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Worst of the worst

November 13, 2008

I just finished giving what could only be described as the worst presentation in the history of presentations. It was horrid, absolutely horrid. I am incapable of ‘writing’ a presentation, it’s not who I am.

The 5-10 minutes of opening and the 10 minutes of Q&A at the end I thought were cool and fun and good, everything in between was atrocious. It’s impossible to talk about people, passion, leadership, and all that you feel goes into those things from a ‘script’, no matter how prepared you are.

All my life I’ve been motivated by people the do this ‘unscripted’, I can’t stand to listen to ‘scripted’ presentations, they come off fake and unfeeling and I just spent 45 minutes doing exactly that.

Never again. You only fail if you quit, otherwise you take the losses and learn, and I learned for the last time today that I am not a ‘scripted’ presenter, that hard way.

To the 400 people in the room I apologize for the 45 minutes you’ll never get back!

12 Comments leave one →
  1. fatlord permalink
    November 13, 2008 3:47 pm

    Thats the thing about pitchers. They always seek perfection.

    Im sure it wasn’t as bad as you make it sound Curt.

  2. johnjwall permalink
    November 13, 2008 4:38 pm

    Is there video posted anywhere? I’d like to check it out.

  3. ryssee permalink
    November 13, 2008 9:44 pm

    Oof. I am laughing out loud, because I know how much I HATE IT when that happens to me. Thanks for the confessional and the laugh, and better luck next time. 🙂

  4. billymueller permalink
    November 13, 2008 11:55 pm

    EPIC FAIL N00B! 🙂

    (Gotta give you credit for admitting it, though)

  5. empirelady permalink
    November 14, 2008 2:30 am

    I am sorry but I do not believe that it was as bad as you say it was. I have read all of the eloquent things that you have written here,your thoughts always beautifully expressed,and I cannot imagine that you would have written anything or said anything that was not as great as what you write here. You may have been uncomfortable giving the presentation,and I give you so much credit for doing it,but I am sure that the people in the room do not feel the way that you do,and I am sure that there is no need to apologize to them. Why is it that you never seem to give yourself credit for all that you do,and more importantly make it sound as if you are putting yourself down? Don’t put yourself down! I,for one,would have been glad to be in that room,and as the person above stated,would love to see a video or a written script-yes,I would sit through the whole 45 minutes. As a creative writing major in college,many years ago,I heard and read a lot of bad writing,and I would never put you in that category,ever. Perhaps you are just being a little melodramatic in saying that it was not that great.

  6. jonnyjbones permalink
    November 14, 2008 9:03 am

    I’m sure it was better than you think. Some people put too much pressure on themselves when they speak in front of a large group of people.

  7. ricefan permalink
    November 14, 2008 9:33 am

    I’m sure Curt wasn’t as bad as he thinks. But I’ll bet that he was worse than he wanted to be.

    It’s not easy to be a great presenter, but it’s not too hard to become a good presenter. I had a 2-day session from these folks and it made a huge difference in my presentation skills.

    I have no affiliation whatsoever with them; I’m just a satisfied customer.

  8. jas62 permalink
    November 14, 2008 11:16 am

    No way! You’re aces at whatever you do, no matter how you do it. You can’t be perfect all of the time. It’s part of everyone’s individual charm. Stop beating yourself up.

    Love ya!

  9. empirelady permalink
    November 14, 2008 1:57 pm

    I was not sure where to post this but I did want to wish you a very Happy Happy Birthday! May you have all the best,much happiness,on your special day,in the year ahead,and for all time. However you celebrate,enjoy! I not only celebrate your birthday but I also celebrate you,a very special human being. By the way,remember that age is just a number and as I learned from a man I am very proud of,it is never too late to do anything that you want to do(he decided he wanted to go to law school,so he worked during the day to support his family and went to law school at night-graduating law school at the age of 37! His wife and two children,one of whom was eight,were there to see it happen. He has now been a very sucessful lawyer for 40 years,I was the eight year old and I am proud to say that he is my father). The point is that if you want to pitch another season,or half season,do not let the age make the decision for you. It is never too late to do anything,so go for it! My thoughts are with you,I hope that you enjoy the day,celebrate today,and again I wish you a very Happy Birthday!!
    Donna Blanc,New York City,

  10. November 14, 2008 6:20 pm

    You’re totally right; scripted speaking is the worst.

    I speak publicly alot – both with my job, and with the wine education classes. If it was scripted, I’d have struggled. Off the cuff is great, you know where you’re going and how it’s going to end; everything else is relatively fluid.

    The truth of the matter is that while you didn’t feel comfortable or love it – it probably really didn’t come off as poorly as you think….

  11. newenglanddave permalink
    November 15, 2008 6:48 am

    Happy (belated) birthday Curt. I too turned the big 42 yesterday. It wasn’t that bad. The worst part was telling my kids I was only 29…and then having them tell me how OLD 29 seems. I think we both have plenty of fastballs left in us. By the way, we’re in good company: Mozart, Beethoven, and Claude Monet (among others) all have Nov 14 birthdays. Good luck in ’09. I’ll be pulling for you. ~Dave

  12. November 16, 2008 2:48 pm

    Curt, I think the best speakers actually do a LOT of preparation for their speeches. They aren’t necessarily memorizing text, but a series of talking points.

    I’ve always tried to use very simple slides (large fonts or a very straightforward picture or graph) and use them to base my presentation.

    The very best (of which I’m not one) are so prepared that their speeches seem off the cuff. Very, very few people can speak to a crowd coherently about a topic if they haven’t put a lot of practice into it.

    the one trick that has always worked for me is that once I develop my talking points, I stand in front of a mirror and walk around the room doing the entire speech. If I miss a few points, I don’t worry about it. If they are important they will come up in the Q&A.

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