On one of the trips I did in South Africa I encountered the one-way tour guide.

  • "You can stand here"
  • This was followed by a rehearsed, line by line, explanation of what is on display. I know it is literal because she repeated it exactly the same way later on without realising that we already heard it before
  • End the explanation with "Right, any questions? [no pause] Let's move on"
  • This process repeated about 12 times

This tour guide was obviously new, very young, and mostly concerned that she could remember her lines, and serve the maximum amount of visitors in a day. I doubt that any of the readers of this blog would present slides in this way.

Still, when potential clients run a first pitch of their project to me, it is surprising to see how many ignore body language and simply press on with the story as if they were rehearsing in front of the mirror.

  • One group of presenters fails to see obvious questions (elephants in the room) that almost any audience will have, and proceeds with a general pitch (problem, solution, etc. etc.). For example, you ignore the obvious question: "this sounds exactly what Google started doing in 1998".
  • The other group of presenters spends too much time on concepts that are common knowledge among an expert audience (i.e., the basics of "the sharing economy").

Art: War Elephant by an anonymous artist, 1558

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