Dec 23, 2009

The 11th hour Problem

Sometime back I attended a presentation made by a very senior person. I have attended his presentations before and all of them have left me impressed. But the last one I attended left me with a bad taste in the mouth.

It had multiple spelling mistakes.

One or two typos here and there are fine. It happens to all of us (including me). But five or ten of them in the same presentation? This is something I expect from novices. Spelling mistakes attract unnecessary attention of the audience and reflects that you have taken no care while preparing the presentation. It is a trivial thing but puts off your audience. This is a mistake which you must avoid. I had also included it in my earlier post 11 things to check just before you present.

Why did it happen with such a senior presenter?
Well I feel it happens because of preparing your slides at the 11th hour. He must have been busy and started preparing the slides at the last. In this hurry he would have made spelling mistakes.

How to avoid such a situation?
No matter how much you plan, you will end up making many presentations at the last minute. What you then need to do are two things: 1) Run a spell check once your slides are ready, and 2) Always go through your slides slowly in slideshow mode; after your slides are complete.

It would be better if you ask a colleague to review the slides. Your familiarity with the slides will make you overlook some of the typos.

Do you still end up making spelling mistakes in your presentations? What are the steps you take to avoid them?


Image courtesy: Chris Sharp