One change for dramatic improvement. (you won’t do it!)

I’m rather hoping that frequent visitors to the blog will have taken to heart some of the important concepts of presentation. Perhaps my deepest insight has been the p3 concept. The success in delivering the message of “the presentation” can be calculated as the product of the three parts of the presentation: the story (p1), the supporting visuals (p2) and the delivery (p3). 

How then to dramatically improve your presentation? Considering the audience first. Who doesn’t? Perfecting the arc of the story. I would hope you see its value. Moving on from the construction of a slideumentDropping clip art? Please. Improving data slides? You could.  That would be a blessing. Intelligent use of imagery? Absolutely. Design rather than construction? Totally. But none of these will have the same dramatic effect that one simple change will have. You probably have never done it and therefore cannot even consider what it might be. It is so simple as to be almost insulting, yet still you have no idea. This alone will completely change the reception for your piece however well constructed the story, however beautiful and engaging the slideset. If I tell you, will you promise to do it? 


Seriously. Press F5 and stand up. Deliver your presentation, in real time to an imaginary audience. Then sit down and reflect. Then do it again. And again. And again.

When a golfer pitches out of a bunker straight into the hole, do you think that was his first time? When the actor steps into the spotlight on opening night, do you think they have they literally no idea how things will go? When a surgeon lifts the scalpel and looks at the baby do you think she is just hoping it might work out nicely? No, they have all practised and practised and practised. The point of practise is that it delivers confidence in the process which is essential for the best performance (p3). It allows for improvement as one sees what works, what doesn’t and what would work better. All the best performances are built upon dedicated practise. Is yours?

And yet I can hear doubt whenever I bring this up, excuses about being too busy, unnecessary, unhelpful. Perhaps you have tried and got bored before the end of your presentation? Imagine how your audience feels? I’m sure that’s what the golfer thinks who fails to get out of the bunker or the actor who fluffs his lines or the surgeon… I think the principal reason people don’t feel practise would change anything is that few of us need practise at just reading things out and talking. But that wouldn’t be you now, would it?


  1. Dirk Haun

    Amen to that. Shameless plug for one of my own articles that goes in the same direction: "If you don't have the time to prepare a good presentation, the audience may not have the time to listen to it."

    from: 3 common excuses

  2. Pingback: A scientific presentation at BBTS Conference - p cubed presentations

  3. Pingback: Practise is not just repetition – Global Intensive Care

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