In many industries presentations are “slide decks” created for one person by someone else, often in another department. Often this department is marketing. These are sometimes called “customer facing presentations”. There are 3 big problems when you follow this method of presentation creation:
#1 – Slides are not a presentation
There is an all too common misunderstanding of exactly what a presentation is. By definition (and by how it works), a presentation is a live event. It’s like a play, it’s an experience for the audience. The visuals are there to amplify and clarify key messages, and to add structure to a presentation. They are an important component of a presentation; but they are not THE presentation. Since a presentation is a live event; you can’t attach it to an email. But, you can work with people to help them create the most interesting, focused and memorable event possible.
#2 – Traditional style slides are not persuasive.
Bulleted lists of features and benefits are not persuasive. Even charts and graphs may not be persuasive (because of complexity). Examples, quotes, impactful visuals and especially stories, are persuasive. I call them the persuasive tools. But they have to be the right tools for the situation you find yourself in. Traditional “slide decks” typically don’t include many if any of these persuasive tools.
#3 – Presentations are focused on a very particular audience.
In many companies marketing creates the “slide decks”. Marketing material is by definition aimed at a market. More of a one size fits all approach. The material creator has to assume that all the target audiences have the same challenges or problems to solve. Your presentation needs to be focused on the audience you are talking to today. What particular problems or challenges are the people in front of me facing? With a different audience, the presentation has to be different, focused on them. “Canned” presentations are boring, boring is forgettable. Being forgettable is the death of your presentation.
So, if your presentation is a “deck” of slides put together by someone other than you or your direct team members. Then someone may have killed your presentation.
Very interested to hear your comments on this.