Content, structure & visuals ALWAYS matter

I recently attended a financially based conference that involved the CEO’s presenting their company to prospective investors. If you wanted to see an exercise in poor presentation, this was it. They only had a short time to present so they had to get their message across quickly and effectively.

The following comments apply to all 7 presenters. They:

  1. Packed every slide with excess amounts of text, charts, images and numbers.
  2. Simply repeated what was on the slide and rarely added anything to what was there.
  3. Failed to engage in any narrative that was engaging, just a series of numbers & facts.
  4. Assumed that stating the facts was going to convince investors to buy..
  5. Didn’t deliver any key messages with solid visual support.
  6. Stood behind a lectern.
  7. Failed to brand their presentations effectively.
  8. Didn’t provide a call to action.
Bad Slide

Too much text on a slide

Unfortunately I didn’t get to talk to many people at the networking event afterwards but I would love to have conducted an interview with attendees to discover what they could remember about each company but my bet would be “not much”. These people were all comfortable speaking to large crowds and their delivery was, in itself, reasonable. Certainly I wouldn’t aim a criticism at them for that.

The point is, these CEO’s were selling their product – their company as an investment vehicle – but they all ended up looking the same, the message lost, the funds spent to buy the time to speak effectively wasted.

My point is, it doesn’t matter what you are doing, selling your company’s value or your company’s product (and more so if you are presenting in a group), you always need to ensure your messaging, content, structure and visuals are created in such a way that you stand out like an orange zebra.

Like in all things inside an organisation, the CEO needs to set the example.  If this is the quality of presentations they are giving, no one in the organisation will feel they need to step up and produce better work.

Lee Featherby

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