PowerPoint is like the phone company, we love to hate it, but need it and use it every day. PowerPoint won as the de facto program for business presentations because it’s easy to use and has a lot of great graphic and animation features that make documents more interesting. Above all, it’s included with MS Office, so everyone has it. If you send someone a PowerPoint deck, there’s a 99.99% chance that they’ll be able to open it. Everybody uses PowerPoint.
Ironically, the ubiquity of PowerPoint has created a tangled nightmare of slides — like old wiring behind the walls waiting to short circuit — that no one in the company has any control over, and no one can seem to find.
Is this slide current? Not sure.
Is this the right background? Yes. No. Wait. On second review, that’s the old logo.
I need to create a new slide. Actually you don’t, it already exists, but good luck finding it. Yeah, so you’re right. Go ahead and make a new slide, it’s faster.
As a collective group, your company’s collective PowerPoint files are a mess. On top of that, a PowerPoint deck, in and of itself, has some challenges.
PowerPoint is rigid – We don’t talk or think in a linear format, so why should our business interactions be forced into a linear slide show thought process?
PowerPoint’s outline format strips substance – The devil is in the details, yet PowerPoint’s outline format reduces the propensity to include and explore those important details for an idea.
Too many graphics – PowerPoints graphics and animations are a double-edged sword. Too often, we get too carried away with smart art, charts and animations that end up detracting from the core message of our presentation. The audience is too busy watching a swirly effect to hear what you are saying.
It’s a crutch – Many presenters let the slides lead the meeting, and they just follow along. The worst presenters will actually read the slides in front of the group. It’s safe and everyone does it, and it’s even accepted as basic boring corporate stuff to be tolerated. Though, I have yet to meet anyone who has enjoyed sitting through one of these meetings.
One-and-done – One person, or a group of people, will spend hours, even weeks, to create the perfect presentation for their meeting. It will have input from the brightest executives in the company, professional writing and even graphics. And what happens after the meeting? It gets lost on the network somewhere, or in an email, or even left at the podium, which results in repeating the same process for the next meeting.
And that’s how companies end up with a tangled mess of PowerPoints that no one can decipher. It’s time to end this dysfunctional PowerPoint culture and introduce a better way to manage presentations.
Presentation management transforms presentations from one-and-done decks and turns them into marketing communications assets that can be used to the benefit of everyone in your company. You can implement a presentation management strategy with a few steps.
First and foremost, it’s how you think about presentations. Next time you (or your colleagues) start preparing a deck, think beyond the meeting. Consider how these slides you are creating can be used over and over again. The first step in implementing a presentation management strategy is to start treating presentations as enterprise assets. Think a little differently.
Now that you are thinking long term, presentation management is made up of the following components, which will enable your team to quickly find a particular slide easily and re-use it.
- Central Cloud Location: A dedicated repository that is easily accessible to your team so they know where to find approved, branded presentation content.
- Visual Slide Library: An interface within the repository, so users can review PowerPoint slides, videos, images and other files, and quickly decide if it’s right for their meeting.
- Search: A search app that indexes the organic content within slides, i.e. the text and speaker notes, so you don’t have to rely on clever file names and meta tags to find content
- Reporting: Tracking and reporting which content is used, and which is not, will help you make better content decisions in the future.
With presentation management, the time and materials spent on creating one slide, one video, one piece of communication, multiplies. Instead of being used only once, it can now be used ten, even a hundred times. Your files become active, accessible, reusable and productive. Presentation management increases the return on investment in your marketing content.