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Let me just quickly show this…

September 9, 2012

You know how new employees orientations always cover things like benefits, business expenses, corporate policies, and other similar highly entertaining topics? You know what they should really cover? How to effectively and efficiently present in a meeting. Because frankly we don’t seem to be very good at it. In fact, after 10 years in academia and industry, I can’t help but notice that many of us are downright awful. So a few helpful tips for those presenting in meetings.

  1. If you have N minutes to present and you really can’t present more than N slides. Yes, if you’re doing a flip book animation of your amazing new user experience you can get away with it. But the laws of space and time will not otherwise allow you to present 30 slides in 10 minutes. It’s just not going to happen. Please stop trying.
  2. If you find yourself saying “let me just quickly show…”, stop immediately and skip whatever you were about to show. It won’t be quick, and you obviously already realize you don’t have enough time. Skip it and move on and next time plan your time better.
  3. When the people presenting before you run long and you have N/2 minutes to present, resist the urge to try to present all your slides twice as fast. You won’t go twice as fast, and by trying to cram in all your material you’re going to make the next speaker even later. Skip to the highlights and burn the speakers who ate up your time in effigy afterward.
  4. Do not be the person who complains about other people running over their time when you’re the worst offender. You will just appear clueless and unaware. (No, I am not that person; I have won plaudits for bringing meetings back on time by knowing how to subset my presentations as necessary).
  5. If you are running a meeting and someone is droning on and on, it is your job to make them finish so the meeting can move forward. If you are unwilling to do so, please don’t run meetings.

Remember, we’re in economically troubled times. Uncle Sam wants you to do your part for workforce productivity by presenting effectively and efficiently. A more efficient, productive company is a more profitable company. A rising tide floats all boats. And any other platitude that will help keep meetings moving. It’s for the children.

From → Musings

One Comment
  1. Julian permalink

    I always enjoy your acid communication style. I also completely agree with your “anti-tips” above. It makes me want to write a flipped-around version of exactly the same focused on DO’s instead of DONT’s – too bad I’m too lazy and I don’t currently run a blog.

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