How to unlock the hidden value in your presentation
Emma Bannister has seen billion-dollar brands damage their reputations and lose customers and clients overnight thanks to bad presentations. Will you make the same mistakes?
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Think of the last presentation you put together. Did you debate over whether to outsource it to a professional, or keep it in-house?
Did it seem easier, more cost-effective and quicker to do the latter?
Whichever way you look at it, presentations cost time and money. But the real investment is in your brand and business.
Did you consider:
- How much winning the business you were pitching to was worth?
- How much the presentation might help communicate your idea and progress your career?
- How much it might influence your desired impact?
One poor presentation can cost you clients, customers and sometimes, even, careers. But we usually fail to consider this when we’re rushing to do a cut-and-paste job from a previous presentation or some last-minute tweaks to something dug up from the archives, time and time again.
Communicate a competitive vision
A clear message and vision is what sets you apart from your competitors or colleagues. As a leader in any industry, you need the ability to articulate this in a way that is clear, powerful and makes you stand out (for a good reason, not bad). Unfortunately, nine times out of 10, presentations involve multiple colleagues all contributing their conflicting opinions, so the message is anything but clear and compelling.
Whether you’re in finance, pharmaceuticals, HR or marketing, a presentation must be seen as an opportunity to plan and rehearse how to generate value for customers and buy-in with stakeholders that could influence a make or break situation.
Weigh up opportunity cost
I’ve seen billion-dollar companies damage their brand and reputation overnight through dire presentations. The fallout often involves losing out to a competitor, not to mention losing customers and clients. It takes a long time to win back the kind of trust and long-term loyalty you’ve built up to that point. Plus, presentations last pretty much forever on the internet (not to mention in our minds), so leaving it to the office junior to ‘pretty up’ your slides or update your latest results could cost you more than it’s worth.
In a nutshell, if you are not proud of your presentation then it’s doing more harm than good.
Invest in your advantage
Bid teams responsible for multi-billion-dollar bids go to the experts for a reason. Niche presentation agencies have large full-time teams who can pool together, resources, experience and industry knowledge, to collaborate with you and help at times of need.
They know how to write with persuasion and their teams of creatives work together to ensure the slides visually support your story and messages with consistency and power. That’s a vast difference between hiring a freelancer who doesn’t have the understanding of your brand or the inclination to ensure you win the pitch you’re aiming for. Let alone, a design agency that does a bit of everything but specialises in nothing.
Sustain your growth
You might not have the budget to outsource absolutely every presentation, but you can find sustainable solutions that match your needs. The right agencies can help train your entire team to write, design and deliver powerful presentations. They can also help you set up templates and libraries of slides that you can reuse over and over again, as well as develop frameworks that will help you map out your ideas so you save time and wasted expense. Of course, it’s easy for me to say this is a great option, seeing as my agency runs this kind of training in partnership with global agency Duarte. But that is because I truly understand the value of your investment when it comes to a professional presentation.
The question is, do you?
Emma Bannister is Presentation Studio CEO.
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