Ahh, the delight of being assigned to give a ready-made, communications-department-massaged, cororate-HQ-approved presentation…complete with a script and soulless slide deck…
Dealing with pre-approved, canned corporate presentations is a reality for many, many employees. There’s lots of reasons why some companies don’t give their employees much (or any) say in their presentation slide decks or script. Regardless the reason, this often means that the presentations themselves are pretty uninspiring to give – especially if you are a creative presenter who likes to give really dynamic talks.
Such is the situation that Aarav finds himself in, and he’s wanting to find more joy in his sales presentations. Here’s his question:
I work with a sales team at a globally distributed company. My job involves giving a lot of presentations. I like speaking but am really restricted on what I can do in these talks. The slide decks are created by our regional marketing department, and any changes we make require several layers of approval. I think my presentations would be more effective and enjoyable if I personalized them, but making my own slides or substantially changing the content isn’t an option. Knowing these restrictions, how can I take these presentations and really make them my own?
Thanks for your time – your videos have been very helpful!
Watch the video below for my answer to Aarav’s questions (or click here to watch directly on YouTube). You can also scroll down to read the full transcript.
Do you have any stories, analogies, or unique perspectives that you love using to inject some personality into your presentations? Click here to share them in the comments section over on my YouTube channel.
And remember to share this post with friends and colleagues who might be needing a bit of help dealing with canned presentations on their own!
Nothing inspires an employee to give a truly steller talk more than corporate HQ approved slide decks!
Hello and welcome to Communication Q&A – I’m Lauren Sergy, and today we hear from Aarav, who needs to find more joy in his sales presentations:
I work with a sales team at a globally distributed company. My job involves giving a lot of presentations. I like speaking but am really restricted on what I can do in these talks. The slide decks are created by our regional marketing department, and any changes we make require several layers of approval. I think my presentations would be more effective and enjoyable if I personalized them, but making my own slides or substantially changing the content isn’t an option. Knowing these restrictions, how can I take these presentations and really make them my own even though?
Thanks for your time – your videos have been very helpful!
Aarav, your predicament with HQ approved slide decks is a common one, especially with big companies like the one you work with. These controls are intended to help keep branding and messages consistent, but they can really stifle people like you who want to do more with their presentations.
Happily, you don’t need to fiddle with the slide deck to inject your personality into these presentations. Even when presenters are restricted with the slides they use and the overall message they deliver, you can usually get away with layering in personal touches like stories, analogies, and unique insights or perspectives – all of which can bring a whole new dimension to your presentations and help you better connect with your audiences.
How do you think differently about the topics, or products or services, that you present about? What experiences or views do you have that let you approach these presentations from a different angle, one that doesn’t show up in the slides or script you’ve been given? Everyone has their own unique perspective, and by going off-script every now and then to bring it into play will help you breathe your personality into the presentations without changing the core substance of the talk.
Your unique perspective and experiences can also help you insert personal stories or creative analogies at opportune moments. Stories can help you bring technical details, data, and specs to life and when you share your own stories with an audience you personalize the experience for them and for yourself. It will boost your energy and interest, and the audience will pick up on this.
I also recommend drawing on unique views and perspectives to come up with interesting analogies. Do you have a hobby that you can use to explain different ideas in your presentations? Maybe other interests that help you think differently about a concept? For example, I often compare different aspects of public speaking to dance, martial arts, or other sports. I’ve worked with people who have drawn comparison between computer code and knitting patterns, engineering processes and luxury cars, even information literacy and weightlifting. Again, these are things that can be woven into the approved presentation in off-script asides without changing the approved brandings or messages.
Doing this will help you engage with your content in a way that’s more interesting to you and will help you more effectively connect with your audience and build trust with them. After all, by letting them into your head and sharing your perspectives, you’re letting them know that they’re listening to a human being who cares about what you’re doing rather than just another corporate talking head.
Aarav, I hope this helps you bring your personality into your presentations in a way that won’t ruffle feathers at headquarters.
Now it’s over to you! Do you have a unique analogy you like to use when explaining a concept to others? Share it in the comments below!
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Thanks for stopping by, and I look forward to seeing you again soon!