Don't Assume - confirm
I was the MC at an industry convention this week. I introduced and thanked the speakers. Most of the speakers were industry experts. They were not professional speakers. They were speaking because they represented their company. They were there because either their company designated them as the expert best able to convey the product information or they were the sales person who drew the short straw.
As expected some were better speakers than others.
The best presentation used a professionally produced video. The presenter was clearly relieved that the pressure was off her.
The worst presentation was delivered by a presenter reading the words on the PowerPoint slides. This presenter spoke to me after seeking feedback. He readily admitted that his PowerPoint slides were crap. His slides were crap and so was his presentation. Blaming his slides seemed to relieve him of his responsibility for his presentation. He didn't want to know so I didn't tell him.
The biggest surprise for me was the presenter who remained hidden until minutes before he was to speak. As MC I wanted to meet and speak with every presenter before they went on. You can imagine my angst at not finding this speaker – not even knowing if he was there.
By a strange twist of fate he was sitting near me and introduced himself just a few minutes before he was to present. I confirmed his name and topic title.
I introduced him and he took the stage. He started speaking and then stopped. “Where is my first slide?” he exclaimed.
The AV person at the back of the room replied, “I don’t have a presentation from you.”
The presenter retorted, “But I sent it by email yesterday morning.”
What mistakes did this presenter make?
He sent his PowerPoint slides at the last minute.
He did not check in with the AV and convention organizers when he arrived.
He did not take responsibility for making sure everything was ready for his presentation.
Of course I also made a mistake. I assumed that he had checked in and made everything ready. I just added some more questions to my MC repertoire.
Don’t assume – confirm.
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Executive Speech Coach, Business presentation tips from George Torok, the Speech Coach for Executives.