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Presentation Skills Are Overrated


CAUTION:  Kelly Vandever Tweets at Conferences!

If you follow me on Twitter @KellyVandever, you may notice that on some days, I tweet a lot.  Invariably the reason is, I’m at a conference or professional association meeting.  As it happens, Twitter has become my note taking method of choice.  As I listen to the presenter and hear things that catch my attention, I tweet out a message to capture the idea, attach the conference hashtag (or make one up if they don’t have one) and include the Twitter handle for the presenter (if he or she has one).  It’s become a great way to electronically capture the great ideas and give a shout out to the person and organization that help me gain them.




#NSAUN – The Hashtag for the

National Speakers Association UnConference

On February 19th, I attended an event sponsored by the National Speakers Association called the UnConference.  I tweeted this during one of the breakout sessions:

@nametagscott – most underrated piece of advice is that presentation skills are overrated – I actually agree, ask me why! :0)

@NameTagScott is the Twitter handle for a speaker by the name of Scott Ginsberg.  His session was great!  Scott is an expert on approachability.  I tweeted several sound bites from Scott’s talk.  After the session ended one of my friends, who was in the same audience, came up to me and said, “Did you hear what Scott said.  Presentation skills are overrated.  I guess you’re out of a job.”  I told him not only did I agree with Scott, I’d tweeted about it.

Why I Agreed

Here’s what I meant by agreeing with Scott’s statement.

I think most presenters, professional speakers or not, obsess more over the mechanics of their presentation – the gestures, the ums and ahs, the PowerPoint slides – and their own nervousness when they should be focused on content and their audience’s needs.

Think about it.  Have you ever been in a meeting where the presenter’s delivery (the use of their voice and body language) was only so-so… and she seemed a little nervous… but you got so much out of what she was saying that you took tons of notes?  All of us have.

Audience & Content Matters Most

What’s most important to an audience is to receive valuable content in a manner that we can follow and understand.  Sure we may enjoy the presentation better if the speaker is engaging and uses his body and voice in a way that enhances his message.  But if a speaker spends the time to learn about their audience and focuses on delivering information that is relevant and meaningful to the audience, the audience is willing to forgive weak delivery and nervousness.  However, if a speaker wastes the audience’s time, even if the speaker has great style, the audience will not be so forgiving and will likely resent the speaker.

I’m Not Worried about My Job

Most presenters, particularly business presenters, learn how to do presentations by watching other presenters.  And that maybe fine for most business presentations.  My clients hire me because they need to influence a decision and they know their current presentation is boring.  And if boring weren’t bad enough, they’re not getting the results they need for their business.

I still have a job, because most business presenters don’t know how to break out of the comfort of doing presentations the way everyone else does.  I show them practical ways to speak so that their audience will not only understand… they’ll actually like the speaker better too.

What Do You Think?

Now, I don’t know if that’s what Scott Ginsberg meant when he said he thought presentation skills are overrated.  But that is why I tweeted that I agree.

How about you?  Do you agree or disagree?  Let us know below!







  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Thom Singer, Kelly Vandever. Kelly Vandever said: @nametagscott I blogged about your comment at #NSAUN – "presentation skills are overrated" http://bit.ly/fD5cud – Love hear what you meant. […]