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9 Ways In Which Presentations Are Like Meetings (And Not In A Good Way)


By: Alan Matthews


I spent many years in corporate life sitting through both presentations and meetings. I've also run a lot of courses on how to deliver effective presentations and how to organise and run successful meetings. One thing I've learned is that presentations and meetings tend to have a lot in common - and not in a good way.

  1. They're often organised without any clear purpose or outcome in mind.
  2. They usually consist of one person passing on information to other people who have little interest in it.
  3. They usually take place because someone in authority decides they should happen, not because the people involved want or need them.
  4. The people who have to attend spend most of their time wishing they were somewhere else.
  5. Often, even the person delivering the presentation or chairing the meeting also wishes he or she didn't have to do it but they had no choice in the matter.
  6. They nearly always go on longer than expected because no-one really knows how to bring them to an end.
  7. People are often expected to deliver presentations or chair meetings as part of their job but get no specific training in how to do it properly.
  8. There is technology available to help but most people have no idea how to use it effectively.
  9. Organisations develop a "culture" (which is a fancy name for "habit") of how to run meetings or presentations and people copy what they see everyone else doing, which perpetuates the bad practice.

A cynical view? Possibly. Accurate? In my experience, definitely!

It amazes me how many organisations still allow poorly organised or badly thought-out meetings and presentations to take place, soaking up hours of people's valuable time and costing huge amounts in terms of staff costs. They would see a great return on investment if they questioned the way they do things and just gave people some basic training to help them improve the situation.

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