Powerpoint – the good, the bad and the rather pretty solution

Monday, February 11, 2019

Luckily, every time I find myself searching for a blog topic, someone kindly asks me a new and interesting question during a meeting or workshop. One I recently received, from a highly experienced presenter and salesman just before Christmas, was “what’s changed in the presenting world in the last 20 years?”

Fortunately, or unfortunately, I’ve been in the industry for long enough to answer that question first hand and while I was going to write a blog on my top 6 changes, I realised that Powerpoint is such a substantial topic in its own right, and given I’m trying to write shorter blogs, I’ll stick to the one issue today and save the other 5 for next month’s blog and newsletter.

Without doubt, the most obvious change of the last 20 years, in presenting as elsewhere, is technology, or more specifically, the ubiquitousness of Powerpoint. “When I was a lad…” when I first started in this industry, we were still helping clients put together their transparencies for overhead projectors. Sometimes the deck would fall and all the slides would get muddled up, the lightbulb on the projector would blow, someone had mistaken the screen for a whiteboard and written on it in permanent marker and sometimes the key slide of the entire deck went missing in action.

The good news is that many of these troubles have been mitigated with the advent of Powerpoint. The bad news of course, as already mentioned, is its ubiquitousness (I could have said ‘prevalence’ or ‘pervasiveness’ but I like the word ‘ubiquitous’ and I’m secretly hoping everyone who reads this, takes it on board subliminally and sneaks it into a conversation or presentationin the next 24 hours making the word itself more ubiquitous.)

Leaving aside my excessive use of the one word, there’s a wonderful opportunity embedded in the problem which is that it doesn’t take much to look different from everyone else. Many, if not most, of the businesses I work with, still suffers from:

  • Too much clutter and detail on their slides because “our slide-pack doubles as our handout at the end of the presentation” - Major tip: don’t. Sorry. I know it seems like a hassle, but you’ll need a separate, more detailed, stand-alone document and an abridged version for the slides. The hassle will be worth it if they actually take something out of your visual presentation, it genuinely serves to support your argument and your slides are less crowded than your competitors;
  • Slides that look like everybody else’s - Similar to above, enlist your marketing team to help it look good and stand out;
  • Slides that all look the same as each other - Vary your bullets, graphs, tables, infographics and photos;
  • Simply too much reliance on the one medium 1 - Consider planning and using a second medium like a whiteboard, flipchart, physical prop or single page handout during the presentation to vary where our eyes are looking and create a ‘heartbeat moment’ that jolts us out of our ‘tv viewing mode’
  • Too much reliance on the one medium 2 – by blanking the screen from time to time (for those who’ve trained with me before, you’ll remember the ‘b’ button) to answer a question, ask a question of the group, tell a story or show something on the whiteboard, you’ll again wake them out of their reverie and build a more substantial rapport with the audience that gives you more humanness and connection than your competitors.

So vary it up to keep them engaged….and stay tuned as I round out my top half dozen changes to presenting in the last 20 years in my next newsletter.

  • Want to get this learning across to your team?  Why not hire f2f to deliver it?  Contact us to get a quote today.
Post has no comments.
Post a Comment
Captcha Image

What our clients say...

Business Development Manager

I now feel less nervous about the concept of presenting generally and more in control of the process

Category Manager
General Mills

Carolyn not only presented useful information but demonstrated what she taught

Category Manager

I had a fantastic experience, thank you Carolyn. I'm now more inspired to face challenges.

Customer Service Officer
First State Super

Very productive and empowering experience

Victorian Auditor General's Office

Very interactive and practical, not only for presenting, but also for reporting structures

Victoria Auditor General's Office

Fantastic, approachable, fun and really helpful

Treasury Corporation Victoria

Excellent. Good mixture of theory and practice. One of the best courses I have ever experienced

Finance Operations Manager

Loved It. I have left with tools I can use tomorrow to improve all my meetings and presentations.

Finance Operations Manager

Loved It. I have left with tools I can use tomorrow to improve all my meetings and presentations.

General Manager

“Until I met Carolyn and listened to her audio course, I thought that to be a good presenter, I needed to morph into a different person. Carolyn helped me realise that being true to my unique style and personality is my greatest asset when presenting. She provides really useful tools and techniques that helped me develop my very own formula for presentation success”

General Manager

It is all about outcomes for F2F and this is what I most appreciated as a participant in the Influencing Skills training - they always had my growth as a leader in mind, and I was kept honest through follow up work to ensure my learning was put into practice.

General Manager Business Operations
IAG (Insurance Australia Group)

Carolyn was excellent. Great anecdotes, great pace, very engaging

General Manager Marketing

Fantastic depth of knowledge and ability to demonstrate technology

HR Director
adidas Australia

Each year we ask F2F back to deliver training at adidas because they are organised, know their stuff and get results. The execution is seamless and their exceptional ability as trainers, unquestionable.

International Market Research Firm

Carolyn was helpful, respectful, empathetic and humorous€ a consummate presenter. Thank you

Logistics Manager
Mainfreight Logistics

Interesting, relevant, motivating, enlightening and fast moving

National Business Manager

Very relevant, logical, useful information. Immediately applicable in the workplace.

Operations Manager
IAG Limited

Not only have I personally seen the skills of my team improve, their feedback suggests unanimously that the programs were well organised, professional, challenging and stimulating. They felt in short they had indeed developed their skills.


Excellent! Very knowledgable and experienced and it shows.

Regulatory analyst
Essential Services Commission

Lots of great tips. Lots of references to other resources. A terrific framework for planning presentations. A very worthwhile use of my time

Regulatory Consultant
Essential Services Commission

I can use everything that we covered in the session immediately in all of my work - highly relevant! It will save me heaps of time and help me focus on a clear message that connects with the reader.

Sales analyst

This training provided the structure and knowledge I was looking for. My role often requires me to persuade people. This provided me with the tools to do so.

Sales Development Manager

A wealth of information and very supportive in delivery

Senior Associate

Apart from presentations, these skills will be useful for ordering my thoughts in arguments for meetings and preparing written advice

Senior Associate

Very engaging and practical.  Planning was always hard and time consuming for me.  The skills learnt will definitely solve that.

Telstra Media/Entertainment

Fantastic – feeling very empowered now. Looking forward to my next presentation.

Telstra Relationship Marketing

The best presentation skills I’ve done and in fact among the best training I’ve done.  I used the planning format straight away and it worked.  Fantastic course.