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Presentation Masterclass – Part 1: Introduction

Presentation Masterclass – Part 1: Introduction

I have been observing, delivering and training people in presentation techniques for over 20 years now and my considered, professional, opinion on the subject is this:

MOST PRESENTATIONS SUUUUUUUUCK!

In almost every sphere of human endeavour, the outcome can be plotted on a bell-curve – a few really skilled people over on the right, a few really hopeless people over on the left and a whole bunch or just-above or just-below average people in the middle:

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    I suspect that the curve for presentations looks more like this:

      Why?

      Seriously. Why?

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      How hard could this be? You get someone who knows what they are talking about standing up in front of a audience, with a bunch of visual aids to make the job of imparting information easier, and they impart the information. How hard could that be?

      I have been involved with presentation at a professional level for over 20 years. If I include my earliest experiences with presentations – people teaching me stuff in primary school – then the figure is closer to 40 years. And the vast majority of them were dreadful. Teachers, coaches, lecturers, tutors, trainers, consultants – most of them suuuuuuuuuuuucked!

      Think back. Put aside all your experiences in the world of work for a moment and just think back to your schooldays. How many exceptional teachers did you have in your 14 years of primary and secondary schooling? I had four excellent teachers in primary school and three in secondary, out of a total about 80 people who taught me various subjects between the ages of 4 and 17. Now, for our normal distribution bell curve, 7 out of 80 is about right, but it still sucks when you have to sit through it. And that’s before I even got to college, much less the world of work with all of its woeful presenters. Why does this happen? By dint of the fact that the person is up at the front of the room with the slides flickering behind him or her, they must be some kind of expert on their topic, whether that topic is the 3Rs in primary school or Web 2.0 marketing. So their expertise in the topic is rarely the problem.

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      I have gradually come to the realisation that the biggest problem with presentations is that human beings are simply too self-involved for the process to work well. Presenters are so wrapped up in themselves and their topic that they rarely seem to take a moment to consider what would be the best method for imparting this information to their audience. Audiences are so deluged with advertising messages and radio jingles, with phone calls, voicemail, email, SMS and IM, with… stuff in their personal lives that unless you, the presenter, are wowing them with every word, you will lose their attention in a matter of seconds.

      Add to that the fact that the bar has been lowered to such an extent that most audiences are resigned to expecting dull, rambling, semi-legible, bullet-point-ridden presentations, and it’s not hard to see how we have arrived at this low ebb in communication.Both sides are at fault, to be sure; but if you are scheduled to make a presentation soon, you can control only one side of the conversation. Exercise that control. You have no say regarding the audience’s mood or willingness to listen, but you control your presentation, and in this series of posts, I will provide you with the knowledge, tools and approach to maximise your chance of success.

      The deepest human need is the need to be appreciated. (William James)

      The psychologist and philosopher William James said, “The deepest human need is the need to be appreciated.” If your presentation is going to have any chance of success, it needs to be built on this understanding. As a starting point, I recommend some detox to clear your body and mind from a lifetime of exposure to sucky presentations. I strongly recommend that you expose yourself to some great presenters:

      • Check out Seth Godin, Tom Peters, Guy Kawasaki, Steve Jobs, and Dick Hardt on YouTube.
      • Have a look at some of the wizards on TED.com – Rives, Hans Rosling, Barnett Thomas, Lawrence Lessig and Ken Robinson all stand out, but there are reams more on this invaluable resource.
      • Go over to Common Craft and have a look at their ‘plain English’ tutorials on aspects of Web 2.0

      The one common theme that emerges from this tremendous diversity of presenters, topics and styles is RESPECT. By every word and deed, they demonstrate absolute respect for both their audiences and themselves.

      A good starting point. The essential starting point.

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      Next: Planning your presentation.

      More by this author

      Rowan Manahan

      Rowan is a professional trainer with over 20 years’ experience mentoring and consulting with executives at all levels.

      Where Am I Going? How to Put Your Life in Context 5 Key Questions When Planning Your Presentation (Presentation Masterclass – Part 2) Presentation Masterclass – Part 1: Introduction Guy Kawasaki’s Thoughts on Online Life Communication 101

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      Last Updated on July 15, 2019

      41 Beautiful Pictures That Show What True Love Is All About

      41 Beautiful Pictures That Show What True Love Is All About

      Some things in life are hard to describe, yet we can recognize them when we see them.

      Love is one of those things.

      True love comes in many different forms, but here are some that many of us know well.

      True love means supporting those who can’t support themselves

      supportive couple

        A young man comforts his date in Times Square, New York City. Image by mbtrama

        strong hug

          A young man holds his significant other close to him. Image by Brad Fults

          running help

            A young track competitor helps one of her injured opponents over the finish line. Image from ViralNova.com

            feeding kitten

              A soldier in the Korean War takes time to feed a baby kitten. Image from US Naval Insititute

              It’s having the perfect selfie partner

              mom and daughter selfie

                A mother and her daughter take a selfie together. Image by Andrew Fysh

                girlfriends

                  Two young girls pose for the camera. Image by Rolands Lakis

                  selfies

                    A happy couple takes a picture together. Image by Kayla Heineman

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                    selfie

                      Two best friends take a selfie together. Image by Jason Wahido

                      dude selfie

                        Friends take a selfie together. Image by Glenn Scofield Williams

                        It’s all the warm fuzzies

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                          A young man spends time with his dog on a beach. Image by Magdalena Roeseler

                          DSC06952

                            A pet owner hugs his dog while on a day trip in San Francisco. Image by Taro the Shiba Inu

                            It means having a friend to photobomb you

                            photobomb

                              A boy makes a funny face as he poses for a picture with his brother. Image by Michael Bentley

                              old man photobomb

                                A man photobombs his wife while their grandson snaps a picture. Image by Frank

                                family photobomb

                                  Family members photobomb their relatives’ Thanksgiving day family photo. Image by Beth Scupham

                                  boyfriend photobomb

                                    A friend photobombs the photographer and their friend, the woman in the foreground of this photo. Image by Lachlan Hardy

                                    True love means being there even when life gets unbearably hard

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                                    shoulder to cry on

                                      A family watches the Vermont National Guard depart for Afghanistan. Image by The U.S. Army

                                      flood dog

                                        During a monsoon in the Philippines, a boy carries his dog to safety. Image by Romeo Ranoco

                                        A woman is rescued from flood waters by a resident standing on top of her car during heavy rain in Chalandri suburb north of Athens

                                          A man helps a woman out of her vehicle during a flood in Chalandri, Greece. Image by John Kolesidis

                                          lunch

                                            A woman has lunch with her husband every day, even after he’s passed away. Image from ViralNova.com

                                            hug

                                              A woman hugs the mother of 6-year-old Noah Ponzer, who was one of the victims of the Sandy Hook shootings. Image by Spencer Platt

                                              rubble

                                                An Oklahoma couple pauses while trying to salvage belongings from a family member’s home after a tornado. Image by Adrees Latif

                                                sister and brother

                                                  A girl puts her arm around her little brother as they wait outside of Sandy Hook Elementary after gunshots are fired. Image by Reuters.

                                                  headstone

                                                    A woman sits at her husband’s grave the day before their wedding anniversary. Image from NBC news

                                                    It means taking the time for long goodbyes

                                                    110321-N-BT887-100

                                                      A man says goodbye to his son before deploying. Image by Official U.S. Navy Page

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                                                      national guard goodbye

                                                        A South Carolina man says goodbye to his son before deploying for Afghanistan. Image by The National Guard

                                                        saying goodbye

                                                          A Sergeant hugs both of his sons before being deployed to Afghanistan. Image by The National Guard

                                                          And cherishing reunions

                                                          husband home

                                                            A woman hugs her husband as she sees him for the first time since his deployment to Iraq. Image by The U.S. Army

                                                            boyfriend home

                                                              A young  woman hugs her significant other as he returns home for Kuwait. Image by The National Guard

                                                              mother hug

                                                                A mother drops to her knees as she hugs her son on her return home from the Persian Gulf. Image by The National Guard

                                                                True love is letting yourself feel young when they’re around

                                                                elderly women

                                                                  Two friends on their smartphones. Image by Robert Neff

                                                                  feeling young

                                                                    A young couple getting their picture taken. Image by db Photograph

                                                                    sprinkler dad

                                                                      A father plays in a sprinkler with his daughter at Millennium Park in Chicago. Image by Ben Forsberg

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                                                                      subway couple

                                                                        A young couple on a subway enjoys sharing time together, while the girlfriend’s father sneaks a photo of them. Image by Gareth Williams

                                                                        wheelchairs

                                                                          A couple holds hands on a fall day. Image by David Amsler

                                                                          It’s letting yourself be silly… just because they’ll enjoy it

                                                                          silly faces

                                                                            A grandfather makes faces at the camera with his granddaughters. Image by Tim Pierce

                                                                            vote for pedro

                                                                              A woman’s father wears a Napoleon Dynamite t-shirt to make his daughter laugh. Image by emdot

                                                                              True love is allowing yourself to show how you really feel

                                                                              date night

                                                                                A young couple kisses in the back of a restaurant in Washington, D.C. Image by Derek Key

                                                                                playing violin

                                                                                  Violinist Nancy Dinovo plays at a memorial service for the victims of 9/11. Image by Christopher Morris

                                                                                  True love is timeless

                                                                                  old friends

                                                                                    Friends spending some time together. Image by Cristian Bortes

                                                                                    sitting around a fire

                                                                                      A group of friends sits around a campfire eating. Image by New Old Stock

                                                                                      elderly couple

                                                                                        An elderly couple walks down a street together. Image by Matteo Paciotti

                                                                                        Featured photo credit: Matteo Paciotti via flickr.com

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