2000-2012 International Presentation Skills Survey Results


As communication consultants and trainers, we’ve noted an rising dependence on presentations skills training in both national and international organizations in the last 14 years. In this study, we wish to offer our audience with points to take into account when giving their very own presentations, evaluating other presenters or providing training in this area.

We define a Presentation as a short (15-20 minutes), unidirectional communicative activity dealing more with concepts than excessive details and that goes from the presenter to the audience and should NOT involve direct questions/answers to or from the audience. This is, and often is, accompanied by another activity called a “Ending up in Slides” ;.

The traditional “Ending up in Slides” is a longer (40-120 minutes), more detail-focussed, omnidirectional, verbally participative Communicative Activity which some individuals mistakenly call a “presentation” and usually includes questions/answers from audience members to/or from the presenter and frequently involve an in depth analysis of financial data using templates. PowerPoint Vorlage erstellen lassen

Many trainers and presenters tend to mix the two elements together into what they call a “a presentation” which will be often in charge of causing most of the problems identified in this study. We believe that it’s a lot more logical to give a structured overview first and then, if necessary, get into the detailed analysis afterwards. Obviously, when the audience understand the global context and structure of the presentation, it is much easier for them to understand the info and focus on the info in the given context.

The initial objective was to spot the key causes why audience members disconnect and stop attending to during presentations so that we could train our learners in the most appropriate ways in order to avoid these errors and provide a greatly increased communicative effectiveness to our clients. We defined “disconnection” to be when anyone stops listening; starts having parallel conversations (with anyone sitting beside them); starts checking emails; starts using their laptop (or tablets) or some other activity that impedes them from playing close awareness of the content of the presentation.

An original study with users of OverHead Projectors (O.H.Ps) and pens was conducted between 1995 and 2000 mainly in Spain, France, Italy, USA, England with 1,200+ respondents. The presentations got in various languages. This study served as the foundation for usually the one being presented here. The results from the initial study were just like those obtained in this one.

Respondents’ positions: From President, Managing Director, Senior Directors down seriously to employees in Sales, Marketing, R&D, Quality control, I.T., Technical posts, etc. Also included were other professionals such as Doctors, Scientists, Lawyers, etc. In reality, anyone who needs to communicate effectively via presentations both within their very own organization or with external audiences.

The initial stage of this study involved utilizing an individual exercise dealing with this particular topic on every Presentation Skills training course in both English and Spanish written by our organization. The trainees responses were noted on a flipchart and then investigated in-depth during these feedback session where the outcomes were prioritized so as of importance. The feedback notes from each course were then evaluated and included with the corpus of information. We then identified 31 key areas that appeared frequently in the responses obtained from our students and used them in the second stage of this study.

The second stage of the study contains the development of a bilingual survey (in English and Spanish) in both a paper-based format and for use on the internet placing the 31 items identified to be causes for disconnection in a randomly ordered list. On the questionnaires, each statement was rated on a scale from 1 to 10. #1 indicated Total Disagreement (absolutely NO annoyance / problems or disconnection) and #10 indicated Totally Agreement (great annoyance and immediate disconnection). Whenever possible, the questionnaire was followed-up by random structured interviews.

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