One of the professional development sessions I attended at the Nonprofit Congress was led by Andy Goodman who wrote the book, "Why Bad Presentations Happen to Good Causes." Now I had heard about this book when it first came out, but had never read it until now.
See I've presented at conferences for the past couple of years now, however it wasn't until recently that I was critiqued on my presentation skills. The Caster Family Center for Nonprofit Research started a great practice with the Doctoral Research Assistants to have us practice our presentations and be critiqued. This process has been very helpful for me...challenging too I might add. But overall I like to think my presentation skills are continuing to improve so it was timely that I attended Andy Goodman's presentation.
The shocking statistics for me were that people think that only 40% of presentations are interesting at conferences. How disappointing!! Also most people rate conference presentations as C-.
Here is the information Andy provided about the bad and good aspects of nonprofit presentations. Academics take note...I think we are the worst and do the most boring presentations. :)
1. Reading the Slides
2. Providing Too Much Info on the Slides
-Audience attention peaks at 15 minutes.
3. Lack of Audience Engagement
4. Lack of Energy
5. Room and Tech Problems
Why do we tend to do bad presentations?
1. We fail to prepare and practice
2. We are in denial
-Andy read off some funny statistics about how we tend to rate our presentation skills much higher than our colleagues.
3. We have low expectations
1. Have Interaction
2. Audience Participation
5. Relevant Visuals
Then Andy went on to talk about power point since this is the most popular medium for nonprofit presentations. He provided some great pointers on how to improve power point slides. The only challenge for me was that I wasn't sure that people in the room got that part of the presentation. We are all smart people but unless we have taken an intermediate or advanced class in power point we won't know how to make the changes he suggested until we are shown how to do so. I'm pretty vocal and I told him that. However, as I was flying home on the plane I was taking to my colleague Rob Hutsel, Executive Director of the San Diego River Park Foundation and he suggested that Andy create a power point template that includes helpful pointers on using images in power point, animation tips, amount of text to include on the slides, as well as general layout suggestions. That way even if we aren't that power point savvy we have a tool/template we can use.