This year I have done our presentation seminar with a large number of people from many different companies. Some were large international companies, others were smaller domestic companies. On each occasion the students attending were a mixture of people from various departments ranging from the sales department to the human resources department.
However, one thing that has surprised me is that none of the students attending were senior managers. Almost all of them were junior members of their departments who, when questioned, did little or no presenting in their companies.
I find myself having to ask the question: why?
Why is it that the very people who have to do important presentations in English are the very people who do not attend presentation training seminars, courses or workshops? Do they think they are too good to attend? or is it that they feel they are too busy?
In my mind this is a crazy situation. Everyone knows that that the state of presentations today is terrible. In some places it is getting better and in some cases there is an understanding that presentation communication needs to improve, but the perception of the humble presentation is still that they are largely boring, useless and pointless.
My guess, and this is only a guess, is that these managers are too proud to admit they need further training. And it is here where the problem arises.
Most presentations I see done by university students are fantastic. The design, the message and the stories are there. It most cases the final presentation is a little rough around the edges, but on the whole their presentations are good, creative and have a clear, simple message. On the other hand most presentations I see done by senior executives have difficult to read slides, are full of boring text and are a complete mess when it comes to a message. The end product looks like something created in the 1990s., with no clear point and at the end a very confused audience.
Business communication did not stop evolving in the 1990s. The evolution of Business communication exploded in the 2000s. Audiences now demand simple, clear messages that are delivered in twenty minutes and the details are handed to them in a clear, convenient handout. Audiences no longer have time to sit in a meeting room listening to an old style executive spew word and boring word in a dull, unimaginative way for hours upon end. Audiences want to the point messages with great illustrations and simple easily digested facts and figures.
Until these senior executives get it and begin to understand that it is they that need to be taught how to present in the twenty-first century, presentations are going to continue with the same boring image. All I ask is that if you are a senior executive, please lose the pride and get some help. It will not only help you develop, but it will help restore the image of the presentation into something it should be. A great way to communicate a message.