I am assigned to a group that has been tasked to give a presentation. I have worked very hard on becoming a good presenter, taking spare time to study subjectively good presenters/presentations (Steve Jobs, Nancy Duarte, ...) that have been internally promoted as being great presenters that give presentations that we want to emulate in our culture. Our internal culture has been one that values great presentation, encouraging us to study TED talks and give presentations like that.

Some key points we try to build on for our presentations:

  • If we use a powerpoint, use very few words
  • Try to avoid notes (though if you need them it's ok)
  • Talk comfortably (though not necessarily casually)

There is a member of my group that is involved in creating the slide presentation that goes along with our presentation (we must have the slides). They continue to add extremely wordy slides that have information that might be good or not, but can easily be covered by a presenter in their speaking instead of crowding a slide.

How do I bring this up? Do I tell them "We shouldn't have wordy presentations" or "This is distracting from the real presentation: the human presenter"? A lot of presentation do's and dont's are subjective, but we have gone through trainings on how our management wants us to present.

  • 1
    Is the problem their presentation skills or their understanding of how to put together a power point presentation? Oct 6, 2017 at 20:02
  • Are you this persons Boss or mentor btw you should always have notes for a presentation Oct 7, 2017 at 16:59

2 Answers 2


Be constructive Be specific Be supportive Start in a positive way

Hey Joe, you did great work on these slides, mind if we go over a few points?

Then, go over the requirements with him rather than criticize. If he's wordy say

We need bullet point items, try to keep it to 5 lines?


I see you covered all the info on the slide, can you put it in bullet points? We want the focus to be on the speaker, and the slide to be more notes

In other words, show appreciation for his efforts and then tell him EXACTLY what you want, not what he did wrong.


If you are the manager, then I would think you should provide this team member with the training you need them to have to do their job. This could be a seminar, or a class at a local community college. And in the mean time, assign the task of putting the presentation together to someone else.

If you are not the manager, you could request to take over the responsibility of preparing the slides for the presentation. Then do everything you can to lean on this former team member for help where their skills are strong to contribute. In this way seems to him less about taking over his task, and more you learning a new skill where you are leaning on him to help get it done.

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