Letting Go of PowerPoint Once and for All


Today’s post was written by Kelly Slater, co-owner of Slater’s Garage Ads & Audio.

This afternoon I made a sales presentation to a client remotely, using a screen-sharing app. Of course, it involved a multiple-slide PowerPoint presentation (because the common thinking is that customers NEED to see your offer, idea, strategy, etc. in a multi-page Power Point, right?), which I practiced before the meeting.

So… I’m making the presentation, carefully addressing each page and each point on the page, and as I was wrapping the presentation up and getting ready to ask for the sale, the client said, “Ahh, sorry to interrupt, but I’m not seeing any of the slides.”

I realized that I had inadvertently forgotten to share the screen after he had joined the meeting. Whoops.

Rather than going back and starting at slide one, I continued, and admittedly felt a huge relief when I started just talking to him, and telling the story behind the ideas in the campaign. I slipped into a warmer, more confident place, and was able to summarize the concept, explain the rationale, how we would measure the success of the campaign, and ultimately ask for the sale. (I upsold it, in fact!)

Afterwards, when I self-assessed my delivery, I noticed that when I was speaking to the slides, that was ALL I thought about: making sure that I was speaking to the slides. When we started talking, and I stopped “presenting,” the communication flowed more easily. I was engaged in the conversation, and not worried about the presentation.

As it turned out, I never needed the slide deck to begin with. In fact, having it only made my presentation sound stilted, scripted, and over-rehearsed. But I did know the topic, my audience, and the story I wanted to tell.

The moral: Dean’s right when he talks about how your slides can only hurt you. When I let go of the slide deck, it became more of a conversation, and less of a presentation, which made it easier to close the sale.

Kelly Slater is co-owner of Slater’s Garage Ads & Audio, our social media and marketing partners. Kelly also has 20+ years’ experience in media sales, both as a seller “in the trenches,” and at the executive level. She offers more doses of sales wisdom at her sales blog, The Sales Vitamin.


3 responses to “Letting Go of PowerPoint Once and for All”

  1. Monda Placey says:

    Could not agree more.. I was always much more comfortable just letting it come naturally. If I was in front of you I knew I could show u results . Know your customer and match them to a venue that will work . Do that and continue to service and bring new ideas and they will stay with you.

    Ah reading this brought me back a few years to the days when we were left alone to sell and make goals. Miss u Kelly you know to manage and get results.

  2. […] but not assume they want it all in your main message. In other words, your main slide decks should be getting shorter, and your backup slides for Q&A should be getting longer. You have to be ready to go deep, but […]

  3. […] never say these things. Ever. Instead they complain about meetings and presentations and slide decks that are never clear, never get to the point and never end on time. What do people say about your meetings and […]

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.