Failing to Collaborate: Presentation Mistakes Executives and Managers Make

Welcome to the third and final article in our series about presentation mistakes executives and managers make. In the first article, we discussed how to choose the right presentation training for your team, and in the second one, we talked about the importance of allocating enough time for your employees to apply their new presentation skills in practice.

In this one, we are focusing on failing to collaborate with your team as a leader and why this harms your business.

This article series is made especially for executives and team leaders. It’s meant to help them make better choices when handling presentation work in their companies. During our years-long experience working with global brands, we’ve seen quite a few managerial mistakes, so we wanted to share the main ones. This way, we hope that we can help our community of business professionals never repeat them.

But even if you are not in a leadership position, bring this article to your manager’s attention. Especially if you are dealing with any of the issues we discuss – do not be shy about opening the conversation.

Now let’s get into it.

Failing to collaborate

Let us start with a real story. Some time ago we were approached to create a presentation for the CEO of a large corporation. Their PR department contacted us and informed us that the CEO needed to deliver a presentation at a very important conference. What they required was that we make it look exceptional.

So, okay, they need design. But that is only one component of an effective presentation. What about the story? Who is going to take care of it? The PR team responded that they were going to handle it themselves. A massive red flag.

You cannot put words in the mouth of your CEO. More often than not, it’s going to be a disaster. Every time we built a presentation like that, we ended up with two presentations: one that the team wanted and prepared by themselves, and the one that the executive wanted afterward.

If you’re part of the marketing or the PR team this probably has happened to you, too. You make the presentation for your manager, and then once they see it, you need to start more or less from scratch after their feedback.

The reason for that is many executives and CEOs today are not collaborating with their employees enough. They are so busy with their work that they forget to communicate with their employees after delegating. And collaboration takes time. A scarce resource, we know. But the lack of it costs much more as it leads to mistakes that are hard to fix later on.

What happened, in our case, is that we begged them to talk with the CEO for even just 30 minutes. They declined, but we warned them every single time that the cost of the project may double in the end. And that was exactly what happened. Because of the lack of collaboration.

In the end, all went well and we managed to prepare a presentation that achieved and surpassed the goal of the CEO. But at the cost of increased investment of time and money which could have been avoided.

So what can you do?

A great example is a project we worked on with an international bank. We worked directly with the CEO and CCO!

In almost no time, we built the presentation they had to present to the owner of their company in a very critical moment for their organization. The results of that presentation were mind-blowing. It had one goal, but the presentation was so effective that the owner even went a few extra miles beyond it.

So, executives, find the time to collaborate! There is no other way. Presentations are something personal. They are not a website – it’s you and your name and reputation on the line. You have to feel confident and comfortable with the story and the design. And for this to happen, you need to participate.

Also, team members, speak up. Encourage collaboration. Explain that you are happy to assist but would still require some of their time – whether you are preparing the presentation yourself or hiring an agency like us to help you. Collaboration saves both time and money.


Remember that when it comes to presentations, training, time, and collaboration are all essential. So, the takeaways for you are to be mindful of what presentation skills training you are requesting, make enough time for your people for the training and every presentation after it, and be prepared to collaborate if you delegate! There is truly no way around it.

We hope you will avoid these mistakes in the future, and best of luck out there!

Now, if you are searching for ways to optimize your team’s presentation work, you can check the free resources in our shop. There are eBooks and cheat sheets that can help all your employees to step up their game. And if you are interested in our trainings, you can explore them here. We’re preparing customized solutions for our clients every time.

You can also see this series of mistakes explained together in a neat Prezi Video presentation created by Boris Hristov, a presentation specialist and founder of 356labs: