Presentations are your responsibility

Presentations are your responsibility. Presentation skills are not innate. Like all other professional skills, they require education, example and feedback to develop. Unfortunately, there is little education, the standard achieved is at best mediocrity and feedback for those delivering presentations is seldom constructive or effective. The causation and the improvement lie within our remit. For the pointing finger, there are three fingers pointing back. Recognition of the poor state of presentations brings with it the responsibility of change, to teach the skills, model good presentations and give honest and helpful feedback. Presentations are your responsibility.

 

 

There is little formal education in effective presentation skills. Most presenters “learn” by copying. The standard blue wave template, the “image” of a journal article, pie charts, tiny references at the bottom of a slide, “I’m sorry for this busy slide” and the cliched “thank you for your excellent presentation, I very much enjoyed it”, all these bad habits are learned from copying. Good presentation skills are seldom taught but many may be copied in the same manner from good examples. The reduction of text in slides, constructing of a presentation based on a message rather than a download, illustrating rather than annotating, escaping from behind the podium to engage the audience, all these aspects of good presentations are the responsibility those seeking improvement in presentations.

Effective presentation feedback is difficult, but then so is feedback on developing other skills. The auditorium is not the place to do this, however well-intentioned. Feedback forms are seldom honest or valuable. Improvements will rest principally on personal reflection but the responsibility to facilitate that rests with you. Your interest in change has led you to this blog post. Your example will influence others. Your feedback is essential. Consider the message of p1, the nature of support offered by p2 and the engagement of delivery p3. Ask questions rather than listing points for improvement, offer encouragement rather than criticism and maintain the learner’s viewpoint rather than the lecturer. This, after all, is the nature of presentations. Presentations are your responsibility. Your example is the education, your feedback is the encouragement. Together we can make the difference.

2 Comments

  1. Dr

    Ok how? You make an excellent point but not how to fix it

    Reply
  2. ffolliet (Post author)

    By our example. By our feedback. Ultimately by education too but that will take a lot more influence.

    Reply

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