PodiumWise | Tips for advanced presentation skills

The Internet has made it so much easier to research topics than it once was.

It was not too many years ago that digging up needed information meant a trip to the library or bookstore.  If you were fortunate, your aging home encyclopedias would yield something useful.  Gathering what you needed for a presentation could take some work.

Now, you just fire up the computer, key in a search word, and in seconds you have multiple sources to explore.  Anything you need to know is out there on the Web ready to be harvested.

Easy.  In fact, a bit too easy.

 It takes so little effort to find information now that speakers get lazy about double checking things.  As soon as they find something that looks useful it goes straight into their presentation.  Only later, after their credibility has been damaged, do they learn that the “facts” they reported were inaccurate.

Information on the Web can be seriously unreliable.  And, because it can be so easily picked up and spread, you can’t rely on its popularity as proof that it’s right.  You need to seek out trustworthy sources for verification.

For an earlier blog post I needed a quotation from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.  I quickly found it on a website and was all set to include it in my message when I had second thoughts.  Sure enough, the website I had used attributed the quote to the wrong character in the book.

The Web has made it possible to create rich presentations full of interesting references.  At the same time it has made it all too easy to unwittingly include bogus material.  

Check.  Double-check.  Credibility is a precious thing to lose.

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