Boring Presentation Decks Kill Ad Agency New Business

Keynote presentation for ad agency new business

Delivering a presentation that moves prospects to action STARTS with the presentation deck.

I’ve reviewed hundreds of agency presentations. Could somebody please tell me why great CREATIVE PEOPLE become so BORING when creating a presentation?

PowerPoint and Keynote slides have the ability to empower your presentation or kill it.

Most presentation decks are created using PowerPoint. There are approximately 30 million PowerPoint presentations made each day. Though PowerPoint is the most popular presentation software, it isn’t my favorite. I prefer using Keynote because it’s more graphically oriented. I like using the power of pictures instead of slides that are filled with stale text, boring bullet points and mundane charts and graphs.

Here are a few of my suggestions for creating a more effective presentation deck:

1. Brainstorming and Storyboarding

Use your presentation software as a tool for brainstorming and storyboarding.

After I’ve identified the overall theme, the heart of my speech, I like to use Keynote’s Light Table feature to brainstorm and begin storyboarding my presentation. I create a visual outline of  my presentation using full-bleed photos and images inserted into individual slides. The images serve as visual pillars for what I want to say.

Studies have shown that people only remember 10% of what they hear and 20% of what they read, but about 80% of what they see and do. Retention is six times greater when the information is presented visually.

I create initial slides that contain a key thought or image that reflects one idea per slide. This is a very productive exercise that is both easy and fun. I like building my presentations visually and using the Light Table I can spend time arranging, comparing and rearranging my presentation slides in a logical order.

I enjoy searching for just the right images to express the key points that are essential to my main message and help create a visual storyboard. I found that using this visual method to build your presentation deck also works well for a team.

2. Design Your Presentation Like a Story

Storytelling is an important element when it comes to making effective presentations. Our brains are hardwired for stories. Using stories to communicate your points, brings life to even the most boring subjects and audiences remember them.

My presentations are much more personal if I use personal photos to illustrate my message. They enhance the story and create more of a personal connection with my audience than using stock photos.

My image filled slides become my guide. I don’t have to use any notes when presenting. I can maintain direct eye contact with an audience and my presentations tend to flow better than if I’m using text filled or bullet pointed slides.

3. Be A Good Editor

David Ogilvy famously said, “I am a lousy copywriter, but I am a good editor.”

When I’m finished with an initial draft, I’ve identified my main theme and selected no more three main points. Then I begin the difficult part of editing the presentation. If a slide doesn’t support the theme and my main points then it’s deleted. To push myself even further, I’ll often set a maximum number of slides to be used, depending on the type of presentation. This practice forces me to be as concise as possible.

Most agency presentations fail because they’ve overloaded their audience with to much information.  They just can’t control that urge to give their audience more. But, just because you said it doesn’t mean they’ll remember it.

“The more points you try to make, the less points they’ll get.” Olivia Mitchell, presentation trainer

Additional articles that may be of interest:

I also recommend the book, Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery by Garr Reynolds

About Michael Gass

Consultant | Trainer | Author | Speaker

Since 2007, he has been pioneering the use of social media, inbound and content marketing strategies specifically for agency new business.

He is the founder of Fuel Lines Business Development, LLC, a firm which provides business development training and consulting services to advertising, digital, media and PR agencies.

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