Many of us have seen articles suggesting that there is a “right” way to create a presentation or pitch deck. That you must create 10 slides and structure your presentation in ‘XYZ’ order. Or you may have seen specific presentations touted for the deck that they used with a comment of “this is what an excellent deck looks like” or “this deck raised $100M,” insinuating that it’s the ‘right’ way to create a deck.
However, the truth is that while yes, there are core elements that you need in your presentation, absorbing such information in an ‘absolutist’ manner will leave your audience ‘wanting.’ Taking the ‘direct’ approach from articles like the above will certainly ensure that your presentation is covering (most of) the correct items, but it will also leave it boring, without strategic marketing pop, and without the thoughtful nuance and differentiators that your business has carefully built.
Readers Are People, People NEED To Be Captivated
Think about your audience.
Whether you have a scheduled presentation planned or you’re sending out your presentation cold, the same premise applies: people are busy (and often seeking excitement).
If you’re sending out a presentation cold, the average open rate of that email is approximately 20%.
If they do open that email, the average reading time for your deck is 3 minutes and 44 seconds.
Translation: your window of opportunity is small. And even if they are a planned presentation, a similar attention premise applies.
As a result, in enters you and you’re ready to succeed because you know your first impression is your presentation cover.
For covers, there are four primary levers you can control:
- Cover Style: Including color, imagery, structure
- Tagline: Positioning the presentation for clarity, excitement, differentiation, and pointedness
- Fonts: Selecting fonts that are both clear to read and representative of your brands dynamism
- Spatial usage: Where you place each of these elements, how they tie together, and what the visual ‘hierarchy’ (focus) is
While these elements may seem unnecessarily detailed, each of these items:
- Says something about the detail and precision about your business and
- Must work in perfect unison
When crafting cover strategy, it’s important that these four elements decided on collectively, so that they all work complementarily and accretively. Even if you go for a very simplistically minimalistic visual cover, if you ensure these elements all work together, you’ll hopefully be able to create the immediate impact you want for your readers.
Consider Your Method Of Sending and Presenting
Your task for your audience is to make your presentation as clear and exciting as possible. So even if you do create an impeccable, cohesive cover, that won’t help you if the delivery isn’t equally as simple or delightful.
When sending and presenting, you have a few different options you can take:
- Send directly (e.g. using email or LinkedIn)
- Send using an email-gated system (e.g. Docsend)
- Present using recorded video
- Present live
So you might ask, which path should I take?
To the extent that you can control it, the rule of thumb is always play to your strengths.
Are you an excellent presenter who’s personable and want to control the presentation flow? Try to schedule a live meeting.
Are you busy but want to have a video component? Consider recording and sending a video.
Want to go wide and simple and have confidence in your standalone deck and its content? Send either directly or using email-gating.
Just be sure to also be mindful of your audience and their way of learning.
While it may seem simple, there are actually many factors you can control with an initial presentation. And with your audience busier and more distracted than ever, it’s necessary for you to truly differentiate your opportunity both with the quality of your document as well as with the ‘customer experience’ for the readers. Be very deliberate with what you can control, and you’ll give yourself the best chance possible to shine.