In Body language, Delivery, Environment, Feedback, Meetings, Message creation, Mindset, News, Owning space, The Winning Voice, Voice

“Few things seem to get CEOs riled up more than lengthy PowerPoint presentations.

It’s not the software they dislike: that’s just a tool.

What irks them is the unfocused thinking

that leads to an overlong slide presentations. There is wide agreement it’s a problem: “Death by PowerPoint” has become a cliché.”

The above quote is listed under the heading of ‘A simple mindset’ – one of five qualities that Adam Bryant maintains the best CEOs share, in his article Distilling the Wisdom of CEOs.

The other four qualities are:

Passionate Curiosity’,

‘Battle-Hardened Confidence’,

‘Team Smarts’


(The article was adapted from Bryant’s book, The Corner Office: Indispensable and Unexpected Lessons from CEOs on How to Lead and Succeed, Times Books).

The phrase “unfocused thinking’ resonates with me. Many business people don’t think, or do minimal thinking prior to a pitch presentation, or any other type of presentation.

Reflect on a recent presentation . . . . Did you share a clear key message(s) in the first few minutes, that you wanted the audience to retain and/or act upon?

Was it so clear and simple – that an audience member could exit the room and share the message(s) with a person not in the meeting?

If not, let me suggest you either didn’t:

a. do enough thinking prior to the presentation to decide what were the top one to three key messages.

b. translate those message into simple language. For example, three bullet points or two sentences.

c. deliver those simple messages you had planned to deliver. (eg. you went off-script).

Of course, as with any personal communication, you also have to convey yourself and your messages with confidence, energy and certainty.

When you crystal clear about your key messages, you’ll be able to delete many of your PowerPoint slides. ** In some presentations/pitches no slides are needed.

Own the Conversation

In the next seven days:

  • Take extra time prior to any presentation to form a simple clear key take-away message(s)/call(s) to action – while also ‘sizing’ the target audience.
  • Deliver and Spotlight the key messages in the first few minutes of the presentation. For example use this Spotlighting language. ‘Here are the key points I want you to take-away‘ or ‘Here is the bottom line’.

p.s. **Here is my popular post that might interest: Why you’re still abusing audiences with PowerPoint and what do to about it.

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