Thursday, January 6, 2011

Driver's Ed

You'd never think of letting someone out on the crowded highways without having them sit through Driver's Ed or at least taking a driver's school. The fact is, driving might be something that you could wing if you had to, but there are so many nuances that if left to your own devices, you are a hazard to yourself and everyone else.

Presentations are not any different—though not nearly as dangerous. Maybe.

No one taught you how to use PowerPoint or Keynote, yet you muddle through it to build your presentation. EVERYONE does it.

No one taught you how to develop the content for a presentation, yet we all have data dumped the kitchen sink into slide template after slide, filling it up until another bullet point will not fit.

No one taught you how to speak to an audience of one or one-thousand, but we all have done it with clammy hands and shaking knees. We have all been there.

So when given the need to present an idea, product or concept to any audience, we hand the keys of the family truckster to the admin with no driver's license and let them loose on rush hour traffic. Bad move.

Most of us aren't born speakers. Most of us aren't born designers. Most of us aren't born writers. We are taught our skills by someone who knows what they are doing. Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Steve Jobs, Tom Hanks and Tom Brady—all have coaches who guide them on the proper ways to do things and to improve their craft.

Maybe it is time that we recognize that as a whole, our society has no idea how to give presentations.

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