a powerpoint file and a presentation

“Who here has created ppts?”

“And who here has created presentations?”

We usually ask these two questions at our workshops. And the result is always pretty much the same.

When we ask the first question, almost everybody raises his hand. Then we ask the second question and it hangs in the air. Many raise their hands again, but many don’t. See, at this point everybody has a question on his mind. ”Aren’t you actually asking us the same thing?”

The answer is a resounding NO.

Ppts are not created.

PowerPoint is a great tool for presentations. But it is only one of the tools. Some people use Keynote and others use Prezi to create the visual part of their presentations.

“But don’t we at SOAP also create ppts?” No, again. Not SOAP nor anybody else! Microsoft has brilliantly taken care of that act of creation.

So just because you worked on a PowerPoint file, it doesn’t mean you created a presentation. We’re tired of seeing reports, documents, charts, that for some unfathomable reason were transported to PowerPoint… For sure it doesn’t mean a presentation was built.

So how to create a real presentation?

First, you need to do an intensive diagnosis. Yet, this important step is too often neglected.

We’re not talking here about making a list of the information you want in your slides. Instead, the diagnostic process consists of a deep study of the environment/setting of the presentation, of the presenter profile and, especially, of the profile of the expected audience and the purpose of the presentation.

So we’re talking here about planning and strategy. And it’s a far cry clicking open a new  PowerPoint file and spending hours thinking about slides while the fateful phrase, “Click to add title,” seems to defy you.

Create a story to engage your audience

Diagnosis done, it’s time to start building the heart and soul of your presentation: the STORY you’ll be telling. And the tool we use to transform data into story is the SCRIPT.

The question here is: what story will engage your audience and help you achieve your goal? And this is very worth thinking about: the overused mission – vision – values – our products – our service – our offices – our employees – our prizes approach will never engage an audience. Remember: your audience, their desires and their needs, need to be part of the story. So it’s time for real Storytelling!

State-of-the-art slides

Now you’re ready for the VISUAL CREATION. It’s time to develop the slides that will best illustrate your story. Don’t try here to put together a bunch of slides from other presentations. That would be the equivalent of making a new movie with scenes from old ones. It wouldn’t work, right?

But please remember: there are options besides ppt. What would prevent you from drawing a table on a whiteboard? Or drawing a chart on a flip chart on an easel? Or showing a video during a presentation? Or even distributing printed materials during a speech?

And there are always those not-so-good possibilities: what if the power went out and you couldn’t show your slides? Would you be able to give your presentation anyway? Of course, you would. After all, we’re talking about a unique chance, a unique strategic moment you cannot waste. As we said, presentations don’t have to be  limited to PowerPoint, and this means you need to be able to tell your story and “sell” your project with or without visual support!

A presentation doesn’t need to be accompanied by a PowerPoint file!

You: the star of your presentation

But you’re not done yet. A very accurate diagnosis, a killer story and outstanding visuals are no guarantee of success for a presentation. You also need time to prepare the most important piece of the puzzle: you! The key to success now is to rehearse, rehearse, rehearse and rehearse! Ideally, you should practice giving a presentation to the point that you no longer need slides to tell the story. Such PRESENTER TRAINING is vital to the success – or failure – of a presentation!

All of this we’ve learned over the years, so at SOAP we don’t just work on PowerPoint files, we also work on the strategies that will increase your chance of success in the decisive moments of your business.

So, now, what you will create for your next decisive moment? A PowerPoint file or a Presentation?