Presentation No-Nos

I think I was subjected to the worst presentation ever today. The presenter was from that company in Redmond, WA. The presenter’s opening remarks must have been inspired by Steve Ballmer’s monkey dance, only she wasn’t nearly as entertaining.

Apparently, the logistics weren’t quite setup to her liking in Houston, so she gave us remote parties the play-by-play of microphone and speaker placement before she continued on. That way, we could picture the chaos of reconfiguration.

Then, she launched into the presentation with the speed of someone who pounded a few too many espressos. She frantically spoke and wildly clicked at the Office 2003 suite of products. She was connected to us via Net Meeting and we had terrible lag in Findlay. Consequently, the voice we were hearing and the results on the screen were terribly disconnected. With each new Net Meeting connection I could see the refresh rate fall in real-time.

Many people joined us from remote locations. They dialed into the conference line and connected to the demonstration via Net Meeting. It was distracting to see the presenter approve each person who joined via Net Meeting during the actual presentation. To make matters worse, apparently a few people dialed into the conference line and once on the line with us put us on hold. The result was everyone dialed in heard nice relaxing elevator music on top of the presenter’s voice. This music chimed in at several points and was soothing.

The presenter found (during the demonstration) that several of the features she wanted to demonstrate didn’t work. Apparently, she didn’t do a test run of the demonstration in our highly managed environment. She was tripped up several times due to surprises of her own making. At one point , she couldn’t figure out why a feature wasn’t working as she thought it should. She blurted out, “I was talking and not really paying attention.” I guess that explains it.

She demonstrated a few features that did work but was interrupted by one of our employees who explained that that functionality won’t be enabled in our environment. One would think that the content to be delivered would be designed for the intended audience. I guess that was asking too much. I left the presentation early, did some work, and returned at the end to pick up a free lunch.