·         20% of office workers start their presentation by telling a joke or saying ‘it won’t take long’

·         19% begin practising their presentations less than a week in advance

More and more UK employees are required to create and deliver presentations for their existing and potential customers on behalf of their employers. And one of the most difficult questions when it comes to delivering a presentation is “where to begin?”.

For that reason, presentation design experts Buffalo 7 conducted new research by surveying 1000 office workers from across the country.

Of those questioned, 77% said that they were required to create and deliver presentations as part of their job.

So what do employees do in order to prepare for their presentations? Almost a quarter of respondents admit beginning working on their preparations less than a week before they are required to present the finished product. And an amazing 3% do nothing at all until the day they are due to present.

However, most of the respondents who deliver their own presentations sensibly begin preparing in good time. 25% start more than a month in advance and 48% less than a month but up to one week before the due date.

47% of respondents say they always practise a presentation before delivering it, 44% admit that they practice only sometimes, and 9% don’t practise at all.

Of those who prepare for their presentations, 19% said that they begin rehearsing over a month before the date of their presentation. 43% do so less than a month up to one week before the due date. However, over a third (34%) wait until they have less than a week before they are presenting and 4% cut it fine by only going through their presentation on the day they are expected to present it.

Almost a third of UK employees who had previously given a presentation at work said that they started by introducing themselves and their team. Furthermore, 25% kept it simple and just introduced themselves as the presenter. 10% preferred to tell a joke to lighten the mood, and 10% simply chose to assure their audience that the presentation would not take long.

Other approaches included offering sweet treats such as chocolates or biscuits to those watching (6%) or making small talk about the weather (4%).

9% of those delivering a presentation felt it best to simply get to the point and began without an introduction.

The study revealed that 87% of the respondents had a bad experience while delivering their presentation. Over a third (35%) mentioned that they had experienced technical difficulties – such as problems with the computer or projector, or trying to transfer or load a file that was too big.

Furthermore:

●     33% found themselves having to make last minute changes

●     27% spotted a typo on one of their slides while they were presenting

●     18% discovered that members of their audience did not understand the information they were trying to deliver

●     18% found that nerves got the better of them and they were unable to deliver their presentation at all

●     12% experienced an audience member walking out

●     11% were forced to deliver an incomplete or unfinished presentation

●     10% ended up delivering an old version of their presentation

Interestingly, 15% of people had delivered a presentation that they had never seen before because someone else had created it for them.

Just 13% had never experienced a single hitch with their presentations.

Richard Barnes at Buffalo 7, commented on the findings: “It’s important to be well prepared for your presentation – after all, technology can be notoriously uncooperative if it isn’t set up correctly, and failing to check through the file you’ve set up could result in embarrassing mishaps occurring while you’re trying your best to win over an audience.”

The survey also looked at presentation training that UK employees receive. According to the findings, 23% of those questioned received training on how to create and deliver a presentation.

Further 18% have only been given training in the delivery of a presentation and another 18% said they were just trained in the creation of one. 41% of all respondents (39% of males and 44% of females) never received presentation training of any kind.

A shocking 26% of those surveyed revealed that their employers had lost a potential customer as the result of a low-quality presentation, with 39% of that group saying it had happened more than once.

Perhaps even more concerning is the fact that 25% of respondents said that existing customers had abandoned their company because of a poor presentation, and 44% of that portion said that this had occurred on multiple occasions.

Barnes added: “The above numbers reveal the vital importance of developing presentation skills and receiving proper training in order to represent your employers – and your own abilities – in the best possible light.”