…unaccustomed and untrained

The use of technology in business presentations can always be guaranteed to generate excitable comment (MW October 31) but this distracts from the fundamental fact that most companies have a haphazard approach to the subject.

Executives are faced with a shortfall in support in this area for a variety of reasons. Few companies provide speaker coaching, which is why the prospect of any kind of public address is infused with dread. As conference guru Paul Swan once said: “Public speaking is the nation’s biggest bloodsport.”

In the US, speaker training is standard in most companies and, as a result, presentations are much more polished. In the UK, nobody accepts the role of making sure individual presentations match the time and investment put into the rest of internal and external branding and communication. It is often left to individuals to adopt the very un-English role of putting themselves forward for coaching.

The other problem is a lack of good presentation trainers, which leaves ill-equipped presenters having to tackle complex support systems such as autocues, which should only be used by experienced platform speakers.

We all know that a bad business presentation is remembered for far longer than the actual content. This is not to say that every speech or business address is unsuccessful. Rather, we should rely less on the British attribute of succeeding in the face of adversity and should make sure people are properly equipped for the role as a matter of course.

Kevin Berry

Conference manager

The De Vere Grand

Brighton

Sussex

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