By Daniel Hunter

UK organisations are losing out on new business due to a lack of proper presentation skills, according to the ‘Art of Presenting’ report from Casio Projectors.

The study questioned over 250 senior business decision makers in UK and cited that nearly half (49%) are unlikely to buy from a company that makes a poor new-business pitch presentation.

The report also found that more than half of employees in the UK (56%) indicate that meetings are ‘not worthwhile’ because employees do not have the necessary presentation skills to keep their audiences interested. Ninety-three per cent of respondents received no presentation training at school, with 41% admitting their company does not offer this type of coaching. As a result, 66% of respondents report that new starters lack the solid presentation skills that businesses need.

In addition to a lack of presentation training, employees are not staying focused during meetings, admitting to distractions with technology; 60% of UK employees admitted using text or email during meeting, 44% a mobile and 47% a laptop — likely due to the shortfall in skills required to make presentations compelling and interesting for business audiences.

Other key findings from the study included:

· Forty-six per cent said they’ve experienced an over-reliance on presentation software
· Poor presentation skills were a mistake that 73% of respondents cited
· Forty per cent of respondents said that effective and innovative use of technology could improve new business pitches
· The use of AV (audio visual) in presentations could have been better according to 63% of respondents

“Despite the fact that 76% of business people are required to make a presentation at least once a month, there remains a severe lack of investment in advancing our presentation skills,” says Gemma Platt, UK marketing manager at Casio Projectors.

“If presenters want to keep their audiences engaged, it’s important that the UK’s overall presentation abilities improve. An important part of this is ensuring they understand how to put AV technology — projectors, PowerPoint, interactive whiteboards — to best use. For example, are presenters using size-appropriate screens that everyone in the audience can see clearly?”

“If a presentation is important to you, the tools you choose should be equally important. Make sure you have the right projector, lighting, screen and clicker, and know how to use them before you walk into the room,” adds Peter Arvai, CEO and founder, Prezi.

Without better understanding of what makes a great presentation, employees will continue to make the same mistakes again and again. As Robert Taylor, director at Robert Taylor Communications explains: “Some presenters rely too much on audio visual technology these days, forgetting that such technology should support their presentation, not to be their presentation.”

The survey revealed there are multiple ways we can make presentations better. Enforcing clear agendas, goals and outcomes topped the survey as a necessary improvement with 78% of respondents choosing this; 65% cited nurturing people’s communication and presentation skills as a potential driver for betterment — and 46% suggested more effective use of technology could improve engagement. Other — perhaps more drastic measures — that were proposed included: banning mobile phones, banning chairs and introducing a standing-up rule.

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