And while we're at it, your PowerPoint #sucks too

While I am on a rant about what #sucks in our industry, I was recently reading Guy Kawasaki's 10/20/30 rule of PowerPoint presentations. Whilst this particular model is tailored to a specific purpose, this is a great reminder of the basics of using PowerPoint - have only highly relevant slides, be sure to get through them before everyone gets bored (and because of unexpected delays) and force yourself to have each slide contain a single point by using 30pt font or above.

To me, the additional point to be made is that PPT is a collection of tools at your disposal - not your master. Just because you have a slide in your deck doesn't mean to say you have to use it on the day!

Consider a professional golfer who carries 14 clubs in their bag, or the sculptor with a dozen sizes of chisels, or the children with hundreds of barbies (I have 3 girls, give me a break!) - in each of these cases not all the assets are used day to day, but rather a select few get the job done with several kept in reserve for unforeseen circumstance. Your deck should be the same way.

I remember a pitch early in my career where after the first 3 slides the potential client told me to show him the very last slide and he would decide based on that content whether the meeting was worth continuing. He was quite rightfully trying to save himself from some junior sales guy who had (lots of) something to say and who was determined to get through it all before taking the next breath.

I watched a company pitch the other day, a very seasoned executive at the helm, and every time a slide came up he started with "This is just..."

Really? Screw that.

What he was subconsciously saying to the audience was:
1. The content of this new slide is dull
2. Someone else put it together for me and I haven't looked at it
3. What I am about to show you doesn't need your attention

And he did it for every slide. Every slide!

The person he was pitching was bored and had no reason to pay any attention to what he was being shown because before he had a chance to digest it, he was already hearing 'don't bother, its crap'!

Whilst I might keep some slides that show brand safety, PSA test structures and free dynamic creative examples for search retargeting, I rarely use more than 2 core slides, only skipping forward to the others if a specific question comes up.

The old adage of 'people buy people' remains true today - when was the last time you heard someone say "Well! I had just to buy their product because they have the most amazing deck".

Happy PowerPointing.