The Intern Presentations

Last week, I had the pleasure of sitting in for a portion of the interns’ final presentations.  Interns from each of the company’s divisions presented on their summer assignments.  The auditorium was packed by the time I arrived, so I opted for the last aisle of seats located in the back.  I enjoy watching others present as I use it as an opportunity to improve my own presentation skills.

As expected, there were good presenters, alright presenters, and those who definitely needed more preparation.  Since the presentations were accompanied by slideshows, I paid particular attention to them.  The slideshows were extremely straight forward and basically did what they are supposed to do, supplement the presenters’ speaking points.  However, I noticed the same recurring problem from slideshow to slideshow.

The most common issue I noticed was that the font size was too small and the white space was under utilized.  See below.

Slide1

It’s important to not only utilize the white space properly, but also to make sure the text is large enough to be read by everyone in the room.

Slide2

During another presentation, an intern was presenting a graph, except it looked something like this:

Slide3

Since I don’t have Legolas or Hawkeye vision, the graph was extremely difficult to make out.  A better alternative is to just present the graph, and remove the bulleted sentences for use as speaking points instead.  I also removed the horizontal graph lines and labeled the columns with values.

Slide4

As you can see, these are merely just minor cosmetic changes to the slideshows, yet can have major impact to the overall presentation.  I realized that while the interns were gaining real on-the-job experience, they definitely lacked in presentation and slideshow development skills, which is a critical soft skill to have.  Perhaps I’ll make a suggestion to the team that manages the internship program to add a presentation workshop into next year’s program.

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