Do you even need a presentation?
Yes, this is a question that needs to be asked before you create any presentation. And let us rephrase the question just a little:
Do you even need a presentation containing slides?
Many people just create slide-based presentations because everyone else does so. Here are some examples:
- John in the cabin next door created a presentation about working remotely.
- Cally from the European office delivered a presentation about prospective sales figures if your company focused more on a key growth area.
Both presentations had around twenty-something slides. Clearly, both John and Cally had spent quality time creating these decks.
So, could they have done something better? It’s difficult to make judgments based on little info, but here are some thoughts about both presentations:
- In John’s case, a demo of working remotely using specialized tools may have worked better than walking the audience slide-by-slide.
- Cally could have presented an Excel sheet with dynamic data and analyses that showed increasing profits based on the new growth area.
These non-slide-based approaches could have worked better than spending hours creating a PowerPoint slide deck, which, even with screenshots and screen recordings was still static in appearance (for John) and unproven without dynamic comparisons (for Cally).
Presentations are expensive. John and Cally spent hours and days creating those slides.
So before you start creating that new presentation, ask yourself if the same objective would be served better with sharing an Excel sheet, or performing a demo of a new product, solution, or a prototype? Perhaps, you can be more efficient by delivering a business report via email? At times, even creating screenshots and screen-recordings that can be shared without slides is a better solution.
And if you work in a company that always needs a presentation, you can use our quick three-slide deck solution that contains:
- An opening slide that includes the agenda.
- A second slide that leads to a live demo, or links to an Excel sheet, screen recording, or contains some screenshots.
- A third slide that sums up the findings and provides a call to action. If this is an internal presentation, no contact info would be needed, but it does not hurt if you add your email address.
Such a deck would take mere moments to create, and you could still “deliver the presentation,” because the slides were never the presentation. It was always you as the presenter who was the presentation!
So, the next time you are expected to deliver a presentation, think about what approach works best. Do you need a complete slide-driven experience, do you need no slides at all, or do you want to go for the three-slide option? The three-slide option is a great in-between approach that can work in many scenarios.
Geetesh Bajaj is an awarded Microsoft PowerPoint MVP (Most Valuable Professional), and has been designing and training with PowerPoint for more than two decades. He heads Indezine, a presentation design studio and content development organization based out of Hyderabad, India.
Geetesh believes that any PowerPoint presentation is a sum of its elements–these elements include abstract elements like story, consistency, and interactivity — and also slide elements like shapes, graphics, charts, text, sound, video, and animation. He explains how these elements work together in his training sessions. He has also authored six books on PowerPoint and Microsoft Office.