I know nothing about a lot of things.
One of these is my limited understanding of giving a presentation.
But lack of knowledge doesn’t mean I can’t have an opinion (my blog after all).
A great presentation requires many things.
A nice room. Comfortable seating. Air conditioning, but not too much air conditioning (I get cold now that I’m old). A PowerPoint that doesn’t have a bazillion words on each slide. An internet connection that isn’t slower than dial-up. Free stuff (you can buy an audience’s love with food, pens, letter openers, umbrella (?)… possibly a car).
The problem is most people only focus on these items.
They double-check the room set-up. They obsess on the sound system. They spend hours preparing their PowerPoints. They go to great lengths to memorize entire presentations. They make sure they look professional. The buy all kinds of crap with their name/logo on it (don’t get me wrong, I like free crap… but it’s still crap).
Then they present.
And it stinks.
It’s totally unremarkable. It’s hard to remember what the presenter said 10 minutes after it’s over.
I don’t understand why people do this.
Especially when the problem is so obvious.
It’s wasn’t the room. It’s wasn’t the PowerPoint (although for the love of Pete… stop with all of the words and clipart… and remember your audience can get your general idea in less that 120 slides). It wasn’t even that the free stuff was crappier than usual (again, it’s crap… but keep it coming… I can never have too many nail files).
The problem was the presenter.
Most are very knowledgeable. Most have a great deal they want to share. Most are very well prepared.
And most are still boring.
Not bad. Just boring.
Really boring (like Mitt Romney boring).
It’s like watching slides of your parents’ first vacation to a local state park from 40 years ago (explanation for the kids: slides pre-dated digital cameras, Polaroids, colored film, and life as we know it).
Boring is always worse worse than bad.
Poor presentations can always be traced back to one thing.
They weren’t funny.
That’s the key.
The more the better.
The presenter doesn’t have to be a professional comedian, but every presentation needs a little entertainment value.
It can be a joke. Or a video. Or even an activity (as long as I don’t have to participate… not interested in group projects or role-playing… that’s just me).
Maybe a talking dog or a monkey in a suit (always funny).
But it has to entertain people on some level.
If you want me to remember your great idea, you need to make me smile.
And don’t forget… if all else fails, give me free crap.
You had me at funny.