“A Good Presentation? What do you think?”

I was tempted – and I fell!  A good friend sent me this video “How to give a good presentation”made by Claire Habel of Inspiring Futures –

What did you think of this? Yes, you’re right. It’s a reasonable account. Habel is giving a clear and straightforward outline of what you’d expect a decent presentation to contain. She is also personable and has a great presenting style. It’s easy to believe that what she says is all you need to know to deliver a good presentation.

However…….I have some comments:

  • Research: First of all, the research by done by Albert Mehrabian that she cites in the opening is now shown to be flawed. It was based on 2 papers he wrote in the early ’70s. Even he is unhappy with those percentages nowadays. Too many people promote them unknowingly. It undermined my enthusiasm for the rest of the piece!
  • Audience engagement: I am surprised and frustrated that she doesn’t talk about engaging her audience. She just plans on what she wants the audience to hear. If your presentation is a sales tool (and frankly every presentation is a sales tool of some description), you need to undergo a sales process on it. Study your audience closely to determine and understand what their issues/problems/preoccupations are that you have a solution for. Reach out to them. Express empathy for their position.  Invite them to accompany you to find the solution – which is the outcome you want them to take away. Even in a 10 minute talk.
  • Outcomes: There’s no discussion about outcomes, another surprise. A fundamental mistake. What do you want your audience to think? More important still, what do you want them to feel, since decisions get made based on feelings. And most important of all, what action do you want your audience to take? And how are you going to make it easy for them to take it?
  • Memorable: After any half decent presentation, the audience are going to remember only 25% of the content within 48 hours. By the end of the week, it’s down to 10%. Therefore it’s wise to ask yourself what 3 things you want them to retain in a week. Memory fragments very quickly especially if there’s no identification with the presenter or with what they’re saying (see above). Always take your audience into consideration and you will be remembered.
  • Gravitas: We only saw women in the video. And they were very smiley and nice, very polite and on best behaviour. It seemed a bit girly. If this video were to cut the mustard to my mind, it needs to be a bit tougher. We need to see men (since they tend to be in the majority in business, bless ’em). For the presenter to gain credibility, she needs to have more gravitas and authority. And cut down on the smiling!

These comments were only after 1 viewing. See what you think.


About anrah

Anrah is a business development consultancy specialising in helping senior women in engineering and science, their teams and doctoral students increase 'presence', improve communication and generate impact to win stakeholder buy-in at the highest level.
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