The traditional corporate presentation is dead!

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By Anil Dilawri

I saw close to 300 business presentations last year – lucky me.

Unfortunately, most of them were not very good. They were just plain boring and resulted in the most tragic response from their audiences – indifference. That’s right. In most cases when I asked audience members for their thoughts following a presentation, they responded with shrugs of their shoulders. They would say “I don’t know” or some other meaningless comment that really meant “I don’t care.”

These presentations were dead. Not inspiring, not interesting, not informative, and not causing action. Dead!

These dead presentations tended to have similar structures. They started with a traditional and boring introduction of the speaker, covered 10 to 150 fairly random facts, figures or opinions, and ended with a less than dramatic statement like “and that’s it.”

It’s not easy to resuscitate dead presentations. They can come to life with better structure, better slides, better delivery, and better preparation. But today I’ve got something to pump immediate life back into your presentations, something that’s easy, and something you can do right away:

Do something DIFFERENT!

Start with a story, example, or anecdote; put less text on your slides; stand up for the presentation versus remaining seated; cut out 140 of your 150 points and see if the audience notices; end with a summary or a call to action. Just do something different.

The traditional corporate presentation is dead. You and your audience deserve better. What are you going to do to bring your presentations back to life?

Image: The Age of Exploration Blog

Anil Dilawri is managing director of Save it like Sully, an executive presentation coaching and training company.


  • Richard Lock

    April 16, 2013 12:16 pm

    Hear hear Anil. I also see many presentations and share your desire to see the quality improve dramatically. Sadly, I’m not sure business presentations are dead, as you describe. It’s more like they have taken on the current fascination and become zombies – in other words, the living dead.Good job some of us are prepared to take them on.

  • Anil Dilawri

    May 06, 2013 8:29 pm

    The living zombies indeed, Richard. The living zombies indeed!

  • Anil Dilawri

    May 06, 2013 8:33 pm

    All is not lost though. Many clients are willing to devote the time, effort, and resources to improve their presentations. The result is a more consumable message that the audience actually listens to, understands, and follows.

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