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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