Taking it on one spoonful at a time!

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In the words of Ben Franklin

I recently sat through an online tutorial for a work tool that would enable us to host online meetings and webinars.  This is a great idea and we have tossed it around for a while now without committing to a particular product.  We know what we want, and now it is time to find the best product for the agency. We are still very much a live seminar / workshop group for the time being. We’ll get there eventually, and probably sooner rather than later.

I am someone who spends a tremendous amount of time on the internet for my job, so I was tasked with researching the pros and cons of the each of the products on the market to see what will best fit our immediate and future needs.  One way I start this process is to search YouTube for product demonstrations.  That’s the no obligation way to give something a pretty fair once over before narrowing down your choices, so that is what I did.  With one demo in particular, I subjected myself to 6 minutes and 27 seconds of unpreparedness from a presenter who now holds the title of “unprofessional” in my mind.  This person clearly wasn’t ready to record this 16+ minute webinar.  Here are the issues I found with the presentation.

  • Poor Sound.  She was either on her cell phone in her car or had a horrible speaker / wireless mic that she was using.  It was hard to hear, faded in and out, and sounded as though she was speaking through a tin can.  If you are going to record a demo it really should be done in a controlled environment with quality equipment.
  • No Script.  The presenter clearly did not write out her script ahead of time, nor did she rehearse it. A presentation should make the listener believe that you are the expert which means that you should be prepared with exactly what to say in proper, clear grammatical sentences.
  • Disorganized.  This person did not have an organized plan, agenda or flow to her demo.  She was all over the place in terms of the points she was making and the features she wanted to show.  She clearly was presenting from memory, going back and forth between the features she knew and the features she had forgotten to explain to the viewer.

Here’s the bottom line from someone who has been a presenter and communicator for her entire career. If you are going to provide content to the public it should be professional.  If you are going to educate people you need to sound and appear as the expert, not someone who puts things together on the fly.  First impressions can also be last impressions with no opportunity for redemption.  Worse than that, the aftermath of a poor presentation may not be immediately apparent and may come in the form of poor online reviews or even video rants.  Take pride in your work and take the time to put it together in a nice package that potential clients want to revisit time and time again. They will even refer your presentation to others if it is informative and interesting.  Remember the words of Benjamin Franklin when he said “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”