In these difficult times one thing become apparent to me: Most of my colleagues are horrible at presentations: both at presenting and structuring slide decks/ organizing their thoughts.
Not sure if that's something special to my organisation or not, but I frequently sit in presentations or receive ppt presentations I simply don't understand, not even the main thought.
I read them several times/ try to listen to them attentively, but the authors normally make one of the following errors:
- They start off by focusing on small details straightaway, so I don't understand the context. They jump from one tiny detail to the next one not giving any sort of an overview, which would allow to understand the context. I deal with 20+ different topics every week and they change constantly. Jumping into the details of a new one without any kind of a summary (e.g. what the project is about, what the deliverables are, what technologies it uses, what the status of implementation is) is super difficult to me
- They use too much jargon, not understandable abbreviations or words that are so general that they don't mean much
- They meander among different topics, are chaotic.
How do you approach the situation if the only question you feel like asking after a presentation is: "What, on earth and for the love of God, are you talking about?". Basically, if you didn't understand anything.
I mean here situations in which it's vital for me to understand the presentation.
When I understand a bit, I normally paraphrase: "Just to check whether I understood correctly, you mean that ... , right?". But what to do if I feel I didn't understand anything? Asking someone for the main thought seems rude.