Before anyone else sees your presentation, take a second look

As I scrolled through the Washington Post on my phone the other day I noticed something odd:

Editing - WaPo

Apparently there’s a template that’s used by the Post to let their writers know where to insert blurbs.

The Washington Post has been around for almost 140 years and gets a lot of views. My guess is that this little oversight won’t impact the readership or reduce the Post’s credibility.

For presenters, however, type-o’s are a sign of carelessness and lack of respect for your audience, and can damage the credibility of your presentation. 

Here’s an example from a conference I attended last summer. I’ve blurred out the names of people involved, but as you can see from the titles, this presentation represents the work of some high ranking, important people.

Editing - EBAA 2

This was the first slide in the entire deck. What does this say to the audience? If you don’t have 140 years of goodwill and credibility established, obvious and high profile mistakes like this can help you lose your audience’s attention very quickly.

Every detail about a presentation matters, from how the room is set up to visual aids that are free from careless mistakes and type-o’s.

Taking a second (or third) look over your materials will only take a few minutes (yes, I know it’s tedious) and it can really help prevent needless distractions for your audience. For those times when it feels like you’ve been looking at the same materials for days on end, grab a colleague who can lend a fresh set of eyes to your materials.

Presentations can take a lot of time and energy and preparation. It would be a shame to lose your audience’s attention as a result of something that was completely preventable.

2 thoughts on “Before anyone else sees your presentation, take a second look

  1. Brian – great post! Presenters compete with enough potential distractions. It’s important not to carelessly introduce more. Thanks for the good reminder! (As I think about the mistake you found in the Post the other day, I would bet money that The Onion has never committed such an oversight. Not sure what that says about the Post or The Onion, but there must be a lesson there somewhere…)

    • That’s absolutely true, Mark. I hadn’t thought too much about how much we’re already competing for attention (I was thinking just more from a professionalism point of view)… but you’re right, careless mistakes and type-o’s can be really distracting!

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