Do you also have the feeling that all the useful information about presentations and selling is being constantly recycled? If you truly believe that everything has been said before and there’s nothing left to say anymore, you should definitely take a look at the results of recent scientific research.

It seems that, quite literally, we may be in two minds about the choices we make as presenters and recipients of messages. Have you ever heard of the so-called Presenter’s Paradox? Check this out: “The Presentation Mistake You Don’t Know You’re Making”




  • impressive – amazing
  • fall victim to something – succumb to something, contract something (e.g. illness)
  • in a nutshell – in short
  • overall – general
  • diminsh – reduce
  • dilute – weaken
  • in the eye of the beholder – from the observer’s viewpoint
  • whopping – huge
  • severe – serious (e.g. consequences)
  • bias – prejudice

 Think about it

Based on the text answer the following questions.  Leave your answers in the comments below!

  • What does it mean that people do not add up impressiveness?
  • Describe how people average the impressiveness of our accomplishments.
  • How did the test subjects evaluate the value of the iPod Touch package?
  • Who regarded the $750  fine plus community service as severe punishment? Who didn’t think it was so severe?
  • How can we avoid falling victim to Presenter’s Paradox?


Practice makes perfect

 In the sentences below replace the phrases in bold with the expressions from the original text. Leave your answers in the comments below!
  • So you begin to quickly enumerate your list of achievements.
  • Highly favorable or positive things are diminished or made fainter from the observer’s perspective when they are presented in the company of only moderately favorable or positive things.
  • So the addition of the low-value free song download diminished the perceived value of the package by amassive $65!
  • The same pattern emerges when you are creating deterrents or negative consequences to dissuade people from misbehaving.
  • If the prejudice in presenter thinking is so widespread, how can we stop ourselves from erring like that?


Fill in the blank spaces with the missing words.

If the bias in presenter thinking is so pervasive, how can we stop ourselves ___ making this kind of mistake? The short answer is that we need to remind ourselves when making any kind of presentation ___ think of the big picture. ___ does the package I am presenting look like taken ___ a whole, and are there any components that are actually bringing down its overall value or impact? Three 10’s and a 2 is not better than three 10’s. A free carwash with the purchase of any new car is not going to make your cars seem more valuable. ___ your very expensive luxury hotel rooms offer ocean views, silk sheets, and a Jacuzzi, don’t mention the ironing board in the closet or the coffeepot. And ___ you speak Spanish well, keep your ability to count to ocho and ask where la biblioteca is ___ yourself.


Explore it more

Read the paper on Presenter’s Paradox.

Present like Steve Jobs: