First the Story, Then the Slides

Here is a conversation we regularly have with new clients…

New Client: “I have a big presentation coming. Will you take a look at my slides?”

Me: “Well, before we get to the slides, what is the point of the presentation?”

New Client: “Here, it is on the slides.”

Me: “I don’t care about the slides. Let’s talk about your story first.”

New Client: “It’s on the slides. Let’s look at the slides.”

And so the conversation goes…

Let me get straight to the point. The slides don’t matter until you first figure out what you want to be talking about. The slides need to be placed in proper perspective. They are nothing more than the visual representation of the story you have chosen to tell. So, you need to figure out what the story is first, and then create slides that bring that story to life.

Most people make the mistake of immediately working on their slide deck, as soon as they know they have to speak. But the problem with that approach is that you are creating slides without first having sorted out what the slides should say. If you create the slides first and then choose your words later, you are essentially reverse engineering your performance. You are creating a deck with no purpose, and then speaking to the slides you created.

The more effective method is to choose your story and your words and the sequence of your ideas first, and then create slides that tell that story.

Bad presenters give bad presentations by speaking to the slides that they threw together.

Good presenters give good presentations by figuring out first what the point is, the goal is, the story is, the ask is… and then creating visuals that help tell that story.

Have a great day.

Does your team:
– Take too long to make decision?
– Fail to ask for what it wants or needs from you?
– Make things too complicated?
– Deliver unconvincing or disorganized presentations?
– Have new hires who are unprepared to communicate in the workplace?

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One response to “First the Story, Then the Slides”

  1. Okeh Israel says:

    I love the opportunity and I am not going to be a neutral One

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Dean Brenner

A book about change

The Latimer Group’s CEO Dean Brenner is a noted keynote speaker and author on the subject of persuasive communication. He has written three books, including Persuaded, in which he details how communication can transform organizations into highly effective, creative, transparent environments that succeed at every level.