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#177: Death by Power Point - Again

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Updated: Tuesday, November 17, 2009
I cringe every time we are asked to deliver our consulting report to clients. Inevitably, they expect a briefing package and Power Point slide show. Are there some better ways to deliver these reports?

Power Point is just a technology. It is not the reason these presentations are so deadly. It is how you use it that causes angst. There are two strategies. First, if your client requires Power Point, make it less dreadful. The approach is logical: keep slide decks as thin as possible, use as few words possible per slide, use images that support your verbal presentation (not replace it), have a great roadmap so everyone knows where you are going, and practice a lot so the transitions and flow is smooth.

Second, don't do it. Look for alternative presentation approaches. This is a challenge because the nature of findings is analytical and traditionally presented in a linear fashion. I have seen incredibly powerful and memorable presentations with nothing other than photographs. Each image represented the theme of the point being made and none were originally intended to be used in a business setting. You'll have to get your client on board with this approach, but if the presentation is to be more than a data dump.

Tip: You should take Power Point's reputation to heart. Whether it is using a better storyboard (e.g., Beyond Bullet Points) or non-boring technologies (e.g., streaming video, Flash, and other multimedia images), it is you, not Power Point, per se, that is being judged.

© 2009 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  meeting preparation  meetings  presentations  technology 

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Lorre Zuppan says...
Posted Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Of course there are better ways! For great ideas on how to craft and present your story, I highly recommend a look at the blogs for Garr Reynolds' ( and Nancy Duarte of Duarte Design (, famous for transforming Al Gore's Powerpoint presentation), and a review of Made To Stick by Chip and Dan Heath. If you're interested in Twitter-size bites, consider following @PresentationZen, @NancyDuarte and @Presentationki. If you're like me, you'll find many more valuable resources through them.
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George Moskoff CMC says...
Posted Monday, December 7, 2009
Tinkertoys. Nuts and bolts, literally. Things that can be mated to make a connection. I'm kidding, only sort of.
Permalink to this Comment }

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