tannoy blog — lack of presentation skills

Are all tech companies incompetent at presenting information internally, or have I just had a run of bad luck?


Every presentation I’ve had the misfortune to attend over the last few years has been presented by someone who hasn’t got a clue about the basic techniques. They drone. They don’t break their droning up. They communicate nothing beyond their own inability. I don’t know what they were doing when they were supposed to be learning how to present at college, but whatever they were doing involved forgetting this essential part of their education. This lack of leadership skill extends from team leaders to senior management; it’s as though no one in a tech company knows how to do this part of their job. If they can’t do something simple like this, what else do they get so badly wrong? What other facts and evidence essential to their job do they ignore? How will their incompetence affect my prospects? Should I move on?

It’s not very difficult to use some basic techniques to make information presentation bearable to the people forced to listen. That the average internal company presentation does not use any of them suggests they’re not interesting in communicating the information, just being able to claim they have. It’s not communication that concerns them, it’s watching their back. They insult those forced to listen.


After all, it’s a mere 4,250 years or so since techniques have been written down, by the Akkadians in 2250 BC, so you’d have expected one or two technical companies might have got round to noticing this body of knowledge and taking it into account. The slight detail that the greatest philosophers, such has Aristotle and Hobbes, and leaders, such as Cicero and Bacon, dedicated volumes to the matter might give a hint that perhaps it has some import. That many great modern thinkers, including McLuhan, have devoted energy to the matter suggests, even today, there might be something to it. But, oh no, upstart ignorant little sound–of–their–own–droning incompetents ignore all this knowledge, clearly thinking they know better (because if they didn’t think they knew better they’d damn well learn it up). Their ignorance of the greatest thinkers reveals an intense arrogance.

Well, I personally have got so sick with this incompetence that I’ve just forgone a day’s income rather than attend another two hours of interminable droning.

Incidentally, I’m not suggesting engineers develop presentation skills to match those of professional presenters. I’m merely suggesting they develop sufficient presentation skills so they actually communicate what they want to say.

ancient front