Recently, my colleague David Yockelson shared his thoughts on “the best sales deck ever.” That post, as well as several reviews that I have done recently of client, and Gartner internal, presentations were the driver for this post.
I’m a big believer in a pretty standard structure to presentations. Gartner largely leverages the models put forth by Dick Butterfield. I won’t echo it word for word, but my summary version of it is this:
- Open Strong – Within the first 2 or 3 slides, make sure the audience knows the big idea of the presentation, treating it like “if you only remember one thing from this session, it is this”
- Develop a story that explores that idea in parts
- Close Strong – Close as strong as you open. Return to that strong opening and repeat it, albeit with some color or refinement now that you have told your story.
There are many other elements within this approach, such as making sure the story focuses on the audience, not you, or providing tangible examples and proof points. But the essentials are above.
And, while there is almost always room for improvement in every presentation, there is one aspect of the formula that is missed over and over and over again. The strong close.
Most of the presentations I see end with what is effectively a “thank goodness this is over!” tone. A list of boring recommendations. A summary of minutiae from the deck. The dreaded “Questions?” slide.
Don’t get me wrong. Some of those elements may be needed. But you need to close strong, leaving a positive memory of the presentation. Building energy for a postive follow-on discussion. Close with the same level of fervor and promise as you opened. Reinforce, strongly, your big idea.
Take a look at your presentations–do you end with a whimper? or a bang?
Read Complimentary Relevant Research
Predicts 2017: Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence is changing the way in which organizations innovate and communicate their processes, products and services. Practical...
View Relevant Webinars
How to Live Without Mobile Device Management
This webinar addresses the growing trend of users refusing to have enterprise management of their mobile devices due to privacy concerns....
Comments or opinions expressed on this blog are those of the individual contributors only, and do not necessarily represent the views of Gartner, Inc. or its management. Readers may copy and redistribute blog postings on other blogs, or otherwise for private, non-commercial or journalistic purposes, with attribution to Gartner. This content may not be used for any other purposes in any other formats or media. The content on this blog is provided on an "as-is" basis. Gartner shall not be liable for any damages whatsoever arising out of the content or use of this blog.