You are leading an important meeting and you know it will follow a time-tested routine: after a round of introductions, the lights are dimmed, and everyone turns their heads to the screen to stare at a PowerPoint (PPT) presentation.
This ritual is timeless, embedded in the minds of knowledge workers since middle school. As the screen dims and the opening slide appears, the audience is invited to switch off their minds and power down critical thought. After all, no one is going to call on you or ask questions to understand comprehension.
As the speaker narrates each slide, you study the words and figures on the slide, not really listening. The lights come back on and it’s time for discussion, the viewers power their brains back on. Does this ritual sound familiar? If so, it’s time to re-think your presentation deck.
To push you and your audience out of this comfort zone, try scrapping the detailed PowerPoint and move towards a Conversation Deck.
What is a Conversation Deck?
A conversation deck is meant to prompt discussion and thought. It skips the tendency of product managers everywhere to throw in the kitchen sink of benefits and problems solved and stays higher level. It is an invitation to your audience to discuss the issues and problems that they have today, not an assumption about what they need.
Conversation Deck vs. PowerPoint Presentation
How Do I Transform my PowerPoint Presentations?
- Resist the urge to detail every product benefit and problem solved. Instead, use open-ended statements and imagery to invite your viewers to tell you about their pain points.
- Take advantage of the visual medium. If a picture is worth a thousand words, why are you packing the screen with words? Choose evocative visuals and sparse type.
- The more words and infographics you include on a slide, the more your audience will focus on reading them instead of listening to you.
- Create excitement for your offering so at the end of the presentation, your audience will say “they understand me” and not “their solution really is thorough but is it right for us?”
Shift the deck and shift the conversation.
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