Tag Archives: presentations

Prepare presentations in half the time!

Is your goal to have more time?

Let me tell you how I can save you time by being more productive!

“Humanity’s goal is to save more time” – Marcus Weldon, President Bell Labs & CTO Nokia

How scary is it to look at a blank page on a screen and realise that you have to populate it with words and images that grab people’s attention and retain their interest for a period of time!

My business is coaching/preparing people to make important presentations. Here are some of the tips, advice and guidance I give them.

This advice does not only apply to presentations; it’s equally applicable to e-mails, proposals and tenders that you are required to send.

My solution to this problem is templates.

I provide my clients with templates for the typical scenarios that arise every day, e.g. sales talk, pitches, proposal, tenders, documents, etc.

Initially, all that I require of my client is to answer the questions asked of them on the template. The skill is then to expand/enhance each answer by the use of stories, examples, analogies, etc.

My templates dramatically reduce the amount of time required to get ready.

You’re saying it can’t be that simple – but it is …

Here are some examples of where templates are used:

The template for a book is xxxx number of words, divided into 8 to 10 chapters each with a heading and a number of subheadings.

This skill/genius is that each writer puts his/her own style into the content. Be it James Joyce, Maeve Binchy, Frederick Forsyth or Stephen King.

Tip: All great writers start with the end in mind and often write the last sentence first. You should do the same.

The Movies:

Western movies generally have the same template –

The hero rides into town – something happens – our hero rides out of town.

James Bond –

Start: With action + more action + kissy kissy


 “89% of award- winning ads can be classified into six basic categories or templated” – ‘Made to Stick’ – Chip & Dan Heath (one of my favourite books)

Great Ads are always telling stories in 20 – 30 sec –

Here is my suggested template for introducing you or your business idea:

Question 1:

What is the problem you solve for your prospect?

(Tell a story/example to demonstrate your knowledge of the problem)

Introduce yourself.

Question 2:

How do you solve this problem?

Question 3:

How is the prospect better as a result of your intervention?

If you wish to be more productive and free up time by using templates please get in touch.

P.S. Added Bonus

Here is a great template for a tweet:

  • Question?
  • Solution
  • Call to action with Link


Create Memorable Presentations – Overcome Death by PowerPoint


Here are a number of questions for you –

Do the people who write story books for children start by drawing the pictures and then write the story? Or do they (as I believe) write the story first, and then have an artist draw the pictures that enhance the story?

This is clearly the sensible and practical way to go about creating successful children’s storybooks.

So why is it that many companies attempt to create the slides for the presentation before they have created an impactful narrative that will hold people’s attention?

This is definitely putting the cart before the horse as it would be explained in a storybook with words and images.

Here is another example of a situation where this arises. I will always look at an organisation’s website and LinkedIn profile pages before  arranging to visit them.

On arrival, I will strike up a conversation about the website, only to be told that the site is out of date or does not reflect where they currently are.

So if you want to create sticky messages that are remembered long after you have left the room or want a website that is impactful, please read on …

So how should you go about creating presentations and slides?

Firstly you need to ask yourself do I need slides, and more importantly does my audience require slides?

The expression “send me your slide deck” has become ubiquitous, but will people take the time to review your deck, and if they did would they be more informed about how you can be of benefit to them?

If you feel you must have slides, here is my advice as to how you go about preparing your talk and enhancing it with slides.

In previous articles I have advised about how to prepare talks/presentations, so this time let’s focus on creating the slides.

(If you’re having difficulty doing the above engage a communications coach to help you get your story down on paper)

Having created an engaging and entertaining story for your audience now get some blank pages and get started on the slides.

Give some time to thinking about what text and images will enhance your talk and make it more memorable?

Read over your talk with the blank pages close by, write some key words, phrases or sketches (stick drawings are all that’s required), some images that would enhance the talk.

Note: To be effective, slides must be capable of being read and understood in 10 seconds.

At the end of this exercise you will have a talk and a pile of pages. Lay the pages out on a large table and practice the talk out loud referring to the pages/slides where appropriate.

Based on my experience when walking through this process with clients, we generally reduce down the number of pages/slides by asking the question, is this slide for the presenter or the audience? The slides must always benefit the audience and not just be there to act as the presenters notes.

When this process is finalised, give the pages to a person who is good at creating slide presentations in your organisation, or externally to my friend and colleague Ed Fidgeon-Kavanagh of ClearPreso.com and let him do his magic.

“A great talk can be greatly enhanced by creative and imaginative slides, but remember, create the story first.”

Have you found this article to be informative? If your answer is yes, please like and share with colleagues.

Ten Top Tips when preparing a presentation

Top Ten

  1. Find out about your audience i.e. age profile, gender mix, business etc.
  2. Ask yourself as a result of my talk what do I want my audience to do,  more of, less of, stop or start.
  3. Decide what is the key point you want your audience to take away from the presentation.
  4. Decide on an exciting opening that gets the audiences attention; fail to do this and you struggle for the rest of the presentation.
  5.  Devise a really high impact closing statement that leaves them in no doubt as to your message. Continue reading