Post-Presentation Comments

It’s been a long time since I have had to do a presentation for work.  I’m very happy about this.  Yes–I am a pastor and preach 3 sermons per week, but preaching is not the same as doing presentations.  I have tried to explain this to numerous people without success. 

Them: “Why are you so worried?  You speak in front of people all of the time.”

Me: “When I preach I am relying on the truth of the Bible and the power of the Holy Spirit.  When I do a presentation I am relying on figures that have been pulled off of spreadsheets by people who quit caring about their jobs while I was still trying to get a girlfriend in middle school and the fact that most of the people I am speaking to are so mesmerized with the size of my head that they fail to hear most of what I say.”

Them:  “Sorry–what were you saying?  By the way, you have a huge head.”

While my explanation to my questioning co-workers is the main reason why I dislike doing presentations, there is another reason that probably applies to other people:  the post-presentation comments.

If you are coerced into doing a work presentation, at least 75% of those in attendance will feel the need to say something to you afterward.  And 100% of those people will not mean exactly what they say.  How do I know this?  First-hand experience.

I know something else that is even more important–I know what they really mean when they say what  they don’t really mean.  Here are a few of my favorites.

1.  “That was interesting.”  This really means: “I know I see you in the lunch room from time to time and we give each other head nods, but I just wasn’t interested in what you had to say.  It’s not you; it’s me.  I went to bed to late last night because I was watching the first season of The Love Boat that Netflix sent us.  Gopher is a hoot!  Next time I do a presentation feel free to zone out on me just like I zoned out on you.  By the way, you have a huge head.”

2.  “Your presentation skills have really improved.”  This really means:  “Your last presentation was so awful that during it I tried to think of what could possibly be worse.  I came up with a scenario in which I fall into a meat grinder, become slices of bologna, and get eaten by little kids with dirty hands.  Your presentation wasn’t as bad this time–I only considered stabbing you with my pen twice.  By the way, you have a huge head.”

3.  “I liked your illustrations.”  This really means:  “I wasn’t smart enough to keep up when you were talking about numbers and ideas and stuff.  By the  way, you have a huge head.”

4.  “You remind me of someone–I just can’t think of who.”  This really means: “I know exactly who you remind me of, but since it is unflattering I have chosen not to say exactly what ugly/weird/hateful person could be your twin.  But I will definitely tell everyone else and make fun of you behind your back.  By the way, you have a huge head.”

I fully realize that this may not be completely accurate.  Maybe some of the people who make comments to me after presentations are sincere.  Maybe a few of them actually tell the truth.  .

Thankfully, Jesus always tells the truth.

He tells the truth about Himself–He loves and cares for us more than we could ever imagine.

He tells the truth about us–we have all sinned and fallen far short of His glory.

He tells the truth about salvation–it is only through Him.

He tells the truth about everything.

Because He is the Truth.

I may not be able to believe everything people say to me after presentations, but I can always believe what Jesus says.   

And He probably thinks I have a huge head, too.

(What are some things you have said to people after presentations and what did you really mean?  What is the strangest thing anyone has ever said to you?  What are some true things about you?  Share away!)

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43 thoughts on “Post-Presentation Comments

  1. What about those post-sermon comments? “This was the best sermon you ever preached.” (heard this one 2 weeks ago) I have been here over 5 years and 1) you can remember that much? and 2) what were the others…chopped liver? And yes, thankfully, Jesus tells the truth…ALWAYS. Good humor as always Matt.

  2. This is spot on. I try to tell my boss that he did a good job after a presentation…unless I don’t think he did. When I don’t he often comes to my office to make sure everything is ok. It’s so hard to not lie when a presentation stinks.

    The worst comment for me is when someone adds actually. You were actually funny, or that was actually a good idea are two comments that I’ve heard. It makes me want to actually punch them in the throat.

  3. I’m sitting here trying to recall if I’ve ever made a presentation. I’m not sure I have. I’ve attended a client conference or two before, but usually as the ‘guy who adds in comments’ not the ‘guy who makes the pitch’. One benefit of being a programmer is no one expects you to talk to real people most of the time. 😉

  4. Last year I heard, “Son, one day you will be an okay preacher.”

    And not to long ago I heard, “That was a great message, it didn’t apply to me, but I liked it.”

  5. I’m not a fan of presentations either. For me, I feel like I need to prep for hours just to start to feel confident in presenting…

    And, I have a big head too–a physically large cranium.

  6. That was hilarious!
    I’ve given a few presentations in my day and have totally heard these before.

    Thank you for the translation.

    I wear a 7 7/8 so I feel your pain on the hat size thing. “One size fits all” is false advertising.

  7. “That is an interesting way of looking at it” Which means I would have done it the complete opposite, and it would have been better. Usually comes from the people who have all the answers and always look to ruffle feathers.

    True thing about me..I love reading, and a good cup of coffee!

  8. Just the idea of doing a presentation used to make me sweaty-palmed and queasy. Now, since I’ve been called on to do “trainings” at work, not so much. I’m actually OK with it.

    The ones that kinda get to me are when the bigwigs are doing a presentation, something goes wrong, and I’ve got an audience watching me fix whatever technical emergency is going down.

    • Ha, I love the las bit, Chad. That reminds me of several years ago when I was working hardware tech support, and was half-sitting/half-laying on the floor between two back-to-back desks with my feet sticking out from under one of them. The office ladies got all worried because the *parent company*’s owner’s son was just arriving, and was going to see me under the desk. I assured them it would be fine, and a few minutes later he did walk in. The VP who was escorting him introduced the office ladies and then noticed and introduced me, I offered a good morning, the son asked me what I was doing and I lifted my notepad and told him I was taking down serial numbers from the computer equipment for inventory. He accepted this and went on his way. I was doing my job, so he was not worried about the odd location. 🙂

  9. I don’t give presentations to my employers, i.e. my children. LOL

    But, just last night my bff called me and said she wanted me to pray with her. She was telling me about a situation and speaking. I got distracted and stopped listening. Then, I heard myself say, “I hear ya, I hear ya”. But, it was a lie! I didn’t hear her! I wasn’t even listening! UGH!!! And, the worst test of whether or not you’ve been listening is if you can bring their requests to God in their presence. Oops.

    • That’s tough and I’ve done it too many times before, too. Generally, when I do something like this, I learn from it and do better in the future. Until I screw up again and rely on God’s grace again.

  10. My least favorite presentation experience is the annual church general meeting.
    Because
    1. You still have to deal with all the numbers and shady math from the financial report
    and
    2. But instead of dealing with them in a normal business setting, you’re going over them with church people.
    and
    3. Somehow if you’re presenting, it’s your fault that half the church didn’t tithe and the church didn’t turn a profit.

  11. I really enjoyed your illustrations here! (see what I did there?).

    I am the Steve Jobs of presentations. Which really means that I wear a turtleneck, jeans and a pair of sneakers. 🙂

    As long as you are funny (which you are) people will love you. Well, not you, your humor. They’ll still hate you, and make fun of your head, but they’ll like your humor.

    • That was almost an encouraging boost to my self-esteem. Thanks for that 🙂

      And it’s been years since I have worn a turtleneck. I think I was in middle school and I wore a gold chain on the outside of it. It was terrible.

  12. The word “interesting” has devolved into a word that has absolutely no meaning. Your haircut is…interesting. Your comment was…interesting. You robbed a bank…interesting.

  13. Dude – what an interesting post! I really liked your illustrations – they have definitely improved. You totally remind me of this one guy, I just can’t think who. Oh, and you have a big head.

    Ha! Just giving you crap. Figured you needed all four comments in one. 🙂

  14. Me and a coworker would usually tag-team at the end of presentations to see who could go up to the presenter and say something like “Oh man, that was deep” or some other implicating phrase… to which the other person would follow with a “twss”

    Yes. We’re 12.

  15. the strangest thing anyone ever said to me…is an easy one:

    a girl, from the top of a pile of hay in the back of a pickup truck, looked at me and shouted, “I want my face back!”

    Many hours have been spent trying to figure that one out…

  16. Oh yeah, huge difference between preaching and presentations. Like you, Matt, I’d much rather preach. Wow, I thought my head was big, but my hat size is only 7-5/8. Dude, you DO have a huge head.

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