Presentation Skills Training is a Waste of Time and Money!

For so many years, I’ve been training executives in presentation skills and I must confess I’ve been quite a success at it. Whether it was young business executives or leaders at the top echelons in Mumbai, London, Berlin, or Singapore, I’ve been there, done that. It’s a personal mission that I’ve been on; ensuring that bosses became better at their presentation skills and helping younger professionals get a firm grip on that professional ladder that could take them to the top.

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However, there are times when I ask myself whether these presentation skills training or high impact training( as the growing crowd of professional trainers like to call it now!) really helps everyone or is it just some executives who need it. Ask the people I have coached and they will tell you that it has been a great help, having their personal style and mannerisms assessed objectively, getting feedback as to what areas to change, what to strengthen, and what to say goodbye to. Whether it is voice modulation, eye contact, body language or portraying confidence, making the necessary changes is easy when you have a mirror held up to your imperfections.

However, in many cases, it is just a waste of time and money! So many executive just forget most of what they learned and go back to being their old selves soon after the course is done. Only for a few, there is a marked difference but for most, they settle into their old, familiar ways very quickly. What I will say is that presentation training skills are absolutely essential if you want to become a public speaker. And if public speaking is your objective, go and join Toastmasters International.

Adrian an investment banker in New Delhi , invested a ton of time preparing a business presentation to a key executive only to leave after his allocated 20 minutes was up. The client who was the CEO was confused what Adrian had brought to the table. Adrian and his global team thought that Adrian delivered with style and confidence. Business presentations desire a lot more than voice modulation, stance, dressing appropriately, or making sure that your presentation is riveting. Sure, these help but what you need to be aware of is what helps you connect, engage, and influence the business audience is your ‘executive presence’ and not these above content packaging techniques to get the points across.  This is where you need to take that call and decide whether or not you need to spend time and money on these ‘high impact presentation training’ skills or develop your executive presence to get ahead in the business world!

While you do that, here are a few points to ponder over. Remember that there just is no exact right way in which to present at work. Yes, you could learn the techniques of effective presentation but you also need to realize that very few successful business leaders use these techniques. Also, what appeals greatly to a particular industry audience might not to another. I remember  few years ago, a business presentation given by a  senior leader in Mumbai. There was a strong diverge opinions about his business presentation style in the same audience which was a mix from Asia and North America. Long story short, his business pitch bombed!

It really does not matter how great your presentation skills are. If your executive presence doesn’t convey credibility, you will never be able to influence, persuade, and inspire the smart and talented business audience no matter what presentation style you adopt. The effectiveness of your business presentation is correlated to how credible a presenter the audience perceives about you. When you project a powerful presence you in turn display credibility and it is this credibility that helps your business message to come out powerfully.

What every presenter needs to guard against is coming off as fake. You need to let the authentic nature of your presentation as well as you as a person shine through. When you are an expert in your subject and you know how to project a powerful presence, there is little need for techniques or superficialities. All you need to do is to be yourself and let your work take pride of place. Once you make authenticity the main focus of your presentation, you are on the road to a winning clients and colleagues. Present naturally but in a convincing manner. You can only do that if you are totally convinced about what you are presenting. Then, you don’t need other presentation trainers to tell you how to do it – do it your way.


Vikram Kalloo
Executive & Presentation Coach, Mumbai-London


  1. lulu January 9, 2017 at 2:28 pm

    When someone writes a piece of writing he/she maintains a plan of a user in his/her mind that how a reader can know it. Therefore that’s why this article on presentation skills is amazing.

  2. gia January 9, 2017 at 11:38 am

    Really creative and succinctly expressed. Few ideas of influence were familiar, others very intriguing. Overall loved this piece on executive presence.

  3. gia December 22, 2016 at 11:10 pm

    I’m very happy to find this website. I wanted to thank you for your info about executive presence coaching and this fantastic read!!
    I definitely loved every part of it and I have you saved to fav to see new things on your blog.

  4. Rajan January 24, 2016 at 1:16 am

    Vikram your presentation group coaching was THE best communication learning I attended in my 24 years of corporate life. I would recommend it to anyone wishing to pitch to clients or move up in their careers.

  5. Manisha January 11, 2016 at 2:28 am

    As a presentation coach, I agree 100% with your point of view. While training my participants for maximum impact while presenting, I focus a lot on their stage presence. Which is the deciding factor if the presentation is powerful and persuasive. BTW, you are the one who coaches the TED speakers in Mumbai right? Heard about you from Chetna Maam. Great work, Coach Vikram!

  6. HR sucks January 11, 2016 at 1:06 am

    So are you suggesting that success of one’s presentation will depend on one’s executive presence or stage presence? Hmmmm, am eager to know more about it. Cause I do agree that all the presentation programs our organization has organized for so far has not given any great results in creating powerful presenters among our leaders. I at times feel it is a waste of time and money by our learning team.

    Yes your recommendation on working one’s presence is a very out of the box approach and something that our organization should look into then waste more training budgets.

  7. Charis January 10, 2016 at 6:34 pm

    A simple way to make a good first impression.Raise your executive and leadership presence. Cool take away Vikram.

  8. Vinay January 10, 2016 at 12:37 pm

    After 3 trainings with Dale carnegie and no marked results, I think you are right. Such training are waste of my time.

  9. Arya January 10, 2016 at 12:23 pm

    Varying different methods to deliver one’s presentation and keeping one’s audience interested is a big challenge for most of the leaders or speakers. I guess stage presence or executive presence as you stated is a strong variety to one’s presentation style. Does that mean that one should not focus on the content of the presentation?

  10. Jake November 7, 2015 at 3:18 pm

    Hi, just wanted to say, I liked this post. It was practical on how to develop executive presence.
    Keep on posting!

  11. Susan Taylor August 27, 2015 at 1:20 am

    I understand exactly how you feel. Great post on executive presence and presentation skills. Got your reference from the London Mck team. Will connect with you soon.

  12. Aditya July 14, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    I wish my learning and development team and my manager get to read this. they make us sit through boring presentation training programs every 6 months with no impact whatsoever 🙁 Liked your out of box presentation techniques. I’ve been told few times by my engagement manager at offsite that though am excellent in my content, I lack in my executive presence while pitching my ideas.

  13. J Mumbai July 14, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    Out of the box approach to presentation at workplace. I absolutely agree with your views. The typical business presentation training makes us business presenters look very mechanical. Do share more tips to further enhance one’s business presentation skills and of course executive presence.

  14. Andy9#24 July 14, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    I hope to focus more on these powerful presentation techniques for my future business presentations and executive communication.

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