Why are most presentations and speeches so bad?

…..because everyone else’s are. Simple.

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I’ve been chewing over this question quite a lot this week (yes, okay, I’m sad but voice & presentation skills training is what I do) but it was brought to mind particularly by the (very good) speech by Tony Blair and the (excellent) speech given by Bill Clinton. By general consensus these people are great speech-makers. (I’m referring to the Labour Party Conference, 2006, by the way.)

Equally, by consensus (it seems to me), the quality of speech-making and business presentations in this country is generally very low. It’s a sharp contrast. When I challenge people about this on my training courses it seems to be that there is a certain kind of ‘legitimacy’ about not being able to make even a half-way presentation. People giggle about it in the same way that “it’s okay” to struggle at maths or map-reading or…..

Crimes committed with PowerPoint seem to be accepted in the same ways people seem (often) to accept that it’s okay to do 80 mph on a 70 mph motorway.

Personally, I’m inclined to say that neither option is acceptable - but it is widely accepted like that because everyone else believes the same thing. In other words, making bad presentations is acceptable to most people because everyone else makes bad presentations: it becomes the acceptable norm to be bad.

Lots of people say “I need to make presentations and I’m rubbish at it.. but I’m going to sort it out, honest.” - but ask them “When?” and you’ll get the standard “When I get around to it” in the same way as they’re going to get fit, join the gym, give up red meat, drink less alcohol, take up a new hobby or whatever “when they get around to it”.

Hopefully the bar has been raised by comments this week about the recent political speeches - but somehow I doubt it. People are happy in mediocrity it seems - although that could just be because I’m feeling cynical this morning!

Source: www.curved-vision.co.uk/presentation-skills-blog/

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