Good presentations can’t salvage bad content


The number of presentations in the world must be staggering.  I would not know how to estimate it, but thinking about presentations made me think that we can classify any presentation in one of four quadrants:

DEATH (or complete boredom) occurs when a bad presenter has bad slides and bad content (i.e. not really something to say).  I suppose these typical Death-by-Powerpoint-Bullets slides fall into this category. Too many presentations fall into this category…!

TIME IS WASTED when the content is bad, but its presented in an entertaining way.  It might sometimes even be moderately enjoyable to listen to a presenter, but afterwards you wonder what on earth the presenter wanted to accomplish.  For me most speeches by politicians fall into this or the death category…

I think most people would agree that without content that is interesting or useful any audience would feel done in. They have after all invested time, and often money.

HMMMM…. This is what your audience would say if your content is great, but your presentation is lacking.  Note as well that I am deliberating not using the word Powerpoint, but the more generic term “presentation”.  Good presentation does not necessarily need Powerpoint! A blog post by Dave Paradi‘s states: “If your content is great but presented with lacklustre visuals, the
audience will still leave enlightened. They just may not be as informed or inspired as if you had also used great visuals to drive home your points.” I agree, except that great visuals is not always required for a great presentation, but a great presentation will certainly inspire and motivate! So if you have a useful story to tell your fight is half-way won, but it still is a bit ho-hum. Nobody wants to be average…

WOW!!! only happens if both content and presentation are great.  That would make the audience love you and your presentation. Those are the kind of presentations which change lives, which sell the goods, which garner the support, or whatever your goal might be. These are the kind of presentation we all as presenters and audience strive for!

Why should I want to give wow!!! presentations?  I believe everybody strive for excellence, nobody really wants to be just average. Lisa Braithwaite points out that we are all judged by our presentations, not maybe in the way we think, but that the audience is trying to determine what their relationship with you is. I want to make this relationship worth their time and money – I have afterall on this blog vouched that I want to give more and expect less.

Now it does occur to me that I do a presentation every time I am giving a lecture.  I believe that I have content worth sharing… but maybe sometimes the audience don’t notice due to it being not such a good presentation…

The objective is to move from HMMM… to WOW!!! Be the guy that nobody wants to speak after

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2 Responses to Good presentations can’t salvage bad content

  1. normwei says:

    “Good presentation cannot salvage bad content” is very true. That’s why you should not be wasting your money on “speech coaches” and your time on repeated “rehearsals”. Without a good story to tell or the right content to back it up, you will just be reading the script or going through the motion – albeit a well rehearsed one.

  2. […] presentation skills and aids cannot “fix” an inherently flawed message. Make sure you have your message clear way before you worry about the presentation aids. I did not […]

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