Last night I dreamt about the worst presentation ever. Sometimes I was presenting, sometimes I was watching, but it was frighteningly bad. Fortunately, my keynote this morning went well – and now that it has, I’ll share what happened (including some conscious editing to make sure I cover all of the bases).
Moderator: I’d like to introduce Mr. Baad Prezenter. (resume follows)
Speaker: (taps on microphone – “is this on”). “Good Morning!” (when speaker doesn’t get the proper volume of answer, he repeats louder, “Good Morning!”. The audience answers louder and he thinks he’s engaged them now. “
Speaker then re-introduces himself repeating everything the moderator just told the room. After all, it’s important to establish credibility.
Speaker: “I’d like to thank Paul Blatt for telling me about this conference, Suzie Q for providing mentorship…” The list of thank-you’s goes on for a few minutes, before thanking the audience for attending his talk…even though many of them wish they hadn’t). Finally, the speaker moves on from the title slide to the agenda slide. He reads each bullet out loud for the audience members who are unable to read. He notices that one of the bullet points is no longer in the presentation and chooses that moment to talk about it anyway.
The next slide shows the phonetic pronunciation of the presenters main topic along with a dictionary definition. The presenter reads this slide, making sure to emphasize the syllables in the topic. It’s important that the audience know what words mean.
15 minutes in, and finally, the content begins.
The speaker looks surprised by the content on the next slide.
Speaker: “I actually wasn’t going to talk about this, but since the slide is up, I’ll share some thoughts.” The speaker’s thoughts consist of him reading the bullet points on the slide to the audience. His next slide contains a picture of random art.
Speaker: “This is a picture I found on the internet. If you squint at it while I talk about my next topic you may find that it relates to the topic, but probably not. But I read the presentations need pictures, so I chose this one! “
Speaker spends about 15 minutes rambling. It seems like he’s telling a story, but there’s no story. It’s just random thoughts and opinions. Some audience members wonder what language he’s speaking.
The moderator flashes a card telling him there’s 10 minutes left in his presentation
Speaker: “I’m a little behind, so let’s get going”. Finally, on the next slide are some graphics that look interesting to the audience and information that seems like it would support the topic. But the speaker skips this slide, and several more.
Speaker: “Ooh – that would have been a good one to cover – maybe next time” Finally the speaker stops on a slide that looks similar to one of the earlier slides.
Speaker (noticing that this slide is a duplicate): “I think I already talked about this, but it’s important, so I want to cover it.” Speaker reads the bullet points on the slide. At this point he hasn’t turned to face the audience in several minutes.
The next slide has a video of puppies chasing a raccoon that apparently has a lot to do with the topic. Unfortunately, the audio isn’t working, so the speaker stops the presentation and fiddles with the cable for a minute. Finally, he has audio, and restarts the presentation.
From the beginning.
He quickly advances to the video, stopping only once to talk about a slide he almost added that included an Invisible Gorilla and plays it for the audience. The audience stares blankly at the screen and wonders what drew them to this presentation in the first place.
Finally, the speaker gets to his last slide. It’s the same as the agenda slide, but…the bullet points are in ITALICS. He reads each bullet point again so he can tell them what they learned…or could have learned, thanks them, and sends them to lunch.
Twenty minutes late.
The audience are too dazed, and too hungry to fill out evaluation forms, so the speaker fills them out for them.
They loved him.