Delivering Presentations, The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

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When it comes to recruitment, presentation skills are regularly listed as a requirement in job descriptions. So, what’s the standard of those skills currently offered by the UK’s general public, and what presentation experience does the average UK employee have? 

Buffalo7, the presentation specialists agency, recently undertook a survey in which they asked a cross section of just over 1,000 office workers from across the UK about their knowledge of presentations, and the level of training they have received in order to develop this much sought after skill. 

More than three quarters of employees said that creating and delivering presentations made up part of the requirements of their job. However, 41% admitted that they had never received any training in presentation design or skills whatsoever. This might explain why 26% said that they have lost existing customers or clients due to a poor presentation. 

While the survey discovered that 77% of the employees are expected to deliver presentations as a part of their role, a very few had received relevant training to do this. 

Just under 23% of male respondents said that they had training on how to create and deliver a presentation, while approximately 22% of females said the same. 

When it comes to location, the region that saw the lowest number of employees being trained in creating and delivering presentations was Northern Ireland, with 57% of the sample group there saying that they had never been trained. The area with the most comprehensive training appeared to be the East of England, where over 32% told us they had been trained in both creating and delivering presentations. 

The lack of training might explain the bad experience employees are admitting having while delivering a presentation. 

Of course, it’s natural to develop an element of “stage fright” when gearing up for a presentation as you consider what might go wrong. There is always potential for slip ups when delivering a presentation, but the majority of employees have experienced one or more of these in their time and come out the other side relatively unscathed. Of the respondents to the survey who said they had delivered presentations before: 

Just over third mentioned that they had experienced technical difficulties - such as problems with the computer or projector or trying to transfer or load a file that was too big. 33% found themselves having to make last minute changes. Over a quarter spotted a typo on one of their slides while they were presenting. And 18% discovered that members of their audience did not understand the information they were trying to deliver. 

Another 18% found that nerves got the better of them and they were unable to deliver their presentation at all. 12% experienced an audience member walking out. Further 11% were forced to deliver an incomplete or unfinished presentation, and 10% ended up delivering an old version of their presentation. 

It’s important to offer training to your employees to not only avoid such errors but also the awkward situation you might be putting your business into if unprepared business presentations are delivered to important clients or investors.

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