Let’s face it. The slide deck is dead! Your real interview starts at the Q&A session.
Death to presentation slides!
Long live the Q&A!
In previous posts I offer the logic of Letting Go to get ahead. There are so many great tips and authors on creating slide decks for everything from Ted talks to board meetings that I would be crazy not mentioning them. While I am offering this new approach and will be exploring this in detail with you, my reader I want you to know that a future exists where slide don’t.
In keeping with my Rule of 3, let’s get started.
- Send the slide deck ahead of any meeting
- Reframe a background deck to just high points and emotional images or simply Q&A.
- Hit the high points while offering a interactive and productive Q&A with your audience
Why mention a deck at all if my point is to get rid of slide decks in meetings? Here is why. A slide deck is an important tool and should be used where it is most effective. My point is really in #3. Winning the Q&A is your last and most important impression. On stage you won’t have that in most cases, so a slide deck is perfect. In a meeting the Q&A is the last thing anyone will remember.
Guy Kawasaki and Nancy Duarte both advocate efficient and emotional slide creation. If you have not seen this work, please visit them and understand the power of a better slide deck. Use this information to create your information in a powerful way giving context to your ideas and execution. Then, take my advice.
- Master the Q&A
- Be nimble on your metaphorical and real feet
- Be a game changer by being engaging
I have listened to thousands of pitches. From startups to corporate programs they are all about the same. Mostly long on information and short on persuasion. The above authors and my self often drive people to avoid these cardinal sins.
- Read from the slides
- Load them up with text
- Features and functions over a solid story and value prop
How can anyone expect to fix this when they use slides as the foundation of meetings? Let go of the slides! Interact with the people in the room! Put only one slide up if you must. Q&A. In almost all meetings, the slides set the conversation in motion and ironically have the presenter saying: “I don’t want this to be an open dialog”, then they run through the slide which are interrupted and talked over leaving the universal comment that the slides were wrong. Then most meeting end up being a slide counciling session. Who want’s that to be the last impression at an investment meeting????
One critical aspect of this process is making sure your audience has the information you intend to present in advance. I will use the VC format which is very unlike a Ted talk. You should send your slide deck in advance and be done with it. Advise your audience of your intent and method. Simple as that. Have your presentation available if they must see it, but only show it in a run through and move to Q&A. Send a clear message. Study up I am coming for Q&A and interact with you.
Present your refined story slides if you need a backdrop. Try not to present the contet slides which are always filled with facts, figures, features and functions. Focus on the interaction and dialog. Know your content, which you do, and engage with the audience. This will show your competence an ability to sell. So, let go of the slides and make your success happen