2000-2012 International Presentation Skills Survey Results

As communication consultants and trainers, we’ve noted an ever increasing significance of presentations skills training in both national and international organizations over the past 14 years. In this study, we wish to provide our audience with points to consider when giving their particular presentations, evaluating other presenters or providing training in this area.

We define a Presentation as a quick (15-20 minutes), unidirectional communicative activity dealing more with concepts than excessive details and that goes from the presenter to the audience and should NOT involve direct questions/answers to or from the audience. This can be, and often is, accompanied by another activity known as a “Meeting with Slides” ;.

The original “Meeting with Slides” is really a longer (40-120 minutes), more detail-focussed, omnidirectional, verbally participative Communicative Activity which some individuals mistakenly call a “presentation” and usually includes questions/answers f PowerPoint Master erstellen lassen rom audience members to/or from the presenter and frequently involve an in depth analysis of financial data using templates.

Many trainers and presenters tend to combine both elements together into what they call a “a presentation” which is often responsible for causing most of the problems identified in this study. We believe that it’s far more logical to give a structured overview first and then, if necessary, get into the detailed analysis afterwards. Obviously, when the audience understand the global context and structure of the presentation, it is much easier for them to understand the info and focus on the info in the given context.

The original objective was to spot the key causes why audience members disconnect and stop focusing during presentations so that we could train our learners in the absolute most appropriate ways to avoid these errors and provide a greatly increased communicative effectiveness to your clients. We defined “disconnection” as being when anyone stops listening; starts having parallel conversations (with anyone sitting beside them); starts checking emails; starts utilizing their laptop (or tablets) or some other activity that impedes them from playing close focus on the content of the presentation.

An original study with users of OverHead Projectors (O.H.Ps) and pens was conducted between 1995 and 2000 mainly in Spain, France, Italy, USA, England with 1,200+ respondents. The presentations received in a variety of languages. This study served as the cornerstone for the main one being presented here. The outcome from the very first study were similar to those obtained in this one.

Respondents’ positions: From President, Managing Director, Senior Directors down to employees in Sales, Marketing, R&D, Quality control, I.T., Technical posts, etc. Also included were other professionals such as for instance Doctors, Scientists, Lawyers, etc. In reality, anybody who must communicate effectively via presentations both within their particular organization or with external audiences.

The original stage with this study involved using an individual exercise dealing with this topic on every Presentation Skills training course in both English and Spanish distributed by our organization. The trainees responses were noted on a flipchart and then investigated in-depth during these feedback session where the results were prioritized in order of importance. The feedback notes from each course were then evaluated and put into the corpus of information. We then identified 31 key areas that appeared frequently in the responses obtained from our students and used them in the second stage with this study.

The second stage of the analysis contains the development of a bilingual survey (in English and Spanish) in both a paper-based format and for use on the internet placing the 31 items identified as being causes for disconnection in a randomly ordered list. On the questionnaires, each statement was rated on a range from 1 to 10. #1 indicated Total Disagreement (absolutely NO annoyance / problems or disconnection) and #10 indicated Totally Agreement (great annoyance and immediate disconnection). Whenever feasible, the questionnaire was followed-up by random structured interviews.

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