It’s Not About the Slides

March 7, 2013

We develop memorable presentations. Yeah, we design cool looking and even animated slides, but that’s not the lynchpin of a great presentation, regardless of what Microsoft’s new ad campaign would like you to believe. Actually, your slides don’t matter.

That’s not entirely true. Maybe I should say, “your slides aren’t what your audience is there to see.” Your slides, if hard to read or understand, can do more damage to your communication than good. In reality, yes, they can help you and support your message, but if your projector or laptop battery dies minutes before a big presentation, what else do you have?

The answer is, your story. Without your story, your presentation is useless. Without your slides, your presentation is still going to happen. And you had better be prepared to deliver.

So here’s the deal. Whether you like it or not, when we say that your presentation sucks and you need help, we’re not necessarily only talking about your craptastic slides or your rambling and incoherent delivery. What we are mainly targeting is the entire structure and development of your story. Yeah, we can pinch & polish your bad slides and make them look killer, and we can most certainly work with you to make you more comfortable in front of onlookers, but there is something that you need to consider long before these things.

The development of your story.

The development of your story is absolutely the most important part of your presentation. Long before you open up your favorite side presentation program, long before you ever start dumping bullet points into a word processor, you should be building the story. That’s where we start, and so should you.

After thinking that the process was really three important, equal and integrated parts, we realized that it wasn’t an equal process. As much as I would love to have a bunch of new clients to develop great slides for, the reality is that more so than just slides, the process needs to be build from the front end, not in reverse. Remember, slides are support vehicles and not the main vessel for your message. If they are, you are doing it wrong.

Slides are not your script. I can read, so you don’t need to narrate your bullet points to me. If that’s all you are going to do, send me an e-mail and save us both some time and effort. The second you turn around to read off of your slides is the second I tune out. That’s the moment you lose an audience.

So how much should you develop your story? It’s a big percentage of the process, actually. Let’s say, 87%, to start.


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