Improve Your Presentation BEFORE You Open PowerPoint

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In today’s business world, if something is important, it’s in a PowerPoint deck.

PowerPoint is the default program for business communications.  Unfortunately, these decks are created in a haphazard manner — one presentation at a time, with little thought given to the long-term value of the content within them, and the risks associated with mismanaging that content.  Managing your company’s presentation content will unleash the valuable information hidden within all of these decks, while instituting controls to ensure message compliance.  In so doing, it will improve the quality of presentations for everyone in your enterprise.

Improving PowerPoints starts before you open the deck and is done most effectively by implementing a Presentation Management strategy that will elevate all members of your team, empower them to make better, more convincing and effective presentations, which will ultimately result in more productive meetings.

There are three tenants to presentation management – creating, saving and presenting content.

Creating Content: Most companies have brand guidelines, but they don’t necessarily make it into individual presentations.  In addition to PowerPoint templates with proper logo, and brand graphics, it’s important to include messaging.  Many presentations incorporate the same boiler plate information, such as company history, product information, etc., which gets re-created and re-used all of the time. So make sure there is one, best, professionally-written version that incorporates your company’s brand, tone and language.   In doing so, you will empower your sales team to not only speak intelligently about different aspects of your company’s business, but you will also save them from countless hours and frustration wasted fumbling around, preparing new decks — essentially re-inventing the wheel — for every meeting.

Saving Content in a Slide Library:   Create a slide library; assign a location, a worksite, or subscribe to a Presentation Management service, that’s really, really easy for your team to access and use.   This is where you store all of your best content – branded, on message, legally compliant.  The slide library should not only include content that your team needs to do their job every day, but it should also visualize the content.  So users can easily identity the slide or file that they are looking for. Obviously, it should include PowerPoint, but PDF, Video, Image, Word and Excel files, as well. Let your team know where and how to access it and keep the content updated.  Oftentimes, marketing departments go to great lengths for an initiative like a slide library, only to have it die out slowly.  Publish and update regularly, to ensure that the content evolves with your business.

By giving easy access to the best content, anyone can talk intelligently and effectively about the company’s products and services, whether they are a newly hired junior associate or the EVP of Sales.  Everyone is empowered to do better.

Presenting:  For some, public speaking is terrifying.  (OK, I’ll admit they are probably not going into sales.) But even for the most extroverted person, giving a presentation can be stressful.  You have a limited window to not only make a great impression, but to also convince, sell and motivate people to act favorably.  Formal training programs, speaking coaches, and practice will improve your presentation skills.  Furthermore, apps and other technological tools can serve as a discreet coach during your presentation.  They can provide speaker notes, comments, reference materials, etc. to ensure you’re your presentation is relevant, polished and above all, engages your audience.

In its simplest form, Presentation Management treats the sales presentation as communications.  As such, it forces executives to consider the message, the image, the audience and the delivery much the same as they would for a website, print or TV ad.  The presentation morphs from a one-time deck to an enterprise asset.  The advantages of doing so are clear:

  • Consistent branding and messaging – Making sure that everyone in your enterprise is “on message” is critical to not only building your brand long term, but also improves individual performance.
  • Reduced risk – When everyone is on message, then no one is going off-brand, potentially misinforming clients, making promises the company cannot keep.  Or worse for industries like pharmaceuticals and finance, going against regulations.  Fines and lawsuits are expensive.  Presentation management is a form of risk management.
  • Access to the best content – Users can easily find slide or file that they need for their meeting, and then either edit a little, or use it as is.  That process alone can save hours off of a sales person’s prep time for a meeting – time better spent with clients.
  • Makes PowerPoint easier – A good presentation library, with best of breed content, makes it easy for individual salespeople to create killer presentations.    It gives them a head start, with branded, professionally designed and written slides.
  • Saves time, increases productivity – By making it easier to find content and use it for your specific purposes, you’re no longer wasting time fumbling around with PowerPoint.  That makes you more productive.

PowerPoint files and the information contained within them, are a valuable marketing asset.  They are an enterprise asset.  Presentation Management will unlock that asset to everyone’s in your organization – whether you are the CEO or the junior AE.  Presentation Management empowers everyone to make better presentations – before they ever open on PowerPoint.

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