Death by Powerpoint

by Amber BrownAmberNew

A few years ago I was talking to a woman that is a professor at a local college in the Business School and our conversation led to something she referred to as “Death by PowerPoint”. She described this as the tendency to use a PowerPoint to say more than is needed to make a point. She needed explain no more, because having worked in sales for years, I knew exactly what she was talking about — the need for business people to pack 10 pages of fluff into a presentation that could really be done on two or even just ONE piece of paper.

The one sheet concept became very evident to me a few years ago when I was working with a woman in Dallas that frequently sold $100-200K business development deals on essentially a one sheet outline.   When we got to the presentation with the client, I fully expected her to pull out a beautiful graphically appealing presentation with all the details and more. It would be full of pictures, logo’s of the media company and the client, stats and much more before we even got to the meat and potatoes of the presentation. My jaw about dropped when I saw her pull out 3 pieces of paper, one for each of the concepts she was presenting. Finally, someone got it. But even more, the CLIENT loved it. Everything was there to see, no extras.

The reality of today’s business is that we all move too fast with less time than ever to look through massive presentations that don’t get to the point quickly. Presenting on one page makes it very easy for decision-makers to make decisions. How many times have you sat through a seminar with a long PowerPoint and never looked at it again? Don’t let your proposal fall into this trap!

All the key elements, including the $100k price tag, should be on a one page document. Over the years, we’ve coached many of our clients to shed the big presentations and opt for a more concise approach.   It’s ok to bring along a leave behind of all those cool pictures, webshots, stats, etc.

Here’s an outline of Key Elements to include in a One Sheet presentation:

  • Client Objective
  • Program Overview
  • Key Elements
  • Timing
  • Media Exposure
  • Investment

It’s simple and it works.   I’m confident if you asked any executive if they’d rather see a 7-10 page PowerPoint versus an executive summary of the same concept, they’d vote for the latter.

Don’t get me wrong, PowerPoint certainly has a place. Those of you that receive training from Morrison and Abraham know our love affair with it. But be cautious to rely on it when it may not be needed in presentations with clients. Slim down your presentations and don’t fall victim to Death by PowerPoint!

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