Copying is a compliment

Copying is a compliment whether in art, fashion or presentation skills. Noticing the impact or effect that something has and then utilising it personally is part of life and should definitely be part of the development of a presenter. This is clear from both good and bad examples. Try something new received during a presentation and reflect on the value. It is a compliment to the person who first displayed.

Copying is a compliment


No great artistic creation springs from nothing. There are influences and inspiration and, presentation skills, whether it is accepted or not, are a creative skill. The use of Microsoft Blue Wave template, is, unbelievably copying as a compliment. An audience member has seen the template in use and whether purposefully or not, subsequently decided to use that template in a presentation. The same is true for tiny references and pie charts. These are all bad habits, copied. Copying is not always a good thing.


As an audience member with an interest in presentation skills start to take notice of presentations. A useful technique is based simply around the p cubed approach observing the message, the media and the delivery. Reflect on why a message was effective, how did the media impress and for what reason was the delivery engaging. Then, look to develop the next presentation and incorporate that facet.


It is foolish to copy directly the message in a presentation as it is specific to an individual speaker, an individual audience and a specific time. Observe the construction of the message, identify the key steps within this and factors that make the message accessible and memorable. A message is not a data download but the nature of the rhetoric, the focus of explanation or the skill in story telling all develop this message. Copying that is a compliment.


The media in a presentation is a result of creative skills, hopefully, and to copy is a compliment. Notice the restraint involved, the use of colour and font and how slides illustrate single points rather than a multiplicity. The most striking supportive media is often elegant in its simplicity. Fonts should appropriate for the message and improve its impact. Data slides must be clear and intelligible within three seconds. If style has been effective, recognise that and try to copy it later.


Delivery of a presentation makes a huge impact on its value. Many skills can be observed and copied. Take note of body and spoken language of presenters. Consider how they “work” a room to involve all sections of the audience. Recognise the difference that a relaxed approach brings and even how mistakes can be accepted and built upon to maximise the impact of a presentation. Copy those things that impress.


Feedback to a presenter, if considered and appropriate, can make a huge difference in development of the skill. It is not appropriate to deliver a step by step breakdown of sections with personal suggestions for improvement to anyone that has not personally requested that of you prior to delivery. That is what a presentation buddy is for. It is however, hugely valuable, to have an audience member greet you after a presentation with a specific, positive reflection, given as a compliment. “Your presentation really impressed me, I liked the structure of your message. Could you share with me how you developed that? I would like to be able to do the same?” Copying is a compliment.

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