SlideRocket Blog

SlideRocket Tip – Presenting to Top Management

By Nat Robinson on July 22, 2010

This is a guest post by Vivek Singh. He is a marketing manager by profession. He is also the author of the popular blog Visit his blog for useful tips on presentations.

If your CEO remembers the top 3 things you said during the presentation, you've done a great job.

Making a presentation to top management is very different from making a presentation to the middle/junior management. Today we will try to understand what exactly this difference is and how to successfully present to top management.

Present the conclusion at the very start
In school you would have written a précis. A précis is a summary of the main points of the story. You need to do the same thing for your top management. First you make the presentation the way you normally do. Then add an empty slide at the very start (let’s call it the summary slide). Run through your presentation and put down the main points on this summary slide.
Top management is not here to listen to the complete story. You cannot afford to build the argument gradually and reveal the conclusion at the end. Instead put the conclusion at the start. Then go on and explain how you arrived at this conclusion. Your audience will ask for explanations and details wherever they need. You need not provide too much information. Remember, less is more with the top management.

Time is money
Be short and sweet. Do not be slow and do not repeat your points. Your CEO is always busy and cannot manage to sit through hour long presentations. Neither does he have the time nor the attention span. You need to share everything you have to say in crystal clear terms and then leave the questioning to the CEO. Whenever he seeks explanation, you can go in-depth.
The success of your presentation can be measured by a simple question. “If your CEO remembers the top 3 things you said during the presentation and why you said those things; you have done a great job.”

Use Back up Slides
When you present to the top management use what is called a ‘Back up Slide’. Suppose you are presenting on cost cutting. You have done a lot of study and your presentation talks about your 5 findings; the areas your organization is losing money and how to cut costs in these areas.
You have made detailed calculations to arrive at these findings. Your presentation has these findings and then you go on to recommend cost cutting measures. You are not going to present these detailed calculations (which led you to the findings) else the presentation will stretch for hours.  In such a case, keep these calculations ready on a slide (place it after the last slide). You might be asked to prove your findings, in which case you can open these back up slides. These slides support your findings. They are to be presented when your findings are being questioned and investigated in details.

Do not try to show you have worked hard
There is a strong urge in managers to show to the CEO that they have worked hard. Because they get to spend less time with the CEO they make their best efforts to impress him. This behavior leads them to fill their presentation with minute details. The number of bullet points is treated as directly proportional to work done. The more the bullets, the harder you have worked.
This needs to stop. What will impress the CEO is a simple presentation which shares the crux in a few slides and is backed up by solid reasoning. If your presentation gets your point across clearly, the rest will take care of itself.

Give a Handout
Your CEO will be busy with his/her Black Berry most of the time. He will check his mail and get urgent calls. Understand that there are more important things for him to do. It would be great if you carry a print out of the main points of the presentation. Make it no longer than one page. If you HAVE TO share some data/charts to back up your main points, then use Annexure. In the annexure, share the chart/graph; give a suitable heading and a one sentence summary of the chart.

To read more presentation tips visit Vivek’s blog All About Presentations or read other tips in this SlideRocket blog series.

Happy Anniversary! – Man On The Moon

By John Rode on July 20, 2010

41 years ago today, on July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin set foot on the moon. These engaging slides tell the story of the moment along with other NASA photos of earth that are the legacy of the Apollo 11 mission. These photos are from our friends at Flickr, which is embedded right inside the SlideRocket editor. Please Enjoy!

Our Favorite Old Spice Guy Moments

By John Rode on July 15, 2010

Talk about an engaged audience! Across YouTube, Twitter and the blogs, Old Spice has hit it big with their Old Spice Man commercials. We pulled together a sampling of great “Old Spice Guy” YouTube videos along with their associated Tweets. For kicks we added the Old Spice Man live Twitter feed to the last slide. Check it out!

We’re (all 5 million of us) impressed with how Old Spice rolled out this engaging, original and authentic commercial series. Clearly, they did their homework to define their target audience, build their brand and plan their communication. But of equal importance, they weren’t afraid to take the creative risk to stand above the fray of consumer advertising.

Congratulations to Old Spice!

Art & Science Unite In The Marketing Cloud

By John Rode on July 8, 2010

In today’s online marketing world, marketers balance the tension between “marketing art” and “marketing science”.

Clearly, the roots of marketing are in art as advertising, communications, and presentations depend on things that look good, sound good and read well.  But with the advent of online marketing the pendulum has swung to favor marketing science, right? Measure everything and let the numbers tell you what to do next? In general, marketing is trending this way. But if you look more closely across marketing disciplines it’s clear art is a key ingredient, if not the main ingredient, in each area.

Art is where your science meets the marketing road

Lead generation is a great example of a marketing discipline where science has taken a central role. The numbers rule lead generation. How many leads do you need to hit your number? What’s the Cost Per on those leads? Science is in charge, but when it gets down to the “how” of generating those qualified leads, you turn to art for the better message, landing page, email subject, etc.

“The art and the science are intermingled…the science drives the segmentation, targeting and ROI metrics, the art drives the response”.

- Chris Willis, Sales Operations/Marketing Analytics, Vertafore

In order to get all your charts pointing in the right direction, you’ll need to engage with a human. But your testing, ROI measurement and iterations to improve campaign performance will be a scientific effort.

Science for analytics, art for usability

Science has truly arrived on websites, and it’s not difficult to get carried away with website analytics and search engine optimization at the expense of usability. The use of websites as generators of organic leads via search engine rankings only increases the marketing art vs. science tension.

“The pendulum swung with great force toward the side of science, but I believe (hope) it’s settling back toward a balanced middle. 
I’ve worked on a few projects over the last couple of years where measurement (particularly SEO and testing) took 99% precedence, and I believe the brand and usability suffered greatly”.

- Kristy Melgoza, Web Designer, BC Studios

As we analyze data to help drive decision-making, marketers like Kristy remind us that no matter how much we love the Google spiders, we ignore usability at our peril.

Science informing your art

Presentations and slide decks are an interesting example of where connecting with an audience is so critical that art remains the focus. Inherently visual, presentations have always been largely an art. And with the arrival of online presentations, art has been amplified by employing science to learn how to better connect with their audience by tracking presentation performance. How many people viewed the presentation you sent? Which slides are least and most effective? Science also smooths the path for presentation creators to collaborate, control their brand, and embed multimedia more easily.

“Online presentations are the basis for effective communication and audience engagement. They must engage immediately, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a science to it. Measuring presentation effectiveness is increasingly important”.

- Nat Robinson, VP of Marketing & Business Development, SlideRocket

Art drives audience engagement

Effectively interacting with people online truly is an art form. We’re all still figuring this stuff out. Even those who are really good at it are trying to understand what they’ve got on their hands. You make this a science at your own peril. Auto-responders on Twitter? Spamming LinkedIn groups? That’s going to be a tough road. Connecting one-on-one with people in the heat of the conversation…now you have something.

“I think that marketing (in my experience) needs to balance the science with the art, because, after all, we are talking about gaining the attention of, and fostering engagement with, the individual people who comprise our audiences.”

- Sarah Skerik, Vice President of Social Media, PR Newswire

In this (wholly unscientific) polling of marketers, I was struck by the patterns that started to emerge in the marketing art versus science debate. Driven largely by their area of marketing focus, the art camp rallied around social media, websites, and presentations. The science camp spoke mostly to strategy, ROI and tactical elements of things like segmentation and SEO. But the common theme running across 80% of the responses was that maintaining a balance between art and science was key. And several marketers cited this as the primary challenge they face in light of pressure from executives. And you can really boil this debate down to ROI versus Engagement. And we all know you can’t have one without the other.

SlideRocket Tip – 6 Secrets for Pitching Your Startup

By Nat Robinson on July 7, 2010

Investors hear, on average, five to eight presentations each day from entrepreneurs looking to obtain financial backing for their new business ventures.  But, only a fraction of these startup companies will get the funding they want.  How do you make sure yours is one of them?

Investors hear, on average, five to eight presentations each day.

Here are some valuable guidelines to follow when preparing your pitch to venture capitalists, angel investors, and other financiers.

1. What’s the Goal?
You won’t know if you were successful, unless you know exactly what you were trying to achieve in the first place.  Whether you’re looking to secure a funding commitment, or simply spark enough interest to schedule a follow-up meeting, clearly define your objective ahead of time.

2. Sum it All Up at the Start
You’ve got one minute to grab an investor’s attention.  So, a pitch that gets off to a slow start is bound to fall flat.  Kicking your presentation off with a dynamic one to two sentence summary that highlights your idea and its potential value will help you get them interested.

3. Back it Up with Details
In order to win the confidence of investors, you’ll need to show them that you have more than just a winning idea.  In addition to explaining your high-level vision, be sure to provide some details about how you plan to execute, such as a go-to-market strategy.

4.  The Proof is In the Numbers

Venture capitalists and other investors like numbers, particularly “mega trends”. So, back your ideas and theories up with as many industry benchmarks, statistics, and metrics as you possibly can.  The more reputable the sources, the better.

5.  Leave the Spreadsheets at Home

Your audience wants to see anticipated return on investment in the form of revenues, profits, or market share.  But, boring, dry spreadsheets or profit and loss statements are not the most effective way to do this.  Instead, wow investors with charts, graphs, and other exciting visuals that clearly convey expected value.

6. Speak with Passion
If you don’t show conviction in your idea, it will be very hard to get your audience excited about it.  Strong voice inflection and dramatic hand gestures are just a few of the ways you can demonstrate your passion for your concept, and your belief in its viability.

Want more valuable tips on effective presentation creation and delivery? Review our archive of presentation tips and check back every week for new posts.

Find more great tips and resources at the Presentation Skills Launch Pad.

SlideRocket Tip – How to Give an Amazing Product Demonstration

By Nat Robinson on June 30, 2010

Many speakers follow up their presentation with a demonstration of their product.  Whether it’s a software application, a piece of mechanical equipment, or a small appliance, the demo is the presenter’s chance to put their words into action, validating the claims they made during their slide deck.

The demo is your chance to put words into action.

Yet, most presenters are so focused on the quality of the presentation itself, they forget to fine-tune the demo.  As a result, they build up audience expectations, then fall flat when it really counts.

Here are some great tips for giving an amazing product demonstration.

1. Differentiate Yourself
Chances are, the prospective customer already has evaluated similar products, or will be speaking to other competitors in the near future, before making a final decision.  Since time will be limited, don’t waste it walking them through all the “me too” features.  Instead, highlight the characteristics of your product that make it unique and/or superior.

2. Customize It
Every product has countless interesting features and functions, but you’ll only have time to demonstrate a fraction of them.  So, it’s best to gather a little intelligence in advance.  Find out what the customer is trying to achieve through the use of your product, and focus on those capabilities that will help them get there.

3. Make It Interactive
Keep your audience engaged at all times, especially if the product you are showing is complex in nature.  Allow them to ask questions, or even select an audience member to participate “hands on”.  This will not only prevent their attention from wandering, it will give you the opportunity to capture valuable information about what they want to see, so you can structure the demonstration accordingly.

4.  Keep It Simple
Always remember that your audience doesn’t have the same level of technical or mechanical savvy that you do.  To avoid confusion, whenever possible, steer clear of technical or engineering jargon, and present the features of your product in layman’s terms.

5.  Be Flexible
Scripting and practicing your demo ahead of time is a wise idea.  However, you need to leave some room for “on the fly” change, based on audience response.  For example, a prospect may request to see a certain feature that you weren’t planning to show.  Or, they may ask a question that requires you to go back and re-explain functions that were already covered.   While preparedness is important, you also need to be able to “go with the flow”, so the audience is satisfied.

6.  You Need a Plan B
You’ve finished delivering your slides, and you’re getting ready to show your product.  But, you discover that it’s broken.  Now what?  Make sure you always have a backup plan in case of such emergencies.  For example, if its equipment you’re demonstrating, bring a second piece, just in case.  Or, keep a brief tutorial video on hand, so you can convey how certain features work.  If you’re showing software, be sure the room has a Web connection.  If your laptop fails, you can simply access the application via the Internet.

Want more valuable tips on effective presentation creation and delivery? Review our archive of presentation tips and check back every week for new posts.

5 Ways to Turn Company Slide Decks into Marketing Weapons

By Heidi Jackman on June 22, 2010

Every marketer creates company presentations on a regular basis, but do you see slides as a chance to boost branding, drive customer engagement, and increase sales? More likely, you think creating presentations is a chore. Yet when done right, slide decks can be the ultimate weapon in your marketing arsenal.

Whether you’re developing a presentation for your worldwide sales team, putting together a few slides for your CEO’s upcoming presentation at a conference, or presenting a new messaging framework to the company, a set of engaging, brand-consistent slides is one of the strongest assets you have to build your business and boost revenues.

As ever, your slides should be engaging and exciting; boring slides will dampen, even damage, customer interest in your brand. Thankfully for those of us on the hook to create slide presentations, there are several web-based applications available that allow you to incorporate rich media, social features, real-time feeds, video and photos, and other interactive elements into slide decks. The trick is to make presentations interactive using social features so you can invite audience feedback before, during, and after you deliver your message. Social presentations allow you to engage your potential customers in a conversation instead of boring them into a coma. The result is deeper brand engagement — now and over the long term.

What’s more, in today’s share-everything, web-based world, ensuring that every slide deck you create presents a unified message is crucial to maintaining brand integrity. Your slides might get shared far and wide, so make sure your company message is clear, concise, and consistent.

Here are five tips to make your marketing presentations more social, engaging, and interactive:

Set the real (or virtual) stage
You might be creating a slide presentation to deliver in front of a live audience, or you might simply be creating the deck to distribute to potential customers via email or the web. Either way, start by creating anticipation around your presentation. Reach out to your intended audience using social media channels to get them excited about your presentation. Online community tools like MeetUp and Ning, as well Twitter hashtags or a dedicated Facebook page, allow you to spread the word about your upcoming presentation. As the creator of the presentation, make sure to participate in these communities by soliciting feedback on your proposed topic and networking with key contacts before your presentation.

Be social-friendly
The days of pushing marketing messages out to your audiences and hoping they notice are long gone; today’s marketing world is social, two-way, and based on the constant flow of real-time customer feedback. Likewise, your presentations should leverage social tools to create an interactive dialogue between your brand and potential customers. To make presentations “social friendly,” add short sound bites to your slides that your audience can quickly absorb and share with their larger social networks (think 140 characters). Also, include links to Facebook, Twitter, and blog entries that customers or partners have written about your brand. Add widgets from Yahoo or Google that display real-time stock tickers, RSS feeds, and other streamed information. Lastly, don’t forget to list personal and/or company social media links prominently at the beginning and end of your presentation. Inviting people to keep your message alive can be very powerful.

Invite feedback
Whether you’re delivering the presentation live or sending it to your intended audience to view later, make sure your slides include interactive elements that allow people to provide their feedback and opinions. If you won’t be there to deliver the presentation in person, include clickable buttons in your slides that say things like “Click here to share your opinion,” as well as urge people to visit your Facebook, Twitter, and other social platforms to share their thoughts.

Backchannel basics
Inviting your live audience (and those watching your presentation from afar via the web or participating through other’s tweets) to comment in real-time on your presentation via a live Twitter feed is a powerful way to turn your presentation into a two-way conversation. Of course, it can also invite disaster if the audience begins posting negative or inappropriate comments while you are speaking. The way to manage the backchannel is to make sure you can see all comments as they come in, and better yet, incorporate these comments into your presentation. This takes a bit of multitasking, but by addressing feedback directly, you’ll avoid the torrential “pile up” of comments that can quickly turn negative. Today, there are tools (like SlideRocket) available to import backchannel comments directly into your presentation, so both you and the audience see them in real-time.

Keep talking
Like any marketing campaign, an interactive presentation is just the start of a longer and deeper conversation with your audience. The social nature of the web today means people who like your presentation will want to comment on it and share it with friends and colleagues. Make sure your presentations include “share this presentation” buttons, and also post the presentation, or parts of it, on the wider social web. You can put the presentation videos on YouTube, post the slides on your company’s Facebook page or intranet, and include a link to your online slide presentation in email campaigns, websites, or other marketing materials. By getting your presentation out there, you’ll invite continued feedback and build a larger social network of interested customers or employees.

If you think like a marketer when creating slides and make them social and interactive, you’re well on your way to attracting new customers and a loyal brand following with every presentation.

SlideRocket Tip – Presentation Theatrics: Adding Drama to Your Presentation

By Nat Robinson on June 17, 2010

While in some presentation scenarios, the subtle approach in the better one to take, many cases call for a very over-the-top delivery, one in which everything – from the speaker’s hand gestures to the tone of his voice – has a theatrical flair to it.

Add some drama and give the audience a presentation they'll never forget.

By taking up the excitement and energy up a notch or two, and sprinkling in a little drama, you can give your audience a presentation experience they’ll never forget.

How can you make your delivery more theatrical and dramatic?  Here are some great ways to breathe life into your presentation:

1. Tell a Story
Nothing adds drama to a presentation more than an action-packed, one-of-a kind tale that demonstrates your key points.  Trying to teach attendees about motivation and perseverance?  Talk about the time your brother finished a triathlon – in first place – while battling the swine flu.  Giving advice on effective interview techniques?  Share the story of when you were put in front of an executive “firing squad”, and how you managed to keep your cool – and get the job.  Interesting, thrilling stories will captivate your audience, and create a sense of excitement around your subject matter.

2. Bigger, Bolder, Louder
At the heart of every dramatic presentation is the strong use of emphasis. Drama is all about exaggeration.  So, everything from your voice inflections to your hand motions and facial expressions, and even the images you use on your slides, should be far “grander” than normal, particularly at times when you want to draw attention to the most important elements within your content.

3.  Act It Out
Speeches can get dry and boring.  The presenter talks, the audience listens.  Yawn.  Whenever possible, jazz it up by acting out the ideas you’re trying to convey.  For example, if you’re training new customer support reps on how to handle angry clients, act out a mock conversation between a caller and an agent.  You can even engage your audience further by asking them to participate in these “acts”.

4. Its All About the Showmanship
When you are delivering a dramatic presentation, keep in mind that you are the host, the ringmaster, the emcee.  It’s up to you to set the tone, and to make your presentation as entertaining as possible.  Put on your showman’s hat, and bring all the charm and charisma you can muster.

5.  Put Yourself in the Audience’s Shoes
Review your presentation from the perspective of your attendees.  Go through it section by section, and analyze it carefully – for both content and delivery.  If it isn’t attention-grabbing, compelling, or high-impact, find a way to make it so – or remove it.

Want more valuable tips on effective presentation creation and delivery? Review our archive of presentation tips and check back every week for new posts.

SlideRocket Tip – Why You Need to Put Your Presentations Online

By Nat Robinson on June 10, 2010

You’ve done your research.  You’ve fine-tuned your content.  You’ve created a killer slide deck.  And, you’ve practiced over and over again.  What could possibly go wrong?

Are your presentations online?

The answer is – a lot!  If your slides are stored on your desktop or laptop, you may be leaving yourself open to major problems.  Many experts believe that hosting your presentation on the Web can reduce risks and help ensure a more seamless and trouble-free delivery.

Why do you need to put your presentation on the Web?

1. Computer Crashes
It’s the night before the big presentation, and you’ve decided to do one last dry run.  Halfway through slide number four, you get it – the dreaded “blue screen of death”.  And, to make matters worse, you didn’t make a back up copy of your deck.  You’ve now got a big problem on your hands, and will have to stay up until all hours of the night to re-create your presentation.  But, if you had posted a final copy on the Web, you could simply rent or borrow any Web-enabled PC to gain access your slides.

2. Corrupt Files
Perhaps your security software is out of date, creating major gaps in how completely your desktop or laptop is protected.  What happens if you get a virus (one that corrupts your presentation file)?  You’d be left with no visual aids for the audience – an issue that could seriously impact the effectiveness of your presentation.  But, if your slide set had been stored on the Web, it would be safe, virus-free, and easy to retrieve, regardless of what happens to your PC.

3. Version Control
Like most presenters, as you edit and modify your slide set, you likely end up saving multiple version of it on your PC.  Yet, in the midst of you pre-presentation jitters, you may accidentally open the wrong file on the big day.  Even worse, you probably won’t even realize your mistake until well into your session.  Which means, you’ll have to stop and switch decks mid-way – throwing both you and your audience off track.   But, if the final slide deck is posted to the Web before delivery, version control issues become non-existent.

4. Hyperlinks
Many presenters include hyperlinks within their slides, so they can easily get to Web pages they wish to refer to as they are speaking.  Now, imagine you have an outdated laptop without much processing power.  As the browser is opening, your PC locks up, making for one very awkward moment.  However, if you had been delivering a slide deck that was already on the Web, the browser would already be opened and the Web site would load quickly.

5.  Absentees
What happens if someone important can’t make it to your scheduled session, due to traffic, weather, or some other unexpected event?  In certain scenarios (for example, if you’re a sales rep giving a product pitch, and the missing person is the decision-maker), absences can make it nearly impossible to achieve your goal.  If your slides are on your laptop, there will be no way to share them without using a third-party tool – something that can take time to set up, and may delay the start of your session.  But, if you’ve already got your presentation hosted on the Web, it can be easily accessed from remote locations.  So, all important stakeholders can experience your slides, even if an emergency has prevented them from doing so in person.

Want more valuable tips on effective presentation creation and delivery? Review our archive of presentation tips and check back every week for new posts.

SlideRocket Tip – 4 Ways To Measure Presentation Success

By Nat Robinson on May 27, 2010

You delivered your slides perfectly. Your timing was impeccable. Your audience was fully engaged at all times. Even your old, outdated laptop – which often fails you at the most inopportune times – performed flawlessly. Everything seemed to go as smoothly as possible.

How are you measuring presentation success?

But, can your presentation really be considered a success? Here are some of the best ways to decide:

1. Track Views and/or Downloads
This can be an extremely valuable performance metric if your presentation was made available “on-demand” via the Web. How many times was it viewed, and by how many different people? Those numbers will help you determine whether or not your slide deck, and its key messages, are resonating with your target audience.

2. Count the “Drop Offs”
Every speaker can expect to lose an audience member or two during the course of their presentation, especially if it is being broadcast over the Web, where attendees are subject to countless distractions. But, an unusually high number of “drop offs” is a clear indicator that your presentation, or its central theme or topic, is lacking something, and may need more fine-tuning.

3. The Call to Action – The Ultimate Test
Did your audience do what you wanted or asked them to do after your session was over? For example, if you were conducting a training course for an upcoming exam, how many of your students passed the test? If you were pitching a new product, how many customers requested more information, scheduled a demo, or made a purchase? The actions attendees take immediately after a presentation – and whether or not those were the desired or intended outcomes – is one of the best ways to gauge how successful it truly was.

4. Measure the Business Impact
Although you likely had a specific “call to action” in mind when delivering your presentation, there are also other, secondary benefits that can be achieved – benefits that can have a profound impact on your business. Did you build stronger customer loyalty? Win new business? Generate awareness in your market? Help your audience learn and grow? These factors can also be used to help evaluate the success of your presentation.

If you’re having trouble measuring presentation success you’ll want to take a closer look at SlideRocket’s industry leading presentation analytics to find out who’s watching your presentation, how long they watch it, which parts of your message resonate with your audience and what actions they take afterwards.

Want more valuable tips on effective presentation creation and delivery? Review our archive of presentation tips and check back every week for new posts.

« Newer PostsOlder Posts »