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Snoozing Through Presentations

In a recent online poll of 382 business managers, most admitted to falling asleep, or being sleepy, during business presentations, especially individual speeches and training sessions, according to the data-visualization firm that did the survey.

SAN JOSE, Calif. — In a recent online poll of 382 business managers, some 71 percent of respondents said that they have fallen asleep or been sleepy during an “uninteresting” presentation, according to a survey by Infommersion Inc.

Some 43 percent of respondents have caught other people dozing, according to Infommersion (San Diego), a developer of data visualization software.

The most difficult types of presentations to remain fully awake through were individual speeches (35 percent), followed by training sessions (23 percent) and then general meetings (16 percent), according to the software firm.

Webcasts revealed themselves as the easiest type of conference to stay alert throughout, with only 11 percent of respondents saying they found this difficult to sit through, according to the company.

Survey participants agreed that the most important ingredient for success was an “animated and enthusiastic” speaker (51 percent), with an “interesting and interactive” presentation gaining 36 percent of the votes. Finally, 3 percent of those polled said it helped if the presenter was “good looking.”

"Keeping people's interest during a lengthy, or even short presentation can often be quite a challenge, as our poll suggests," said Santiago Becerra, CEO of Infommersion, in a statement.

"Most complaints revolve around presenters who don't have that much personality or enthusiasm and presentations which are very text heavy and don't make good use of graphics and animation,” he said. “ Having a slide show that makes good use of data visualization tools can make the difference between holding an audience's attention and making an impact, or lulling people to sleep and thereby potentially wasting a good business opportunity."

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