I feel uncomfortable when I need to sit through a bad presentations. But there is one things that makes me really mad: hearing people complimenting a bad presenter after a presentation that sucks.
Did you ever have the same experience? It happens to me all the time. I see a really bad presentation and during the Q&A someone starts the interaction with the presenter by saying “Thanks for the great presentation“. This should be a criminal offense!
I want to talk about two things. The danger of positive feedback and the difficulty of saying bad things.
Whenever you compliment a bad presentation you are making the world a more miserable place: because you are simply reinforcing bad habits, lack of skills and – more importantly – you are not stimulating the presenters to learn from their errors and do their homework next time.
Is refraining from complimenting enough to start saving the world from bad presentations?
Well – not thanking and complimenting bad presenters is a start. But probably you should do more than that.
I must confess that I feel really uncomfortable if I have to tell someone that their presentation would need a bit of a makeover.
One strategy that I sometimes adopt is to focus on a single suggestion. Sometime it can be enough just to say that there was one concept missing, one explanation that was needed, an idea that required more time and attention.
But usually when I have just witnessed a bad presentation I don’t always feel like giving free advice to a bad presenter. I don’t feel like empathizing with the speaker, rather I would like to get my time reimbursed.
In those cases I feel we need a polite, human and nice way of publicly saying: your presentation sucks.
This is one of the many ideas that are running through my mind while developing Presentation Hero.
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