A PowerPoint Tutorial.

Will Audiences Clap Bad Presentations?

Always on the look out for presentations we can critique, we thought we'd tackle this one:

OK, I'll go first. The buffoons in the audience will clap anything. Now the presenter will get the wrong idea and probably think that he is good at presenting.

In actual fact, it was a boring presentation. The presenter’s voice was a study in monotone. Lacklustre delivery doesn’t come close to describing it.

The novelty of seeing the words just spoken by the presenter pop up on the screen immediately wore off after … well, there was no novelty there to start with. This gimmick reminded me of Bob Dylan's cue card "presentation" for Subterranean Homesick Blues. At the time, this was original and entertaining, but unfortunately has been done to death since 1965. Hell, I'm sure some people believe they can get even more mileage out of it!

Verbose. Why spend 5 minutes explaining something relatively simple in a concise and compact way, when you can drone on for 15 mins and induce catalepsy in your audience members?

Obviously the audience is techie, and the presenter has used appropriately techie language to communicate, so thumbs up for that.

I’m struggling to figure out what the goal of the presentation was, though. Was it to impart information? Provide entertainment? Was it just designed as a get together/a nice chat? No subject was explored in any great depth, so the audience must already have been familiar with the subject matter. Maybe insights were given and I just missed them...? Now that I think about it, I suspect the presenter's goal may have been to get some air time for his work. I might be wrong about that. Dunno.

But oh dear. The very fact that the presenter used "architect" as a verb turned me right off. Why use a boring old word like "made", when we can distort a noun like "architect" into a fab new verb? "We’ve architected it to mimic blah blah". FFS. Watching him architect something to mimic something else made me architect a voodoo doll.

What He Could Do Better

  • Go to some charisma classes. Putting some expression into his voice would be a great start.
  • Use a pointer instead of controlling the laptop on which his presentation ran. Doing so would enable him to move around more, and even…
  • engage with the audience. Believe me, engaging with the people you are talking to is a Good Thing. Yes, the audience clapped and laughed, but I have a feeling they would clap and laugh at their own funeral.
  • Cut the "Dick" jokes.
  • Presentation aside, avoid buzzwords like the plague. Sorry, I don't mean avoid buzzwords like "The Plague". Not much of a buzzword! "Web 2.0" got a frosty reception, and "identity 2.0" didn’t fare much better.