The Whistle has been well and truly blown….

Monday, July 22nd, 2013 by Simon Morton

Thanks to everyone who responded to our call for Presentation Whistleblowers. We’ve been through the replies and with more than a hint of morbid fascination, here are some of the things that are currently keeping us awake at night.

We knew we were in for a ‘treat’ from the first sentence of the first reply….“How long have you got??”

We have paraphrased some responses to protect the innocent and avoid an 18 certificate.

Not one of our Ten Commandments escaped unscathed. Those of a nervous disposition may wish to look away….


Thou shall not throw random facts at thy audience without heedance of narrative.

“I didn’t know it was possible to get 40 bullet points on one slide”

“words in bubbles are just floating bullet points”

“the whole thing felt like a crazy word association game”

Thou shall be clear in communicating thy key messages

“we didn’t learn anything, not even what the presentation was about”

“even the graphic of their company logo was unclear”

“spoke excitedly about a new offer but had no details of it when asked”

Honour thy audience for they deserve to be engaged

“I could have spent the time doing something much more valuable and interesting – such as rearranging my sock drawer!”

“no idea which company presented, or what they were offering, I can only remember how awful it was”

Thou shall not induce migraine or double vision with bad design

“It’s a presentation, not an eye exam”

“white text and light green text in different fonts of varying sizes on a selection of blue backgrounds”

“it felt like they used every transition possible”

Thou shall not read slides for thy audience is not in need of sleep

“two presenters in a row and both read from slides word for word with no explanation”

“It was hot and several of the audience did indeed doze off”

“there was quite a buzz in the room – about the horses we could see out of the window –  the presenter was too busy reading his slides to notice”

Do not covert thy neighbours presentation, make your own the best it can be

“I’ve seen some shockers and some superstars – hope mine is the latter”

“my boss said we needed a presentation exactly like our main competitors, so I suggested we used theirs”

Love thy presentation for thy audience will know thy heart

“the meeting was going well and then they said  ‘sorry about this but the boss says I have to show you our presentation’… oh dear”

“when the presenter says ‘you don’t need to look at that bit, it’s boring’ you know you’re in trouble”

Thou shall be knowledgeable and prepared in the use of technology

“He was trying to sell us a technical service, yet the tablet he brought was an old version and had a cracked screen.”

“Ended up apologising to presenter because I didn’t know how their laptop worked – just wrong”

Thou shall be prepared for thy tech to smite thee by arming thyself with pen and paper

“left their laptop on the train and spent the meeting time using our phone to try and track it down”

“They had forgotten to charge their laptop so could not show us a presentation at all”

Thou shall relax for thy audiences is unlikely to raise arms against thee

“reps first day, ran in – apologised, threw up – apologised, stuttered through presentation – apologised. We ended up looking after him for quite a while…”

“A new supplier turned up late, sweaty and unprepared”

“I was wondering why people were snickering until a brave prospect told me what the background image looked like when other pictures appeared in front of it”


As for the criminals involved, suppliers and internal comms teams top the list of bad presenters and IT departments and Tech companies are the most likely to bamboozle audiences with their presentations.

If any of you are concerned that you might be delivering the sort of presentation that our whistleblowers are talking about, fear not, our free Presentation Healthcheck service can help you out.

And for those of you still suffering in silence, we’re leaving the whistleblower contact form open just in case you need to vent….

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