Documentation

Here, current developments must be considered carefully. Using their tablets and smart phones, participants increasingly take photos of slides, whiteboards and flipcharts. The latest equipment enables printing of smart-board content (sometimes produced interactively) in hard copy. Presenters need to be ready for spontaneous requests from audience members to “have the slides” - immediately and in electronic form. In this event, they must consider the concerns expressed in Section 4.1, as well as copyright and other issues related to, say, publication. If they nevertheless decide to provide slides, presenters will still need to check whether these include any confidential background elements, such as comments or metadata, which are definitely not to be handed over.

Reflexion and optimisation

After the presentation is over, it is time for self-critical review. How far has the goal been achieved? What lessons can be drawn, for instance from the presentation’s course, audience reaction or the response to programme features, or with respect to time management? A video recording of the presentation provides reliable feedback.

From the economic perspective, there are valid arguments for not seeking perfection at all times, but to allow occasional imperfection - in line with the “Pareto principle”, according to which “most of the results (of a life, of a program, of a financial campaign) come from a minority of effort (or people, or input)” (Mathison 2005: 290). In routine situations, for instance, cost considerations may accord a low priority to sophisticated design. However, such problems as spelling mistakes or general sloppiness will definitely lead to a loss of reputation.

With a view to “live” integration of participants’ reactions, one may “[w]rite new slides just before the presentation begins or during a break” (Wallwork 2014: 207). Yet the (time) pressures inherent to business life today often mean that the presentation itself is completed at the very last minute - with aid of a computer or smartphone. The speaker may then be forced into “copying and pasting some slides together (also known as a Frankenstein-presentation)” (Morton 2014:18), which gives rise to a paradoxical disproportionality between the (lack of) care taken and the importance of the communicative activity (e.g., in the case of sales presentations).

 
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