Presentation Management 18: Lifecycle of a Presentation

Presentation Management 18: Lifecycle of a Presentation

Created: Tuesday, August 18, 2020, posted by at 9:30 am

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Original content by AlexAnndra Ontra and James Ontra
Enhanced by Geetesh Bajaj

In the last part of this Presentation Management series of posts, we looked at strategies to collect and use the content for presentation management. In this part, we look at the life cycle of a presentation, which can be surprisingly much longer and more expansive than what many of us imagine.

Our presentations never finish, says Bob Davis, associate vice president of marketing for HealthTrust Purchasing Group, the purchasing division for HCA Healthcare, which operates 178 hospitals and 119 surgical centers throughout the United States and the United Kingdom.

In presentation management, files are never done. Instead, they evolve, just like the businesses they represent. Slides and decks continually morph and adjust to the market and to the world in which the business operates. The companies and organizations that get the most out of presentation management evolve their content through a constant lifecycle – or what we call The Wheel.

The Wheel looks like this:

Lifecycle of a Presentation

Lifecycle of a Presentation

The process illustrated by The Wheel involves seven steps that generally follow each other, leading back to the beginning:

  1. Creation
  2. Distribution
  3. Sharing
  4. Presenting
  5. Social
  6. Reporting
  7. Updating

As we describe the elements in this post and subsequent ones, you will notice that they overlap. In nature when something evolves there is no clearly defined start and obvious end to a phase, but rather things morph. The same holds true for your presentation files. They morph from one phase to the next in the communication cycle of a corporate presentation.

  1. The first step is creation–the act of creating slides and other content for presentations.
  2. Once created, the files are distributed through the presentation management system – into the cloud to be accessed by anyone with permission.
  3. Sharing goes hand-in-hand with distribution – in this case, sharing content with others inside or outside the enterprise.
  4. Presenting is the act of using the content to present.
  5. Socializing the presentation is a way to get comments and feedback.
  6. Reporting means gathering data about how content is being used to better understand what’s effective.
  7. Then all of that feedback and data can be used to update and improve slides and decks – a new act of creation that starts the process all over again.

Let’s break down the details of each step.

Presentation Creation

In presentation management, creation means both content collection as well as the actual creation of a file.

A lot of good content probably already exists around your company. It’s a matter of identifying the files, and then deciding if they are presentation management-worthy – for short, PMW. How do you determine if a file is PMW? Presentation management addresses both the long-term enterprise vision and the tactical day-to-day needs of employees. We suggest starting with the experts for each division. They most likely have great content for their particular product on hand.

Cooper Standard asked the regional leaders around the world as well as the directors for each product line. Each director made recommendations for how their content should be used, and then they contributed the content.

As you review your company’s content, ask yourself:

  • Which files cover enterprise information,
  • Which files cover tactical information and
  • Which files cover both?

What content represents a big picture? What content is going to get my sales rep to close the deal? Or move a project forward? Or educate a new hire? What are the team’s objectives? That will determine which content is PMW.

Presentation Creation

Presentation Creation

Content can be created in any application. PowerPoint is the most obvious. Thirty million PowerPoint presentations get created every day. PowerPoint is broken into individual slides, and each slide is a story in itself. PowerPoint makes it really easy to prepare presentations for those tactical, everyday meetings that keep the company humming along.

But presentation management doesn’t have to be confined to PowerPoint. It can work with other apps. Apple’s Keynote has great visuals and effects; Google Slides is cloud-based, which makes access easy; and Prezi is a popular app to create interactive presentations. Presentation management works with all file types that your team members use every day to get their job done: videos, images, Word docs, PDFs, spreadsheets, you name it. Make content in Photoshop, Quark, or Apple iMovie; it doesn’t matter as long as the files can be previewed, reused, and repurposed when needed. Anything that can be presented to and discussed with one or more people is content that should be considered in your presentation management strategy.

Compliance should go hand-in-hand with creation to make sure content is up-to-date, accurate, branded, and approved. Your industry will determine your compliance requirements, which can be implemented and enforced through the presentation management platform. Here are a few examples of compliance:

1. Legal Compliance

In highly regulated industries like health care and finance, strict rules govern what can be presented, to whom, by whom, in what format or context, and finally with proper disclosures and disclaimers. Your presentation management strategy can manage this content in three ways:

  1. First, with routing and workflow approvals that ensure that the lawyers and regulators have approved the content before it becomes available to the team.
  2. Second, with file- or slide-locking features to prevent your team from changing text or other content.
  3. And third, by linking features to force required disclaimer and disclosure statements along with the content where appropriate.

With presentation management, you can force your dispersed team to present content in a very specific way – a way that complies with the law and reduces your company’s risk of lawsuits and fines. Our banking clients used slide linking to match the proper disclosure statement to the corresponding slide.

2. Brand Compliance

Brand compliance refers to brand guidelines, graphics, colors, fonts, logos, and templates for all files that follow the brand’s guidelines. The benefits are twofold:

  1. First, you achieve consistent branding across the enterprise.
  2. Second, because your employees are starting with higher-quality content, they appear more polished and professional, but they also become more productive.

As they repurpose presentations, they can actually focus on the specifics of their project or deal instead of trying to play graphic designer to make the slides look nice. We encourage all our clients to use only branded content. Start with the best.

3. Message Compliance

What your employees say and how do they say–both are critical to your company’s success. Message compliance ensures that your team is using the right language and the right version of the slide or file. It’s achieved through good old-fashioned copywriting. And, like legal compliance, it can also be achieved through slide- and file-linking.

For example, if a case study is five slides long, you can link all five slides, so if a user chooses one, he or she always gets all five.

This approach ensures that employees are forced to present the case study in its entirety, enabling them to tell the whole story, and not just the bits and pieces that they like. (Imagine if we could do that in our personal lives. There would be no misunderstandings, no rumors, or good gossip! And then we’d have nothing to talk about over cheap Chardonnay.)

Compliance - Legal, Brand and Message

Compliance - Legal, Brand and Message

Your presentation management strategy is as good as the presentation content provided. Collecting, creating, and policing all of a company’s content may seem like a big task, and it may very well be the first time around. But once that investment has been made, it will make everyone in your organization more productive, and the lifecycle will perpetuate itself as part of the normal course of business. It’s a one-time investment that reaps exponential rewards.

In the next post of this series, we will look at the other steps within the lifecycle of a presentation.

Presentation Management Series: All Posts

All posts from the Presentation Management series are listed on this page, Presentation Management: The Entire Series.


First, try and answer these questions. Feel free to read the post again if needed. Then, scroll down to below the author profiles to find the answers.

Q1: The lifecycle of a presentation contains seven steps. Are these steps linear or continuous?

Q2: Compliance is an important aspect to consider, when you create slides. How many types of compliance are necessary?

AlexAnndra Ontra

AlexAnndra Ontra
AlexAnndra Ontra, co-founder of Shufflrr, is a leading advocate for presentation management. She has been providing presentation technology and consulting services to global enterprises for over 15 years.

At Shufflrr, Alex advises Shufflrr clients through the process: from trial to content architecture, through the launch, training, and then on-going software upgrades. She’s hands-on. She is a leading expert in presentation management strategy, implementation, and adaptation.


James Ontra

James Ontra
James Ontra is co-founder and CEO of Shufflrr.  His 30-year career has focused on the highest profile presentations for world class companies.  His clients have included:  American Express, Bloomberg, Epcot Center, Mercedes Benz, NBC Olympics, Warner Bros. and many more.

His vision and strategy have been driving Presentation Management to become a recognized communication discipline. James combined this passion with technical development to build Shufflrr. Presentation Management is smart communication strategy.


Geetesh Bajaj

Geetesh Bajaj
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.

Quiz Answers

A1: The lifecycle of a presentation involves seven steps that generally follow each other, leading back to the beginning. So yes, the steps are continuous, with the last step leading back to the first step.

A2: Broadly, three compliance types are deemed necessary in presentation management. These are legal compliance, brand compliance, and message compliance.

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