ImageClarity is important. You can be smart and know so much, but you need to be able to communicate your thoughts and ideas to others. If you don't have clarity, it is like a beautiful picture that noone can see. You might as well not have no picture at all.


I spent about 15 years as an active member of Toastmasters, so perhaps I can be a bit more critical when I see a poor presentation. I sat through one recently, and it was so bad, that it inspired me to write this. I started to make notes while the person was talking. What made things worse was the person was quite senior, and by now in their career they should have better presentation skills.



It is embarrassing to have such a poorly communicated message. People judge you based on your message as they receive it. If it makes no sense, if it is muddled and confusing, people will discount you and all your contributions. You lose credibility. If you are a leader, you need to be able to clearly communicate your message to others. If you can't communicate, then your people will be clueless and effectively leaderless.

Good communication motivates people to action, and earns you respect.


Focus On The Goal

The goal is put the audience first, what do they need to get out of your presentation? In teaching, you first define learning objectives. Then you design your program to achieve those objectives. Many poor presenters focus on the technical content, and they take you down a rabbit hole, up the garden path, and very soon everyone is lost. The content and the delivery are steps to achieve your goal. They are not the goal.

Tune In

Tune in to your audience. Presenting is not an ordeal to get through, but you have definite goals. You need to tell if you are achieving your goals, or if you are off course. Communication is not just one-way. Interact with the audience and then adapt as needed.

Lighten Up

Have you ever been in a meeting where the presenter was so boring you were afraid you would fall asleep? Do you recall any of the information the presenter was trying to deliver? If you want to keep their attention, add some humor, and tie it to some point you are trying to make. It can enhance retention for the audience, and it wakes them up. Also, for longer sessions, try quizzes, break-out sessions, games, or anything else that makes the learning activity interesting.