Ideo Survey Presentation Fails

This delightful title card comes from design consultants Ideo. They recently conducted a survey to rate the quality of the average presentation seen in the workplace. Presumably hoping there’d be a morsel or two for a PR campaign to launch their online courses, they must have been licking their lips when these findings emerged;

50% bad or awful

50% just okay

NONE rated good or excellent

When then asked why, here’s the quintet they chose to reveal;

Too much text

Too much information

Too long

Emotionless

Boring

Pretty scathing. But then I feel duty bound to comment on the leading nature of the survey question. As Hans Rosling famously used to say, averages are often wildly misleading. The average number of legs humans have is 1.99.

Still, the broad theme – that you seldom see the super – must surely ring bells; “no wonder audiences are walking away bored, confused or unmotivated”.

I first came across this outfit via an inch square copy emailed me of their 1999 challenge from an American tv network to redesign the humble shopping trolley (their own webpage & 15min youtube upload).

Hearing their thoughts are often worthwhile. Note these three successive lines:

“presentations don’t fail because of too little information; they fail because of too much”

“even with a well-defined big idea we are still prone to overdo it”

“the endless bullet-points, anecdotes and data might matter to you, but they muddy the waters for your audience”

Time to rigorously apply those pruning shears.

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