For all you creators, approvers, or presenters of corporate slideshows, those company-approved visuals that employees are required to use in their presentations: this post is for you.
This is a miniature rant inspired by one of my workshops.* I’m not going to give you the full blast of the workshop here – you’ll need to bring me in for the true-blue transformative smackdown. But as it is a very important topic (and a personal bugbear), I will give you the highly condensed version.
Your slideshows suck.**
Your employees cringe when they have to present them.
The audience’s eyes glaze over when they see them.
They aren’t helping your presenters sell your products or services.
Instead of making your employees’ lives easier by ensuring that they have good, ready-to-deliver presentations, you are killing them by making them trot out boring, boring, boring slides for which they can’t muster up any enthusiasm.
There are too many slides to click through, with too many words and too little substance.
I know, they were created with the best of intentions. All the information your employees need to give the presentation is there on the slides. The idea is that the presenter can’t get lost and even if they forget everything in a moment of panic, they can just refer back to the slide.
But the problem is that you are actually making things harder for your employee to shine in the presentation. Their unique take on your company’s offerings gets squashed by a rigid outline and script disguised as a PowerPoint presentation. There are so many useless slides and so much unnecessary text that you’ve creating a battle for attention between the presenter and the slideshow. When this happens, the presenter isn’t an expert – they are just a mouthpiece. They could be replaced by anyone. They could be replaced by a recorded voiceover. That isn’t what a live audience wants – they want an expert, and they want that expert to be human, with personal insights, views, opinions, and takes.
Trust your employees to be able to give the presentation. Don’t hem them in with crappy slides. The devil isn’t PowerPoint or Keynote, it’s the snorefest that was created using PowerPoint. Rethink your slideshows, have faith in your presenters, and give them the space to shine!
*Ok, not every company’s slideshows suck. There are some out there who put a great deal of effort into creating or hiring someone to create beautiful, effective presentation slides. I’ve seen some presentations with slides that absolutely blew me away (I like learning from those ones). Those, however, are few and far between. I’ve yet to work with a client who has shown me a slideshow created in and approved by head office which has made me say “hey, that’s a great set of slides! We don’t need to change a thing there!” Usually I have to coax them away from the brink of tears to get them to work with the approved slide deck.