47% of presenters take more than 8 hours to design their slide decks. That means that almost half of all presentations created in-house incapacitate valuable team members for at least a day (just for design). Unfortunately, the result is often sub-par even after numerous hours spent behind the scenes creating slides. It adds very little value to the presentation except for helping the speaker navigate their train of thought. 

So, how can presenters reduce their design time while ensuring that the slides still elevate the presentation and help persuade the audience? The solve requires presenters to step away from their desks and put the design elements of creating a powerful presentation on the back burner (at least for now). Here’s why: 

Can you still present without PowerPoint?

Suppose you were to present without the aid of your slide deck. Would their absence influence the confidence you have in your message? Probably. Although slides are a crucial part of presentation strategy, they cannot be the focal point of a successful presentation. 

So, if you’re asking yourself whether you can present without PowerPoint and the answer is no, it’s time to pause prepping the preso for a moment and take it back to basics – presentation framework, narrative and delivery. Here’s how:

Know your starting point

Most people mistakenly prioritise design when it comes to creating their presentations from scratch. In fact, many presenters rate the success of a presentation on how well they’ve designed their slide deck. This is where the issue starts. Blaming the slides for a bad presentation is like blaming a pan for a bad meal. The solution is to trace back the process all the way to the start, the recipe.

Now lets reveal that secret formula

Each presentation is written before it is designed before it’s delivered. Before opening up your trusted slidekick, whether PowerPoint or Prezi, presenters need to have mastered the message first. This can only be done when you know how to create the right narrative. Creating said narrative requires presenters to understand how to best filter content and create a message that aligns with the audience. At Missing Link, we teach presenters how to ace their narrative by focusing on four little lines that do the trick every time – our CBKD structure. 

  1. Give them a reason to care. 
  2. Give them a reason to believe. 
  3. Tell them what they need to know
  4. Tell them what they need to do.

The design phase

Mastering the message is only part of the presentation but forms the foundation of everything else to follow. You may be able to win an audience without slides, but without the message – it’s going to be a rough one. However, this doesn’t negate the importance of slides, albeit you know how to navigate through the design phase.

Often, presenters are so afraid of losing time and resources to designing and creating slides that they cling to the few ‘good’ presentation slides they do have in their arsenal. In fact, up to 75% of participants in a recent study reuse the same slide deck at least once. Sure, ‘good slides’ will continue to support the speaker. Still, great slides enhance the entire experience – and that means creating unique slides for each individual presentation that speaks to the specific audience you’re targeting, the specific context you’re presenting in and the individual presenter’s natural strengths and talents.

The plot twist, however, is that with the right training, it not only becomes quicker to design these slides, but the end result incorporates presentation design best practices by teaching presenters:

  • How the mind’s channels process different information streams simultaneously.
  • What tools, applications and websites are available for presentation slide design – and how to get the best out of them.
  • The theory of presentation design and slide design.

Stand and deliver

What’s the difference between sending your potential clients a newsletter or email with a few informative attachments and a game-changing presentation? It’s not the slides; it’s you. Presentations only pack as much of a punch as the confidence you’re swinging with. Your presentation’s success depends on your ability to stand and deliver as the best version of yourself. The right presentation training teaches presenters how to stand and deliver like a pro, using pitch, pace, pose, pauses and peroration to create narrative dynamics, engage with the audience and activate their attention, and use (very natural) nerves to uplift their energy.

I need a drink to calm my nerves

At Missing Link, we’ll always vouch for the importance of including quality and intentionally designed slides. However, when it’s time to start designing your slide deck, you can’t just wing it. Instead, invest in the only presentation training you’ll ever need and equip your team with the skills to master the message, pimp the preso and stand and deliver in one fell swoop. 

Master the message, pimp your preso and stand and deliver.