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Punctuation Does Not Belong in PowerPoint!

May 12th, 2012

You’re getting ready to deliver what you feel is a killer presentation to a key prospect next week. You’ve taken the time to customize the corporate deck and have dropped the prospects logo on the title slide right above the picture, however cliché, of two hands shaking indicating that you would like to be their business partner. You’ve rehearsed the slide timings time and time again walking through what you are going to say and where to place “the funnies” in the presentation…but there is one problem.  Does the content in your deck hurt your overall message?

Its so common to prepare a presentation deck that includes all of the topics and bullet points that you would like to get across to a prospect. That’s what we’ve all done for years. However, think about this: if everything that you want to say is on the screen, why do they need to listen to you? Its simple, they won’t.

The human brain is trained to look first and listen second. So if you give the audience what you have to deliver on screen, chances are, they won’t spend much time listening what you are saying (especially if all you are saying is exactly what is on screen)!

Now consider this, most people typically retain only 10% of what they see and 25% of what they hear. But if you can combine the two with unique attributes that relate to one another, the retention rate is better than 65%!  So in a competitive selling situation, in many cases, the way you convey your message can have a greater impact than what you are saying.

The following are a few rules to live by when creating your next presentation:

  • Punctuation has no place on a PowerPoint slide. If you take nothing more from this post, give this one a shot because it will help everything else fall in line. If your audience has to take time to read a sentence or worse, a paragraph, they have already tuned you out for a period of time.
  • Try writing that paragraph in the slide notes, and use that to convey your message. Now pick a few words…or even better, an image that will prompt interest in your topic and force the audience to open up their listening channel to figure out what you are trying to say
  • Use Animations – Not the typical “fade in” for each bullet point. Subtle Moving background images, moving words, nothing hokey like explosions or loud callouts. But give your slides a video like feel without detracting away from your message.
  • Finally, and this recommendation goes all the way back to public speaking 101, don’t read your slides! Using fewer words or images will help with this.

These tips can be easily adapted to delivering the content in an on-demand , web conference,  as well as in person format.

The end of the day, your rapport with the audience will give you a leg up over any great slide show. But these tips will differentiate you from your competition and allow your audience to remember more from you than the other sales reps.

Looking to drive sales productivity at your organization? Learn more about how Brainshark can help.