Yes, I have to give an 8 hour presentation. We are opening a new office in Japan. The managing director will be in our US office for 7 days training with each department head (she speaks English). We each have a full day to train her on every aspect of our divisions including staff, skills, tools, project management, everything. The plan is for her to take what she learns from us and train her team in Japan. My session is day 5 so by the time I get her she will have been sitting through 4 days of data dump presentations.

I've given a few presentations but not many, and none more than an hour or so. Unlike most presentations I have to include quite a bit of detail, again this is a training session not a status report. I am keeping my slides simple but even at one every five minutes I'll have over 70. I'm trying to write the presentation to tell a story but that's one long friggin story.

Has anyone else dealt with this situation? Should I change the presentation style from me standing in front of a room with slides to some other format? What can I do to keep my day engaging and educational? Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

jhack's picture

Try breaking it up into 7 one hour presentations, with scheduled breaks.

Changing the style of presentation helps keep everyone engaged. Turn down the lights, do some powerpoint, turn up the lights, go to the white board. Play a (very short) video.

Create interactive opportunities. Have people write down guesses and give a prize for the one closest to the right answer. Create opportunities for folks to work with the person next to them.

Good luck. This is a very challenging assignment.

PS: I assume you've listened to all the podcasts on meetings and presentations, right?


thaGUma's picture

I think Mark and Mike could be best placed here, this isn't a presentation, it's a one-on-one consultation. Eight hours of straight data dump will have you or the MD heading for the window. :twisted:

To get the ball rolling, I would split your day into sections reflecting the main areas you want to cover and roughly how long you think it would take.

Send that over to Japan MD for comment and invite any observations. The MD may able to identify areas where they would like greater attention. You still need to make sure you cover all bases but at least you will have given the MD a heads up on format. You also get a chance to break the ice.

Secondly I would minimise slides. Take John's point on varying the form of presentation and use slides for (in my opinion) less than three presentations. Use notes that your MD can read on the way home. This is different from a presentation as you are one on one and if your MD has lots of these to go through, their memory will be shot. A basic script for each section might be to point out the salient points and ask for feedback on where to expand. If none comes, expand on all.

Is it limited to you and the MD? If you can delegate a section or two to a pier or direct then it will give you a chance to rest.

The setting should be more informal. On adjacent corners of a table so you can share the same sheet of paper.

John is right on regular (known in advance) breaks. The MD has a business to run and welcome the chance to make contact with the office.

Plug in discussion periods after each presentation as well as overall discussion periods pre-lunch and at close of day.

Has lunch been organised, who will sit with MD. What was the last day's presentation, what is the next?

Do a lot of research into etiquette. Japanese society has some interesting approaches that do need to be considered when making presentations. There are numerous websites no doubt and a lot of business has been lost because companies did not follow basic protocol. 'When in Rome' does not necessarily apply.

Follow up. Offer to provide advice on anything you have gone through and continue with a follow up call later. Your paths may cross in the future and wouldn’t it be nice if your actions were remembered fondly? And one of the first things the Japanese MD will do is report back to your superiors/MD on how the raft of presentations went. Nice to have your name singled out.

I have just scratched the surface, it is a good chance for you to stretch but it could take a massive amount of time to get right.

Good luck, Chris.

cymbal's picture


Thanks for the great suggestions, they will definitely help me make the day go smoother.

I had already broken the training into several sections with breaks but changing up the format for each one is an excellent idea. Adding discussion periods will help break up the day as well.

Unfortunately lunch is already planned. We are using that time for our weekly managers meeting, which the MD will sit in on (and which I will be giving a 15 minute status report presentation).

I tried to delegate parts of the day but my team and I work in a satellite office and can't bring anyone with me.

Luckily I have a friend who is half Japanese and has studied Japanese culture. He's already given me tips on etiquette and interaction.

Thanks again for the great advice,


rwwh's picture
Licensee BadgeTraining Badge

Another hint: Read "The Pyramid Principle" by Barbara Minto.