Are you prepared to present?

I attended a 1-day photography workshop this past weekend hosted by an organization in my home town. I went more to donate and support the organization than to learn about photography, , , I’m also always interested in observing the techniques and tools of others who make presentations.

Observing others is something you have probably heard me recommend in the past. “Observe others and incorporate the good things into your approach to things” was one of the best pieces of advice I received from my first IBM manager. I’ve been doing this my entire career.

You can learn a lot from people who are capable and good at what they do. You can also learn a great deal from those who are not so capable. This workshop was one of those.

This workshop was simply awful. Even though I learned a couple of things, it was just a terrible presentation and the following information explains all.

Learn what not to do
Here is a rundown of what I consider critical flaws in this workshop:

  • Forgot his laptop power cord so he had to turn the laptop off every chance he had because he was afraid the battery would run out. It did in the middle of a point he was making.
  • Didn’t verify connection with the projector and ability to view the PowerPoint slides beforehand. As a result, he spent 10 minutes getting his laptop and the projector to sync up, , , he didn’t know how to do this.
  • Information slides were all text on a dark background, , , not interesting at all.
  • Presentation rambled and had no real organization or flow to it, ,, appeared to be very ad hoc with no sense of direction.
  • He rarely looked at students, , , rather he looked down most of the time. Got to have eye contact to gain interest.
  • His presentation was very technical. There were 21 people in the workshop and only 3 or 4 knew what he was talking about when he discussed aperture and f-stop.
  • He didn’t understand who his audience was and as a result most of his presentation was over their heads.
  • He showed some photos but did not show cause and effect of how he created the type of photo he was discussing.
  • There was no Feedback form to fill out, , , so he doesn’t learn whether he does a good job or a poor job.
  • He asked for questions but most in the room didn’t know where to start, especially with such a technical presentation they were experiencing.
  • Had to search for files he wanted to show, , , terribly unorganized.

The bottom line is that our presenter was not prepared to present. As a result, most in the class were lost or did not get much value from the class.

If you plan to get in front of a group of people to present something to them, you owe it to your students and to yourself to be organized and prepared to do a good job.

I’m glad I attended this workshop because it gave me new ideas of opportunities I think are worth pursuing and material for this post.

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