Presentation Disasters: Don’t Lose Sight of Your Goals

When people think of presentation failures they tend to think of things going unexpectedly awry. Dead projectors. Missed flights. Wardrobe malfunctions. Really thirsty politicians. But some presentations are disasters even when they go precisely as planned.

I’ve been holding on to this video of the Samsung Galaxy S4 launch for a while now because it’s just so hard to understand what their marketing team was thinking. My best guess is that they finally decided they’d do something other than just copy Apple. Instead of putting together a streamlined launch presentation, they’d put on a show. With skits!

The video above is the full 50 minute event. I wasn’t having any luck getting it to start playing at my favorite bit, the Drunk Bridesmaid number, so fast-forward to the 38 minute mark if you don’t have the time or the stomach for the whole thing. As many others have pointed out, it’s at least a little sexist. But to me the bigger issue is that they seem to have lost track of why they’re putting on a show in the first place. Sure, you want to entertain your audience so they enjoy themselves and keep paying attention. But what’s important here is selling phones, not Broadway-level production values.

As you put together your presentations, keep in mind what you want to accomplish. Remember that all the pieces of your presentation (your slides, jokes, stories, musical numbers) are there to support your message. They should never distract from or overwhelm it.

Are drunk bridesmaids going to help you sell phones to women? Probably not.

Molly Wood: Samsung GS4 Launch

Samsung GS4 Launch Presentation

Great Presentations Require Courage

Far too many presenters are controlled by their fear.  They worry about making a negative impression so they create slides they can hide behind and wind up making no impression on their audience at all.

Creating a presentation that’s truly memorable requires courage;  you have to step out from behind your PowerPoint slides and find a way to really engage your audience.  What I like most about this valedictory speech from high school senior Alaine Caudle is that she manages to be highly effective even though she isn’t perfect.  She gets the beginning or her song wrong and starts over and the whole thing probably goes on a little too long.  But it’s clear that the risks she takes and her enthusiasm have totally won over the crowd.  Maybe it’s not the “Greatest Valedictorian Speech Ever!” but it’s probably the best one most of the people in the audience have seen.

Next time you need to put together a presentation ask yourself what you can do to make your presentation stand out.  Rapping may not be a good idea for most of us, but surely there’s something you can do to make an impression.