There is a danger in trying to be humorous, especially when you have personal experience of how hard it is to deliver a great presentation. Nevertheless, when I discovered that Alan Ruben had penned a classic on scientific seminar presentations, I couldn’t resist attempting a translation for those of us who labor to create material for the Net Promoter conferences. I hope you enjoy this in the spirit in which it is intended, fellow presenters…
When the speaker says: I’m pleased to give you this talk this morning because I always enjoy sharing our Net Promoter success with peers from across the world.
The speaker really means: Miami in February beats NYC any day!
When the speaker says: This has been an incredibly exciting year for us.
The speaker really means: My cardiologist is insisting this is my last presentation on Net Promoter, and my spouse organized an intervention.
When the speaker says: To be fair, there has been some debate in the management team about this point.
The speaker really means: We have an army of mortal enemies amongst our sales force, and they are so very wrong.
When the speaker says: This led us to ask a different question.
The speaker really means: Our budgets ran out.
When the speaker says: I’ll just talk briefly about this.
The speaker really means: I will talk about this for at least an hour. I am unaware that time is finite. I am your overlord.
When the speaker says: This result was completely unexpected.
The speaker really means: This result pissed us off. Two of our program team cried.
When the speaker says: At this point, I went back to the best-in-class practices.
The speaker means: At this point, I instructed my program manager to go back and actually read the books.
…Although, actually, the speaker really means: At this point, I instructed my program manager to go back and read the books, but he just posted some queries on netpromoter.com, so I had to read “Answering the Ultimate Question” for the first time.
When the speaker says: I don't need audio visual tools or an internet connection; I'm just going to give a "chalk talk."
The speaker really means: Me caveman! When me done talking, me hunt mammoth!
When the speaker says: This was just a first wave of NPS data
The speaker really means: I don't believe these results. I didn't even intend to show them to you, but this slide was prepared by a soon-to-be-ex team member who ignored my explicit instructions to leave this out.
When the speaker says: If we're right, this could be a significant business insight.
The speaker really means: We're not right.
When the speaker says: This is a social media “skunk works” program.
The speaker really means: This is what I wish we were working on full-time, but no one wants to fund it. I can’t even maintain a Facebook page for pete’s sake!
…Or: I want to give you the impression that we're also doing incredibly innovative work, though I'm not going to show it to you.
When the speaker says: I've even put together a video for you to watch.
The speaker really means: I'm about to click a button in PowerPoint, at which time nothing will happen. A room full of people who think they're smart -- including you -- will try to help, but no one will succeed. I will assure you that the video was interesting and important and move on to the next slide.
When the speaker says: I'd like to thank a number of people.
The speaker really means: I will now take my time naming team members you've never heard of while you stare at their group photo and decide who is the hottest.
When the speaker says: I'll gladly take any questions you may have.
The speaker really means: Please, please don't ask anything difficult. I'm looking at you, 90-year-old, Methuselah, Nobel laureate-author of 10 books on customer experience in the front row. If you raise your hand, I'll pretend I don't see you and call on the timid-looking fresh out of college MBA tweeting at the back.