret the data and say what we want our listeners to understand and fell about it.

 

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