By Chris Blake | February 18, 2020

Think you’ve got all the makings of a great presenter? Think again. 

According to the findings from our Presenting in the Workplace survey, if you’ve ever had to give a presentation in the workplace, chances are your co-workers weren’t impressed. 

Don’t feel too bad. Your co-workers probably don’t think much of their own presentation skills either.

Indeed, while 1,000+ survey respondents gave their colleagues ho-hum presentation scores–6.7 out of 10–they handed themselves a 6.6 for the same skills. 

Even managers and bosses were deemed only slightly better presenters, earning a 7.1 while giving themselves a 6.8.

Popular Presenters

This should perhaps come as no big surprise given how high the bar is apparently set. When asked to name a great presenter, the most common answers were (in order of popularity):

#1 Barack Obama

#2 Steve Jobs

#3 Ronald Reagan

#4 Martin Luther King, Jr.

#5 Oprah Winfrey

Before putting our survey in the field, we guessed American workers would either demonstrate an inflated opinion of their presentation skills or judge their ability to present too harshly. Instead, through our data comparisons it seems they’re able to make realistic assessments while acknowledging room for growth.

Presenting: A Universally Required Skill

What else did we learn?

Of the US-based workers surveyed, 91% have seen colleagues give a presentation while 79% have had to present themselves, underscoring just how essential solid presenting skills in the workplace are, whether you work in teaching or a public relations marketing agency. 

When asked what annoys them most about bad presenters, survey participants didn’t hold back. Consider: 

Ranking the Biggest Sins in Presenting

#1 Appearing unprepared

#2 Boring the audience

#3 Rambling

#4 Talking too fast

#5 Not exhibiting enough energy

#6 Coming off as condescending

#7 Not involving the audience

#8 Telling bad jokes

#9 Not incorporating humor

#10 Lacking confidence

Presenting with Technology

Only 2% cited poor presentation materials, highlighting the importance of the presenter over the presentation. But don’t think workers are willing to give up their PowerPoints just yet: 56% of those surveyed report presentation software as their presentation tool of choice. 13% still use paper handouts and 10% prefer not to use tools at all.

Of those who have to present to a remote audience, 17% say the video conferencing and other collaboration technologies they use hamper their natural presentation abilities while 33% say the tools actually improve their ability to present. The remaining half don’t believe such tools impact their ability to present either way.

Are you ready to brush up on your presentation skills? Add it to your list of New Year PR Resolutions or check out these online Coursera courses.

Happy presenting!