The Top Challenges in Delivering Presentations

At the end of February 2017 I conducted an email survey of over 4,000 'knowledge workers' (for example, sales professionals, marketing personnel, learning & development staff, and various grades of managers). I asked all of these people the same simple question:

"What are your top two challenges in delivering presentations?"

Over 4,000 knowledge workers were surveyed for their "top two challenges in delivering presentations"

Over 4,000 knowledge workers were surveyed for their "top two challenges in delivering presentations"

For the past 15 years I've been running a business creating highly engaging and memorable presentations and also running presentation skills programs. The biggest issue that kept cropping up on the presentation skills courses was without doubt controlling excessive nerves (and associated topics relating to feeling confident on stage, etc). Given this experience, I was pretty confident that the survey would reveal the same result. It just goes to show how wrong you can be and asking is always a good thing to do...

I ended up with hundreds of data points and am very grateful to those people who responded. This blog post is all about those results.

By far and away the biggest challenge people felt they had were those challenges associated with keeping an audience engaged.

In second place, but someway behind, where issues associated with being memorable and having a clear message.

In equal third place were issues relating to slide design (for example PowerPoint skills) and control of excessive nerves/confidence, etc.

In fifth place were issues relating to developing and delivering a compelling call to action.

Other issues were raised, but they were all of a minor nature when compared with the top five. The first place topic (audience engagement) received approximately 3 times the volume of comments as the fifth placed topic (call to action).

The table below lays out the results in an easy to view manner

Popularity Label Description
1st Engagement Issues relating to keeping an audience engaged, including how to start well, use of ice-breakers, etc.
2nd Preparation Best way to create a clear message, that stands a chance of being remembered.
3rd = Slide Design PowerPoint skills
3rd = Nerves Dealing with excessive nerves and lack of confidence. Issues related to personal energy and other non-verbal communication
5th Call-to-Action How to create and deliver a compelling call-to-action

All this useful data has been channeled into the Active Presence product development system and you'll soon be seeing a brand new program covering all aspects of presentation creation and delivery. 

The exciting point for us - and the reason it's taken us so long to  develop - is that it can be delivered 100% online. So no matter where you are, if you can get an internet connection, you'll be able to get at our unique methodologies and learn how to create highly memorable and engaging presentations.