Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Presentations - What Makes Them Good (or not)?

I attended a seminar presentation today. My purpose was to assess the presenter’s ability and the accuracy of the information being delivered.

The duration of the talk was 45 minutes and the topic concerned some changes announced in the latest Federal Budget. To call it a rather dry subject is perhaps an understatement.

I quickly skipped the critique of the correctness of the content accepting I knew far less of the detail than the speaker, instead concentrating on the success of the delivery.

But how do you assess this?

I could look at the body language and the openness of posture, the phraseology and use of the audio/visual equipment, white board and other aids, but wondered if that is the answer.

I moved my focus from the presenter to the 125 people attending.

·       What was their level of attentiveness?

·       Were they taking notes?

·       Were the questions adding to the information provided or seeking clarification of what was being delivered?

·       Were there plenty of questions and was there a sense of satisfaction when answered, or added confusion?

There was much about the presentation style that did not appeal to me. Some of the sentence structuring, financial slang used, presentation technique and over familiarity did not appeal to me.

However, the audience was highly engaged, participating, questioning and concentrating.

We asses so many things based on our own paradigm, our own prejudices and own desires.

The challenge of the independent assessor is to be able to put that aside and make an assessment based on the effectiveness of the outcome versus the intended outcome.

By all measures, the outcome of the seminar was very successful. Attendees were grateful and thankful, better informed and considerably better off.

Obviously information accuracy and authentic is critical, but assuming that is in hand, it is the outcome that matters, that people feel better off and better able to make decisions and in this case, the vast majority are.

It was a valuable reminder of the importance of judging the strengths of a piece of work rather than applying a preference of style.

A was indeed a valuable lesson and one applicable to many of life’s endeavours.

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