Beating Death by PowerPoint - A Beginners Guide


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A handy guide to how to navigate your way around the choppy waters of Death by PowerPoint.

Useful hints, tips and general guidance on how to swerve a blizzard of bullet points and get rid of cliched clipart for your next presentation.

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Beating Death by PowerPoint - A Beginners Guide

  1. 1. BeatingDeath by PowerPointin your businessAn introduction to PresentationOptimisation from Eyeful Presentations
  2. 2. The Presentation ParadoxThe vast majority ofcorporate presentationsaren’t good enough.This strong statement bears witness when youconsider most of the business world heaves acollective sigh when they become facedwith an unending set of slides, whatever thepresentation topic is. In short, the prospect ofa PowerPoint presentation fills many businesspeople with dread.But it doesn’t need to be that way. Manypeople have now realised the value of a highquality presentation – and have reaped thebenefits of leading a charge againstmediocrity in PowerPoint.Read on if you genuinely want to rid theworld of shameful slide decks.
  3. 3. Introduction – The Presentation Paradox In business today a huge amount of time is wasted creating and then sitting through poor presentations. In many organisations PowerPoint is regarded as a hideous creation and the task of creating sales and other presentations falls to the “person in marketing who’s a bit techie minded”. Even in those organisations that take a more serious approach, the end result is still rarely a good advertisement for the organisation.Let’s take the humble sales presentation as an The problem then lies with the singleexample. Take some time to examine just how opportunity you get to make a salesmuch money you’ve spent getting to the point presentation – and the perplexing gulf inwhere you fire up and use a sales presentation. investment between all the steps to getThere are a multitude of costs, both direct and there and the presentation itself.indirect - The simple truth is a poor sales presentationProduct Development demonstrates an inability (or lack of interest) to invest properly in all the stagesProduct research, build & testing, market of customer acquisition.testing, product branding and others In this brief guide we’ll share some tips onMarketing how to change this and in doing so help to increase the effectiveness and impact ofAdvertising, direct marketing, e-mail your business, telemarketing, collateral, tradeshows – the list goes onPeople resourcesSalaries, bonus & commission, training,recruitment and a multitude of indirect costs 2 Life after Death by PowerPoint
  4. 4. How to make it betterChanging the way you pull together your To aid you in getting your PowerPoint up topresentation slide deck can be a daunting the level it should be, we’ve put togethertask – and certainly with a lot of people this the 3 headline improvements you can useonly adds to the reluctance to change. But to immediately get more from your slides.change is a necessity in all things we do inbusiness and presentations are noexception. Scenario 1 Living in the present - Write down what your key message is – what is it you want your audience to dealing with existing remember once you’ve finished presenting? Now make sure all the slides in slide shows the presentation help to deliver this message Ask us what to do with any presentation that is in need of change and we’ll typically come Do a slide sense check back with the same answer – start from – look at every slide and decide what you scratch. are trying to get across and make sure that each slide helps you (as the presenter) to Having said that, we are also realistic and deliver what you need acknowledge that this isn’t always feasible and a lot of people need to work with what Once you know that each slide they currently have. In these instances here delivers what you want – print 2 are the best ways to review and amend your copies of each slide out existing slide set – – one with the words on and one with them all deleted. Now imagine what you would put on the blank slide in place of the words – where this is feasible do so. The less words the better. Now present this to a 056 8528 colleague/friend/loved one/man from the sandwich shop – and make sure that the changes you’ve made help you to deliver the message By doing these 4 things you can radically change a presentation, and make it better to present and better to watch 3 Life after Death by PowerPoint
  5. 5. Scenario 2 Taking it back to the beginning – the “from new” presentationWe’ve identified 3 essential stages to Headline creation – THE MESSAGEputting a presentation together fromthe beginning and have incorporated Every presentation should have one thingthem into our Presentation Optimisation at the very heart of it - the message.methodology - The importance of this cannot be underestimated. Get this right and you’re well on your way to presentation success. Miss this stage out and you’ll be floundering around for the rest of the project. So ask yourself - what you are trying to get across to your audience? Yes, there may well be pieces that sit round this or nuances that add to it, but at the very start of creating any presentation you must understand what this message is. If you realise you’re doing something for the presentation that doesn’t underpin your message, you don’t need it.4 Life after Death by PowerPoint
  6. 6. Scenario 2Telling the story – THE CONTENT Visual Clarity – THE DESIGNOnce you have your key message (and note The last of the points is where many peoplethat you’ve still not opened PowerPoint yet!), start and, with the risk of repeatingyou now need to create a story to deliver ourselves, this is a huge mistake. Only oncethat message to your audience. you have a message and a story to deliver it can you look at the visual aspect.Just like the big Hollywood studios, we“storyboard” our story as part of the Finally reaching this stage is not a license topresentation planning process. This allows us write War and Peace! Remember oneto view, refine and adjust the presentation simple rule – simple is best. Never explaincontent, flow and structure to ensure it stays something simple with something that isin message and delivers the intended result. more complicated.However you build your story, build it you The use of pictures (cue cliché – a picturemust! Most presentations resemble a dogs paints a thousand words…) is good butdinner with slides that have obviously been also refer back to step 1 – your message.pulled together on the fly. Don’t just go pretty for the sake of it.That’s not a story - that’s just lazy..! Ultimately think of what you want toCreate a story you are sure will deliver your convey and how best this could bemessage and then, maybe then you are demonstrated – for example if you areready to open the first blank slide in trying to describe an emotion no writtenPowerPoint… words will do it – use a relevant image and then you can describe it. Your audience will get what you say so much better than reading the words “I was angry/upset/ delirious”. Used effectively these 3 steps are incredibly powerful. By building on the foundation of a strong and defined message, you’re giving yourself the best chance to create a presentation that will not only get your audience to sit up and listen but also remember for weeks to come.4 Life after Death by PowerPoint
  7. 7. Scenario 3Panic time – OK so you’ve got 30 minutes until you have to submit/deliver your presentation. How canthe 30 minute refresh you make it better in that very small window? Here’s how – 1 Decide the one single reason why you are giving the presentation. Sounds simple but it isn’t always - do this and remember it. 2 Cull 20% of your slides. Typically people add slides and words when they’re doing last minute amends, it’s human nature to do so but don’t. Have a hard look through and trim it down so that you say more and let your audience read less. As part of your slide cull – ask yourself one 3 question with each slide “does it help get my message across” going back to the first point if any slide doesn’t help re-enforce your message bin it. This also counts for any slide that you’ve put in because it looks good/is funny/is a great video, if it’s that good and doesn’t underpin your message people will remember the funny slide and not the message. These 3 don’t sound much – and 30 minutes isn’t a long time but we’ve given this advice to many, many people. It has helped not only to focus the presentation but to also focus the presenter – and in doing so has enabled a much better experience for their audience. One point mentioned in passing but worth reiterating is that the job of the presenter is unavoidable (sorry!). We’ve talked about the slide set itself here but always remember a good presenter is worth ten well pressed slide decks. As well as making sure your presentation itself is up to scratch – spend time making sure your presenters are top quality too.4 Life after Death by PowerPoint
  8. 8. So what now?These 3 sets of tips should give a pretty goodlead into how to deal with presentationswhatever timescale you are looking at. Whilstwe wouldn’t necessarily advise to use only 30minutes – it is better than no minutes andhopefully if you do that you’ll see what adifference it can make.One point we can’t stress enough is theparadox of the company who doesn’t valuetheir sales presentation.So much hard work by a lot of people andtaking a lot of financial investment goes intogetting that person stood in front of apotential customer. The lack of investment inthat final stage is a very weak link in anotherwise strong chain. The cost of making itbetter is far outweighed by the return thatpeople see. Make some simple changes to the way you put together your corporate presentations and you could well see a remarkable change in your business. For more information, visit Eyeful via the web at 0845 056 85284 The Presentation Paradox