IS YOUR PRESENTATION A DOG’S BREAKFAST?

Genelle King Heim
3 min readNov 4, 2023

A former manager of mine used to use the term “a dog’s breakfast” to aptly describe some of the presentations that engineers would give.

Their slides would be covered in complex and convoluted data. They lost their audience in nanoseconds.

I’m passionate about bad presentations, mostly because they’re a waste of my time.

Too often presenters do a brain dump and transfer every thought in their heads onto the slide, too lazy to curate or edit the content into a compelling narrative.

They don’t bother to do the hard work of thinking through how the story will flow from one slide to the next and how to use stories and pauses to entertain and engage the audience.

A well-done speech or presentation can do wonders to elevate your personal brand and engage your audience.

The compelling speeches and presentations of people like Steve Jobs, JFK, MLK, Winston Churchill transcend time.

The power of words to move and motivate people endures, so make it worth your audience’s time.

Here are a few tips I’ve learned over the years that you may not find elsewhere:

1) Your audience can listen to you or read your slide. Choose one.

Complex slides with loads of data require focus and interpretation. If your audience is trying to figure out what is on the slide, they are not listening to what you are saying. Don’t make the audience have to work hard to get your point.

2) Practice five times through start to finish

Before giving a presentation, practice it start to finish five times. When practicing, presenters tend to start off strong and then when they stumble a few slides in, they start over. As a result, they end up knowing the first few slides really well, but blunder through the middle and end. Force yourself to get through the presentation, start to finish, five times. You’ll know all of the content by the time you’ve completed your 5thrun through.

3) Use silence

Taking a break between thoughts or to make a point snaps the audience’s attention back into place. People who had drifted off suddenly tune back in when you take a break. Take a breath, walk across the stage, or just take a strategic pause and the audience will suddenly snap back into focus to see if you’ve frozen or there’s been some catastrophic failure. Use this human impulse to your advantage.

Because communicating is something everyone does, everyone thinks they are good at it.

It’s like Garrison Keillor’s description of Lake Wobegon “where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.”

Take the time to make your presentations and speeches memorable.

It will both elevate your personal brand and make good use of the gift of time and attention that the audience has given to you.

When you’re ready, there are two ways I can help:

1) I highly recommend the same 2-hour course ($150) I used to get started posting on LinkedIn (affiliate link): THE LINKEDIN OPERATING SYSTEM

2) I can manage your social presence for you, or we can work together to help you create a content system, tell your stories and amplify your brand: GHEIM@GRAYSONHAYDEN.COM

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Genelle King Heim

Strategy and Storytelling, Human Nature and Communications. Playing the long game. https://www.graysonhayden.com/newsletter