Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Presentation Skills Primer: Slide Decks Support a Message, Not the Other Way Around

We can “Deck the Halls,” “Swab the deck,” and even “Deck someone” …. (though I wouldn’t endorse trying the last one!).

Obviously, the word “deck” can mean a lot of things.

But, nowhere does a deck equate to a presentation!

When I coach executives for presentation skills, typically they say, “The deck is being prepared.” I then ask, “What about the presentation?”

From my perspective as an executive speech coach and professional speaker for more years than I like to admit, an effective presentation needs to be crafted first BEFORE slides are created.

Then, and only then, if the visuals will support the message, should a slide “deck” be crafted, too.

Preparing slides has become so easy that it’s now commonplace for presenters to simply read their slides – which is never a formula for speaking success.

Show me one example of a presentation where the audience wanted more slides.

The speaker needs to be the most important visual element.


Through effective use of eye contact, facial expression, gestures and movements to captivate an audience -- plus having a good, descriptive story to tell. Then, you can add a visual to help paint a picture or make a point.

So, in the future, prepare your presentation -- then get all decked out!

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