How to resuscitate a Death-by-PowerPoint.

PowerPoint, Keynote, Google Slides and Prezi presentations are a simple way to get noticed and an excellent medium for conveying ideas or persuading minds. But being simple to use doesn’t mean that every slideshow is encore worthy.

More often than not, these presentation tools used to bore potential clients into screensaver-faces with insipid rhetoric, after which the clients put up seemingly friendly faces just to avoid another onslaught.

Death-by-PowerPoint is a plight on the economy causing significant financial stresses to it and the people who pitch them. Not many people are equipped with the objectivity to create presentations that sell. Usually, they are so invested and blinded by their work that they overlook the basics of what a sales pitch needs to do. It needs to persuade.

Having spent an embarrassing amount of time in boardrooms (read bored-rooms) pitching to multinationals, globals and SME’s, we’ve seen our fair share of ineffective presentations. Some estimates put the economic strain of Death-by-PowerPoints in the millions of dollars/rands, but to the business that created it in the first place, the stress is all too real and present.

We know a good presentation when we see one. Bad presentations are easy to spot, but good ones are deceptive. Which is why we are called in most of the time to create slideshows from scratch or fix larger agencies’ presentations (it’s fun masquerading as someone else’s lackey, and it pays the rent from time to time).

What is our secret formula?

There isn’t really one single thing we do differently. It’s more a collection of items. Ours is a craft that has been perfected with years of experience and self-debate. One constant formula/overriding theme we do incorporate into every presentation, is the understanding that anything we present will be the first time the viewer has ever seen it. Meaning that they’d most likely not understand anything you’ve shown, follow your process, logic or flow, and even give a s***. So, we question everything.

From every insignificant choice of font/colour/image/transition/sentence or word, we craft everything. For example, your choice of the font has inherited meaning attached to it (hence why Comic Sans should only be used in 4th B-day invites if at all). Similarly, every colour, image, transition and word has meaning, and they all play small but vital roles in crafting the symphony of your presentation. Each slide needs a reason to exist to have an impact or strike a chord with the viewer. Knowing if something will resonate or not comes from reflecting on the work and being candid about its relevance and meaning. The key concept here is open-candid-sincere-brutal-honesty, you need to assess without ego or political correctness. Basically, rip it to shreds and start again. Make it so good, your competitors will want to learn or steal from you.

So to help you out, we’ve come up with some questions to ask yourself after you’ve completed your first draft presentation:

  1. If I was a complete stranger to this slideshow, would I understand what was just presented? (Usually, the people we present to aren’t actually the final decision makers, so the presentation will be passed on and represented without you. Therefore, make sure it’s idiot proof for the best results.)
  2.  Is my logic linear? Does it follow a concise and clear path? Or does it wander off and create new trains of thought? (Hint: stay on one track)
  3. Does this presentation evoke the desired emotional hooks? (If it gives you goosebumps, the answer is most likely “Heck yeah!”)
  4. Is everything that is on a slide really necessary to be there to get the idea? Or can some of it be verbally explained? (Keep the words on a slide to a minimum, people love visuals. We create mock-ups and visuals to help sell our ideas)
  5. Does the viewer have all the necessary information to form a favourable opinion or informed decision? (Try presenting it to someone not familiar with the task and find out if you’ve explained yourself correctly)
  6. Finally, do you feel confident in the potential of this presentation sealing the deal? (If you have any doubt, then something is amiss. Your instincts are your best measure stick for potential success. Find the problem and craft it till your presentation is TedTalks ready.)

Need help with your PowerPoint, Keynote Google Slides or Prezi design?

Give us a call or contact us here. Our team of brand experts are here to help you design or fix your presentation for you. For an alternative approach to slide design have a look at the newly launched Slidify.