Have Your Presentation Ready, Always
Have Your Presentation Ready, Always
Having your presentation ready will help you show your audience that you care about them and what you’re talking to them about.
So, it’s funny. One of the things I talk about a lot when I’m training people on branding and everything is about being ready. Being ready for every instance and stuff like that, for what could possibly happen. Granted, you won’t be 100% prepared for every instance of something that can happen, but there’s certain things that you should always be prepared for. I’ve talked before about business cards and touchpoints and making sure stuff’s ready, but there’s one area that I find almost humorous in the fact that most people aren’t ready for it.
Now, this might go into the fact that a lot of people are scared of public speaking, but what it is, is it’s having a presentation. Having your slide deck, as some people call it … your PowerPoint slides, your Keynote presentation, whatever you want to call it … having that ready. What’s interesting is how many people who label themselves as experts tend to fail almost humorously at their lack of preparing for a presentation. I realized this a couple years ago. I was working with somebody … and a lot of people will come to me and ask me to redo their slide decks or presentations, whatever you want to call it. And this wasn’t any different. This individual had given me a 98-page slide deck that he was planning on only presenting for about 30 minutes. Quick rule of thumb … If you have 98 slides and you only have 30 minutes, you have too many slides.
But what was interesting is, because this person was in such a hurry, I was up until about 4:00, 4:30 in the morning, working on this deck. The next day, go in and I sit down with him and I’m going through everything … When I was done I had emailed it to him so that way he could look at it first thing in the morning. We weren’t going to meet until about 10:00. And by the time I had gotten back with him, I had narrowed his slide deck down to a comparable number of slides for what he was presenting. He went back in and added about 20 of the slides, even though the information was being redundant at that point, because it had been condensed down. The amount of information that he had was just too much for people to read.
He also is one of those individuals who likes to put all the information of what he’s saying up on a slide deck. If you do that, there’s no point in you giving the presentation. Just give them the slide deck and save them a half an hour of you reading to them what you’re talking to them about.
It’s always just really been in the back of my mind of how unprepared people are. Recently I was at a conference … I love going to conferences and stuff like that because, as a brander and a marketer and everything, I look for mistakes. It’s one of my favorite things to do is to go and see what people have done incorrectly. And there was a bunch. At this conference there was a bunch of people who were presenting every single day, and what was interesting is how many times I heard or saw the person click through a whole bunch of slides. Even hearing them say, “Oh, I must have loaded the wrong deck.” Be prepared. You have to be prepared.
Because one, if you go to a conference or anything and you do that, where you click through and you’re quick to own up to the fact that you weren’t really prepared for the presentation, you’re sending the message to people that you didn’t really care about who was in attendance. That you weren’t taking the time to tailor your message for them. People want to be considered the center of attention. Even in a room of 1000 people, 2000 people, people still want to be the center of attention. They want to feel like the information that they’re getting is for them, not for the whole of everybody that’s there. That’s what helps people feel trust in the company, where they feel like the company is looking out for their best interest.
So I would recommend that if you have a slide deck, one, if it’s 90 some odd pages, just reduce the number of slides. Unless you’re giving like an hour-long, an hour-and-a-half-long presentation, just cut back on the number of slides. Nobody wants to sit there and watch you click through 90 slides.
Look at a lot of companies that do launches, where they’re launching new product, they’re announcing new product … Apple, Adobe, even Microsoft, all these different companies. Tesla’s done it and everything. But watch and make sure and pay attention, because the slides that they’re showing are only showing you the bare minimum of what’s needed to keep you interested and to keep you focused on the topic that they’re presenting to. They don’t sit there and they don’t load everything onto the slide that they’re going to say. They do this because they know nobody wants to sit through a presentation like that.
If you have a deck like this, do your brand a huge favor … condense it. Take all the copy that you have and put it down in the presenter’s notes. And then figure out what the key element is for each slide that you need to talk about, whether it’s a bullet point … even if it’s just a graphic that you can show that correlates. If you’re talking about a product, show your product. Don’t just put the product feature sheet up on the slides because that’s not what people are there to see. They could stop by your booth and they could pick that up.
Make sure it’s a message that correlates with what the people are there for. If the conference you’re at has a theme, talk about and change your presentation to match that theme. Correlate it. Make sure it ties in, because then people will feel that you have their best interest in heart and that you’re paying attention to what they’re doing and where they are. People that go to these conferences tend to spend a lot of money. Well, if you’re a bigger company, you might not think it’s a lot of money, but for entrepreneurs and everything else, it’s a lot of money. It’s also time away from work. They need to feel that you are connecting with them or else they’re going to tune you out and they’re not going to listen to your message.
Let me know in the comments below how you’re going to tackle your monster beast of a presentation or slide deck. Also, let me know what you call it. Do you call it a slide deck? Do you call it just your PowerPoint thingamabob? Whatever it is, just let me know in the comments below what you call it or how you refer to it. And again, let me know how you’re going to tackle that beast and make it so it’s better for the people who are watching your presentation.
Until next week, let’s go and make your brand better.