Once upon a time there was a young boy who professed his desire to become a great creator.
When challenged to define “great” he said: “I want to create things that the whole world will see – and react to on a deeply emotional level.”
Warming to his topic he added: “I want to create in a way that will make them scream and cry and howl in pain and anger.”
Before he could add anything more positive, there was a lightning flash and his fairy godmother appeared.
She instantly granted his wish, as fairy godmothers do.
Now the young man designs slides for technology companies that everyone who speaks for the firm must use in their presentations – or thinks they have to use.
His “creative” slides typically look like this:
Can you see why they make people scream and cry and howl in pain and anger?
And if that’s not enough to make you scream, cry and howl, then consider how these sorts of slides are typically used in company presentations.
The people who companies want to influence are gathered in a big room.
And to minimise the chances of any slides being properly understood, someone stands next to them mumbles their way through a script while the audience struggles to absorb any meaning.
When this happens, no one lives happily ever after.
DESIGN YOUR OWN GREAT SLIDES!
Alas, the person presenting the slides is often doing so on matters where they don’t have the same outlook or experience or aims as the person who made the slides.
It’s a bit like being told the details of someone’s camel-riding holiday in India …
…while being shown the holiday snaps from another tourist who was visiting Pisa.
When the slides and the verbal component don’t fit together, real communication doesn’t happen – and potential customers won’t buy in.
If you haven’t been on the receiving end of this kind of presentation experience, then you’re truly blessed.
If you have been subjected to it, please join the campaign to stop this form of cruel and unusual punishment being inflicted on innocent audiences.
And if you’re in a company which fosters this kind of bad slide experience, then give me a call, make a full confession and discuss a plan for your rehabilitation: 44 (0) 7944 952835.
The good news is that the tendency to impose irrelevant, indecipherable slides on innocent audience members is curable.
I administer the cure regularly.
Ideally the cure takes place over a couple of uplifting training days involving lots of fun-filled exercises, inspiring planning and confidence-enhancing practise runs.
When you’ve received the cure, the effect it has on your content, structure, delivery style – and use of slides – will last a lifetime.
And you and your audiences will look forward to your next presentation – instead of dreading it!
“ZERO-BASED” SLIDE PRESENTATIONS
My leading cure for presenting with bad slides is a process called “Zero-Based Slide Presentations”.
It was inspired by the accountancy concept called “Zero-Based Budgeting”.
(It may come as a shock that an accountancy concept can inspire anything. But it can – just as many accountants I’ve worked with have learned how to inspire!)
In Zero-Based Budgeting, instead of starting with all the figures from last year’s budget and then adjusting them up and down for the coming year, you do something drastically different.
You start from a base of allocating zero to every department and function and then look at how much of the budget is required to achieve the desired outcomes in each area.
It means that every financial allocation must earn its place on merit, rather than on the history of previous spending.
This helps you prioritise and focus on what you really need to do to get the correct outcomes.
Similarly, with Zero-Based Slide Presentations you don’t start with the slides you used last time.
Instead you start with a base of zero slides.
Next you work out the messages you want to get across and the examples or figures or stories you choose to illustrate them.
Only then do you decide whether you need any slides to help convey these points.
Sometimes it’s best to stick with zero slides!
Maybe you can use just one killer slide.
On some occasions it might be best to use a few slides – preferably ones which contain dramatic images or easy-to-follow graphs.
The Zero-Based Slide Presentations concept is part of something else I’ve invented to solve a wide range of communication challenges.
This is called “Silicon-Standard Communication”.
It’s about ensuring that the amazing technological developments brought about by the silicon chip are explained with standards as impressive as the products themselves!
Silicon-Standard Communication springs from three indisputable facts of our time:
- That modern technology – and the companies that develop it – provide amazing products and services
- That companies and their people who provide these amazing products and services often struggle to communicate what they need to convey about them
- That communicating effectively about amazing products and services in the age of the silicon chip is something that smart techy people and smart numbers people can do – providing they receive the right guidance.
Silicon-Standard Communication helps to convey an understanding of the benefits of vital products and services originally developed in Silicon Valley in California…
Silicon-Standard Communication helps explain things made in so-called “Silicon Glen” in Scotland…
Silicon-Standard Communication spreads understanding of products and services developed in the high-tech zone near the so-called “Silicon Roundabout” in London.
In fact, Silicon-Standard Communication will help you get across the essential messages about new products and services that have been developed wherever you are.
High-tech products and services shine out more clearly and desirably when Silicon-Standard Communication is deployed to explain their benefits to clients and prospects everywhere.
An essential part of all Silicon-Standard Communication programmes, is for techy people to discover the benefits of avoiding jargon words that their audiences often don’t have a clue about.
Instead they learn to explain what they mean in simple understandable words that shoppers in your local supermarket can grasp.
Through Silicon-Standard Communication, techy people are equipped to tell stories, deploy figures (in very limited easy-to-absorb quantities) and explain real-life examples in order to get across what they mean more powerfully, effectively and persuasively.
This is instead of mumbling through a deck of slides created by someone like that young creative man who produced slides that made people scream and cry and howl in pain and anger.
Of course, I made up the story about the creative young man and the fairy godmother.
The clue – which you may have spotted – was in the use of the fairytale introduction words “Once Upon A Time”.
But Zero-Based Slide Presentations are real.
And Silicon-Standard Communication is real.
Your team can make a start on becoming inspirational communicators by grasping the essentials of “Silicon-Standard Communication” in a keynote speech at your conference.
This will help them communicate more effectively to techy types who know their silicon chips.
And it will show them how to get their message across to those not-so-techy types more attracted to potato chips.
Silicon-Standard Communication master classes can be run for groups techy people or numbers-focused people in your office.
And there are Silicon-Standard Communication one-to-one sessions for individuals who need to boost their communications skills in order to progress faster in the company.
If you’d like to know more about Silicon-Standard Communication, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
In this way, you can find out how Silicon-Standard Communication can help your organisation to get across your messages in a way that’s in line with the quality of your goods or services.
This will help those who need to share your company’s message – and those who receive it – to live more happily ever after.