There were so many traumatic memories that bubbled to the surface in doing the last two editions of this series that we had room for one more. Just this last one, promise.
Take a look at these crazy requests and see why we deny them, politely mind you…
“I really think this graph tells the story best - can we leave it in?”
There is no way on earth it does. Your 24-bar graph with an overlaid scatter plot does nothing but make people flash back to high-school calculus and that is never a good thing. The moment we see a busy graph we stop listening to you so that our brains can deal with what we are looking at. And if your graph has lots of tiny writing or you are pointing at it with a laser pointer, it gets even more distracting.
Are there a few key facts or trends the graph is showing? There probably is. So rather than throw up a graph try a simple statistic and a clear image to make your point.
“It’s my favourite Dilbert cartoon.”
Good for you. It’s nice to know that somewhere in the world Dilbert still has a loyal fan base. But not in a presentation.
Recycling other people’s jokes needs to be done with skill in a presentation, whether it’s a joke you tell or a joke you show. Repeating a Dad joke or putting up a cartoon says you didn’t put much thought into it. It’s the presentation equivalent of buying someone a voucher.
Better to tell a real story which has a funny ending or makes a funny point. Better still if it has happened to you. And if it applies to your message, that’s a win!
“I just don’t like the white space.”
Well the brains of your audience do. So suck it up. White space used in slide design is powerful. It can give the eyes and brain a break from sensory overload, it can highlight a simple concept or image, it focuses the brain.
White space is like brussel sprouts. You probably don’t like it because you’ve never had it prepared well. Professional designers spend even more time being harangued about white space than you are. They know how to use it. Embrace the emptiness grasshopper.
“Can we add a legal disclaimer on the first slide?”
You what?! If it’s material you are not sure about, don’t put it on a slide! Share it some other way. A slide is like a billboard for your presentation. Think about it like that when you think about sharing stuff that you are a bit sketchy about.
“Let’s wait until I have feedback from the SLT on these before we finalise them.”
Bless your cowardly little heart! Getting the SLT to sign off on things at the end might cover your butt but 9 times out of 10 it causes unnecessary re-work of your presentation at a point in the process where there is the greatest time crunch. Trust us. We do presentations all. The. Time.
Get your SLT onboard for the briefing process. If their time is too precious to be involved at this point, maybe remind them that getting involved too late means re-work and re-work means more cost. That motivates them.
Cynicism aside, getting all the key people in a project together early makes for better work. And you know that.
When you’re ready to assemble your best minds and create a killer presentation we’re ready to be part of that mix. Let’s do something outstanding.