PowerPoint Presentations Suck - Get to the Point
@ Mark G | Thursday, Feb 11, 2021 | 4minuteRead | Update at Thursday, Feb 11, 2021

Get to the Point

Get straight to the point! Far too often, I am presented with slide after slide about how good their software is, or their customized solution to their own problem. They never get to the point. Show me the software

In this rant article, I’m going to explain some key problems with today’s presentations and some ways to overcome them. We can do better than this!

There are plenty of bad presentation habits to choose from. Here is a list of just a few:

  1. Starting Late
  2. Malfunctioning Equipment
  3. Apologizing
  4. Boring Slides
  5. Goin on a Tangent

The list goes on, and on. However, I want to focus on one of my biggest pet peeves.

Far too often, presenters like to give the long-form agenda. Then they give a screenshot of the software they are promoting. One static screenshot after another static screenshot of the software. They don't seem to get to what the software solution is even solving until towards the end of the presentation.


diagram with multiple blocks presented without logical flow

The problem statement: The organization needs to scan PDF files and make them editable in an editor.

Normally, the presenter would start by displaying a clear agenda. Then, they would show some of the high-level hardware or software architecture. Perhaps, even a diagram about how to set this system up in a production-like environment. Then, the presenter would display diagrams and pictures and throw all kinds of buzzwords over the slide. Finally, they’ll have pictures and diagrams displaying what the output should be if you run the software.

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Skip the B.S.

It’s time to skip the B.S.

Open the software and run it - in front of me. Live!

That’s right, double click on the icon for the software you’re trying to sell, and convince me that this is a solution to my organization’s problem. Run the software. It’s that easy.

Bonus points - run the software on an example of representative data. Even better, if you want to impress your presentation audience, or the purse strings, ask for representative data. Then, during the presentation, you run the software on specific data from the organization.

Don’t present a PowerPoint slide with the example data that you were provided, and subsequently, show the static output. Run the software - that’s how you impress an organization. Time is valuable. Get to the point.

CPU Image

Image by Michael Schwarzenberger from Pixabay

This is a common problem I see throughout many presentations during meetings - even so-called, live, demonstrations. One way to overcome this is to present by getting straight to the point. I don’t want to see an agenda unless it’s literally two or three bullet points and you can speak it very fast (I know why I am here). I want to get to the point of what problem are you going to solve for my organization. So, during your presentation start doing this. Start showing the solution to a problem, in real-time.

Know your Audience

You know what, most of your audience is probably going to be non-tech savvy. So, solve the problem from a business-minded perspective. I don’t care if it takes 2 seconds or 10 seconds to OCR a document. I simply don’t care. What I do care about is that it can do this in the background or that you can show me that you can run this today, right now, during the meeting, and it works. That’s what I care about.

Real-World Analogies

Also, we must learn to use real-world practical analogies when we’re doing a demonstration for a presentation. Far too often, the presenters are talking in a different language altogether. It’s time we bring it back to reality. The reality is that I want to solve a business problem, period. I’m serious about this. I don’t care about the jargon. I don’t care about the specifications. I don’t care about any of those buzzwords. What I care about is the end-user, who’s seeking a solved pain-point. Did you solve their problem as the presenter?

Always ask yourself, for every statement that you claim, how does this help the end-user. If you can’t come up with an answer, that is, a business-minded answer, then you’re not helping to solve a problem. You’re simply trying to sell a technology that the organization does not need. To reiterate, relate every single statement in your presentation to how it will help the end-user. It’s that simple. This is a frustrating topic because so much time is wasted in these meetings and demonstrations. It’s time to take our time back. I hope that you can believe that you can make a difference with your next presentation.

Cover Image by Peggy Choucair from Pixabay

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