Scuba divers have one, sky divers have one, do you have a presentation buddy? There’s no two ways about it, presentations can be as scary and perceived as life threatening as both those extreme sports. To reduce the dangers, add support and enjoy the ride, participants buddy up. In presentations having a buddy will reduce the dangers, add support and help you enjoy the ride. Get a presentation buddy.
Presenting is not an intrinsic talent. Those who are good at presenting have practised, copied, made mistakes and taken time to improve their art. Yet sadly, some people think mere imitation will deliver a good presentation. This is the reason behind a rambling list of facts (p1), bulletpointed, text heavy slides (p2), rambling monotonous, overly long delivery(p3) amongst many other mistakes. Most mistakes are made in ignorance of the problem; no-one sets out to intentional give a bad presentation. A presentation buddy can help.
There is no shame in asking someone to be your presentation buddy, actually the converse is true. Many of the presentations I have given have been discussed in terms of their format, construction and delivery with various presentation buddies to help me develop my art. Feedback is the basis for improvement. Importantly though, some of that feedback needs to happen before The Big Presentation, not afterwards. That’s too late. Rather than grimace through the terrible presentation imagine how much better it would have been if someone could have helped suggest a little more structure, perhaps changing the font and cutting down the content to finish early. This is where a presentation buddy can help.
A buddy’s job is not to correct, teach or change the presentation but to be the first audience and reflect. It’s better to ask, “your key message wasn’t clear to me. What did you intend it to be?” rather than “you just rambled.” Similarly, “Comic sans is frequently disliked. What was your purpose in using that font?” Or “The way you stood behind the lectern, you appeared terrified. Is that really the case?” A buddy doesn’t need to be the best presenter in the world but a friend, with some insight and a degree of tact. They won’t make your presentation perfect but a presentation buddy will help more than you think.