As I mentioned in my last post, I attended a 4-day technical conference earlier in the month. During the conference, I attended 2 presentations given by CEOs. The first was a CEO of a Fortune 500 tech company. When attending a session given by someone of this rank, you would expect a very polished presentation. That was not the case. The presentation was all over the board.
For starters, there was no obvious structure to the presentation. There was no continuity between each section. Because of that, many of the people sitting around me asked “what was his point?” at the end. With no consistent theme throughout, it was apparent that the structure of the presentation was lacking. The content on top of the structure was okay, but because the structure was weak the presentation fell flat. I felt I was watching someone trying to construct a large circus tent over only half of the poles that were needed to construct it. Even with these problems, had the delivery been done with enthusiasm and energy, something might have been salvaged. It was as though this CEO was simply going through the motions to meet an obligation. Sadly, the group around me agreed that this was a poor presentation by a CEO of a major company.
The second CEO comes from a much smaller company. He had a fascinating topic. He began with a great opening. Throughout his presentation, it was clear that he had a great structure for his topic. The content was interesting as he moved from point to point. Two out of three of the required elements for a successful presentation were there. The third element, however, was really lacking. His delivery was miserable in several ways. First, he was in constant motion during his 15 minutes. He never stood still for longer than 5 seconds (yes, I actually counted after the first couple of minutes because I was curious). Never did he stand still in order to deliver one of his strong points…and he had several. Second, when he had humor he never allowed the audience to laugh. He kept on talking after delivering his humorous line. Last, his pace was too fast to allow the audience to think. He never paused to allow his points to sink in. The audience gave up trying to follow him because it was obvious that he only wanted to get through his prepared material.
Just because you have a high corporate title doesn’t mean you can ignore the three basic steps for creating a memorable presentation. Remember the steps are: