Don't Present Someone Else's Slides
At a recent training program, I asked participants to give a few minutes of an actual presentation they had delivered in the past.
One participant presented a summary of his team’s results for the quarter. He seemed uncomfortable with the material and when I asked him a few questions, he couldn’t explain certain items included on his slides. Then he admitted that the bulk of the slides were not his, but had been created by his team members.
It is very difficult to deliver someone else’s slides verbatim. It’s like wearing someone else’s clothes – they won’t quite fit you.
No two people will deliver the same information in exactly the same way. The unique perspective that you bring to the material is the “secret sauce,” the magic that makes the presentation effective and genuine.
If you are delivering a presentation that is comprised of slides compiled by others, such as your team members or other department heads, you are still responsible for making that presentation “yours.”
Listen to them deliver and explain the information so you understand it all and can answer questions about it.
Make sure you have the authority to edit the information – for example, if your boss created the slides that you have to present to a customer, get permission up front to make edits as necessary.
Decide whether you will give public credit to whoever gave you the information or created the slides (also known as “spreading the blame” or, more optimistically, “sharing the glory.”)
Never have something on a slide you’re delivering that you don’t know about or can’t explain – this includes abbreviations, acronyms and data.
The best presentation to deliver is one you created yourself. If you MUST deliver a presentation that someone else created, then do everything you can to understand it and make it your own before delivering it in front of your audience.
Gilda Bonanno is a speaker, trainer and coach who helps people from all walks of life improve their communication and presentation skills.
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