Slide Presentations Like a Pro: Intro

Checklist of Marketing Professional Essentials

As mar­keters, we are re­quired to be per­sua­sive. Ex­ter­nal­ly, our pri­ma­ry job is to per­suade prospec­tive clients to hire our firm. In­ter­nal­ly, we have to per­suade our Prin­ci­pals, or CFO, to en­dorse and fund our mar­ket­ing plans. Pre­sent­ing with slides, us­ing Pow­er­Point or Keynote, can be an in­cred­i­bly pow­er­ful way to make an emo­tion­al con­nec­tion with your au­di­ence. There­fore, this is a skill that all mar­ket­ing pro­fes­sion­als should pos­sess. But very few of us have re­ceived any train­ing in how to de­vel­op, de­sign and de­liv­er a per­sua­sive slide pre­sen­ta­tion. For the next sev­er­al blog posts, I will share my ex­per­tise as a pro­fes­sion­al speak­er and graph­ic de­sign­er to pro­vide you with sim­ple, time­less tips to help you de­liv­er slide pre­sen­ta­tions like a pro.

Why Should You De­vel­op this Skill?
To be per­ceived as a leader in your firm, you must be able to present your ideas clear­ly and per­sua­sive­ly. There is a di­rect link be­tween lead­er­ship and pre­sen­ta­tion skills. In fact, Toast­mas­ters In­ter­na­tion­al, the world­wide or­ga­ni­za­tion pre­vi­ous­ly known for de­vel­op­ing pub­lic speak­ing skills, has just re­brand­ed with the tagline “Where Lead­ers Are Made.” Hav­ing the abil­i­ty to present well will not on­ly gain you the re­spect of your firm’s Prin­ci­pals, but will al­so serve you well in per­suad­ing your en­tire firm to em­brace your mar­ket­ing plan. Out­side your firm, this skill will en­able you to present at in­dus­try con­fer­ences and raise your val­ue to firms look­ing to re­cruit you.

The Prob­lem
Most Pow­er­Point pre­sen­ta­tions are dread­ful. You’ve prob­a­bly heard the term “Death by Pow­er­Point” or per­haps you’ve read “Re­al­ly Bad Pow­er­Point” by Seth Godin. Pow­er­point is al­most uni­ver­sal­ly hat­ed be­cause most pre­sen­ters de­vel­op, de­sign and de­liv­er slides that do not en­gage their au­di­ence. I’m sure you’ve suf­fered through a pre­sen­ter turn­ing his back on the au­di­ence to read 15 bul­let points. Don’t blame the pre­sen­ter, blame his ed­u­ca­tion. With plen­ty of class­es in Lit­er­a­ture, Eng­lish, and Writ­ing, you were well ed­u­cat­ed in ver­bal com­mu­ni­ca­tion. Un­less you at­tend­ed art or de­sign school, you didn’t re­ceive an ed­u­ca­tion in vi­su­al com­mu­ni­ca­tion. Yet Pow­er­Point forces peo­ple com­mu­ni­cate vi­su­al­ly. So, what do pre­sen­ters do? They re­vert to what they know (ver­bal com­mu­ni­ca­tion) by plac­ing a bunch of bul­let points on a slide. This is the quick­est way to lose the at­ten­tion of your audience.

A Great Pre­sen­ta­tion is a 3 Legged Stool
The 3 legs to your pre­sen­ta­tion are De­vel­op­ment, De­sign and De­liv­ery. Re­move one of these legs and your pre­sen­ta­tion will end up on its rear! You’ll want to be­gin with the de­vel­op­ment of your con­tent. Con­sid­er why you are mak­ing this pre­sen­ta­tion, who is the au­di­ence, and what do you want them to do. Start to out­line your main points and gath­er ev­i­dence, sto­ries and im­agery to sup­port those points. Next, you’ll want to de­sign sim­ple, clear slides that sup­port you and your mes­sage. I rec­om­mend in­clud­ing 1 mes­sage per slide. Fi­nal­ly, you’ll need to prac­tice your de­liv­ery so that you are con­fi­dent in front of your au­di­ence. Re­mem­ber that you are the star, not the slides. If the slides can live on their own, then can­cel the pre­sen­ta­tion and send the au­di­ence a PDF.

Read Next
Slide Pre­sen­ta­tions Like a Pro: Roles

What Do You Think?
Do you have a fa­vorite TED Talk that ef­fec­tive­ly us­es slides?
Do you have a Pow­er­Point hor­ror story?
What tips can you share for cre­at­ing slide presentations?

If you want to see the prin­ci­ples men­tioned in this post in ac­tion, pur­chase a DVD or On­line Down­load of Change the World Slide by Slide: How To De­sign & De­liv­er Pro­fes­sion­al Slide Presentations.

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