Presentations are one of the most used and abused instructional methods.
They are everywhere. Conferences, meetings, webinars, board rooms, seminars, workshops, exhibit halls, online learning.
Worldwide, presentations are the most common method for training adults. (What’s The Use Of Lectures? by Donald Bligh). Most conferences rely 100% on lecture-based presentations.
Remember show-and-tell from elementary school?
You’d bring something from home to show your classmates. Then you would talk about it.
You would tell the class what the object was. Why you chose it. Where you got it. What it means to you. How to use it. And other information. It was your first attempt at public speaking.
Most of today’s presentations are nothing more than show-and-tell revisited. Information is delivered to listeners who have minimal opportunity for active engagement. Instead of a prop brought from home, many presentations are supported by PowerPoint slides.
The assumption is that listening to the information means that you learn it and retain it.
Unfortunately, content covered does not equal content learned.
Presentations Continue To Dominate
I believe that presentations will continue to dominate conferences. Why?
- They are relatively fast.
- They are easy to prepare and share.
- They are fairly inexpensive to create.
- They are efficient to distribute whether via the Internet, Slideshare or organization content capture program.
- They allow the host organization to document that content was covered.
- They allow for sponsors to market their product or services to a captive audience.
Slow Death By (PPT) Bullets
PowerPoint governs most presentations around the world. Every minute slides flood screens.
- Approximately 1.25 million PowerPoint presentations are being given every hour. (Pedagogy Meets PowerPoint.)
- PowerPoint is used to create 97% of the visual aids for presentations in today’s organizations. (Using multimedia visual aids in presentations.)
- Presentation experts estimate a waste of $250 million per day from poorly designed PowerPoints. (Are We Wasting $250 Million Per Day Due To Bad PowerPoint?)
- The average medium-sized organization with about 800 employees loses $133,000 per year due to poor PowerPoint presentations. (How the costs were calculated.)
Unfortunately, the factors that contribute to learning are not always present when PowerPoint is used. Too much text for the mind to comprehend covers a slide. Visuals that augment and hook learning are ignored in favor of bullets of text.
Why Don’t Organizations Invest In Presenter Training?
With so many presentations offered in business and conferences, how effective are they? How many of these presentations offer a solid return-on-investment?
If we are going to live with presentations and they dominate conferences, why don’t more conference organizers leverage them more effectively for learning? Why don’t more organizations invest money in “Train the Trainer” programs, helping their industry speakers improve their presentation development, delivery and use of PowerPoint?
If education is one of the top two reasons people attend conferences, isn’t it time for meeting professionals to budget to incrementally help speakers improve their presentations?
Ultimately, investing in speakers means a return in audience learning.
What are some of the areas that meeting professionals can help industry speakers improve their presentations? What are some things you like about presentations that help you learn and retain information?