Master Your Message Blog

Three Presentation Secrets to Help You Seal the Deal (cont’d)

Continued from my previous blog entry of the same title …


However, PowerPoint does have its place. Now, when I say that, I’ve produced dozens of conventions and been privy to some unbelievable PowerPoint extravaganzas.

Take this slide.

Can you imagine that anyone is every going to remember a single word of this?

And imagine if you’re in the front row and see one of these come up at the end of the presentation. There’s no where to go … and you know you likely have another half hour at least of the same thing!

And then the presenter takes the time to read it aloud to you line by excruciating line. In surveys, the number one thing audiences hate is guess what? “The presenter read the slides to us.”

And then there’s this famous slide.

General Stanley McChrystal, the US and NATOR force commander, who was in charge of the Afghanistan war at the time was heard to say, “When we understand that slide, we’ll have won the war.”

A day after your presentation, you audience will remember maybe three things about your presentation … and they won’t be facts. They’re more likely to be something that emotionally that impacts them.

Here’s a fact: One week after you presentation, you audience will remember only 10% or the content. A half hour after, they’ll only remember 50%!

The point is to make sure you develop your presentation first. Then, if you need visuals to support it, to create an impact you can’t with only your words, your passion, and your engaging delivery, then add those visuals. But not until you consider the alternative.

Three things to help you win your next project.

  1. Start with the problem, then the solution, then the why.
  2. Don’t forget the emotional aspects of your argument. We make decisions base on emotion, we justify them based on facts.
  3. Develop your presentation first. Then think about whether you need visual support.

Hopefully these three secrets to more effective presentations will ease some of the pain you feel when you first think about the task. Get the message right … be passionate! The rest will take care of itself.

Comments for this Post

  • Ed Wheeler December 14, 2012, 3:46 pm


    You raise some excellent points here about very complex slides – If something like this “has to” be included in a presentation (ie maybe the legal department is mandating that it’s included on short notice) what’s the best way to put that information out?

    As a handout with a verbal/visual high level summary? or some other way?

    • Peter Temple December 29, 2012, 12:05 pm

      Hi Ed,
      Great question. As an audience in a presentation situation, we wouldn’t have the capacity to take in all the information in a complicated Slide. Usually, there’s a main point to the slide and that’s what we’ll walk away with.

      So, yes, putting complicated information on a handout is the way to go, in most cases. Then your audience can take it away and spend more time working through the details. However, this brings up the question of when do you provide the handouts? Well, there’s a video for that here.

      The bigger concern, though, is that we try and jam way too much information into our presentations. After all, a half-hour later, we’re going to remember 50% of the information – 25% percent after 24 hours. Let that be your guide. If you get across one major point and get action on that point, then I’d say that’s a successful presentation. Do you really need all that information on the screen to make that point?


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