September 23, 2014 08:00 ET

Presentations Are Critical to Success According to Nearly 1 in 2 of Employed Americans

New Prezi Survey Also Shows Audiences Are Distracted; Presenters Take Extreme Actions to Reduce Nerves & Avoid Presenting 

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwired - September 23, 2014) - Prezi, the interactive, cloud-based presentation platform that helps you connect more powerfully with your audience, in collaboration with Harris Poll and best-selling author and executive coach Carmine Gallo, today released survey results which explore the emotional side of presenting and how business professionals deal with this stressful on-the-job requirement, often in extreme ways.

The survey reveals an important link between success at work and effective presentation skills in an age where ideas and innovation are the key business drivers. The ability to show the relationship between complex ideas, reveal the big picture and tell a clear story is now a fundamental job requirement, whether for a weekly team call, a mission-critical business pitch to the boss, or while closing a sale. Furthermore, delivering a presentation can be so anxiety-inducing, that people would go to great lengths to avoid having to give one.

"In the information age -- the knowledge economy -- you are only as valuable as the ideas you have to share," says Carmine Gallo, author of the international bestselling book, 'Talk Like TED: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World's Top Minds.' "Poor presentation skills mean that leaders fail to inspire, products fail to sell, entrepreneurs fail to attract investors, and careers fail to soar. Great presentation skills will help you stand apart in the world of ideas."

Key survey findings:

Career success is seen as highly dependent on presentation skills; however, commonly used slide-based presentations software is not effective.

  • Of those who present, nearly 70% agree it's critical to their success at work.
  • Three quarters (75%) of those who present agree they would like to be better presenters.
  • Almost two thirds (63%) of those who present agree slide-based presentations can be boring and ineffective, with many nervous about not being able to captivate the audience (33%) or create visually appealing presentations (23%).

Presentations are crucial, but who's listening? Emailing, texting and napping are all too common.

  • Of those who are employed, close to half (46%) admit to having done something else during a co-worker's presentation, including:
    • Sent a text message (28%) 
    • Checked email (27%)
    • Surfed the Internet (19%)
    • Posted on/checked social media (11%)
    • Fallen asleep (17%)
      • Notably, men are more likely than women, by nearly double, to admit to have fallen asleep (21% vs. 13%, respectively).

The fear of presenting is real and often people feel desperate to avoid it.

  • More than one in five employed adults said they would do something in order to get out of having to present at all.
    • More than one in 10 (12%) would be willing to have someone else give a presentation/speech at work, even if they lose respect.
    • Almost one in 10 (9%) would pretend to be sick.
      • Women are almost twice as likely to say they would pretend to be sick on the day of the presentation, (12% vs. 7%, respectively).

Extreme measures -- popping pills, taking shots, and yes, picturing the audience naked -- would be considered to overcome presentation jitters.

  • Employed adults would be willing to try various measures, such as try a shot of alcohol (5%), take medication (7%) or picture the audience naked (7%) to calm their nerves.
    • Notably, men are three times as likely as women to say they would picture the audience naked to help reduce anxiety/stress (10% vs. 3%).
    • Some would try a more natural approach to relieve anxiety, such as meditate/take deep breaths (29%) or take a walk (31%), among employed adults.

The survey results show that presenting is a fundamental, on-the-job requirement and indicates it may be linked to workplace success for most, yet audiences are often not paying attention. Furthermore, delivering a presentation can be so anxiety-inducing, that people would go to great lengths to avoid having to give one. It's time to help presenters better engage with their audiences and share their ideas.

"Prezi was designed to help you be a successful presenter," says Peter Arvai, CEO of Prezi and keynote speaker. "Presentations should engage, not induce fear or boredom, and unlike slides, which literally box you in, Prezi lets you make a bigger impact by helping your audience reach that 'ah-hah' moment faster."

Prezi is the interactive, cloud-based presentation platform that helps you connect more powerfully with your audience. Unlike slides, Prezi's open, zoom-able canvas lets you show relationships between the big picture and fine details, putting your ideas in context. Your message is more likely to resonate, motivate, and be remembered, whether you're delivering a sales pitch to a high-value client or a TED Talk to the world's foremost thinkers. Founded in 2009, and with offices in San Francisco and Budapest, Prezi now fosters a community of over 45 million users and over 120 million prezis around the world. With investors including TED Conferences and Accel Partners, Prezi is in the business of making presenters great.

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Prezi from August 5-7, 2014 among 2,031 adults ages 18 and older, among whom 984 are employed. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact

About Nielsen & The Harris Poll
On February 3, 2014, Nielsen acquired Harris Interactive and The Harris Poll. Nielsen Holdings N.V. is a global information and measurement company with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence and mobile measurement. Nielsen has a presence in approximately 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA and Diemen, the Netherlands. For more information, visit

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