4 Ways to Avoid Death by PowerPoint

Mert Yentur

At some point, everyone who has ever been in a meeting experiences the terrible symptoms of this rapidly spreading epidemic. Picture it: you’re in a conference room, lights are low and you are listening to a colleague talk about the bullet points on the screen. First, you notice that your eyes are starting to feel heavy. Then your mind starts drifting away from the topic at hand and to thoughts that have nothing to do with the meeting at hand. All of the sudden, you have to force yourself to jerk your head back each time it starts nodding forward. You start thinking about how wonderful it would be to just lay down for a few minutes… Or, rather, how wonderful it would be to do anything other than what you’re doing, which is sitting in a conference room listening to yet another lackluster, dragging PowerPoint presentation. These are all signs that you may be suffering from death by PowerPoint.

Death by PowerPoint is affecting business presentations and their audiences all over the world. In such a competitive marketplace, salespeople need persuasive and complete tools to make strategic decisions, identify new opportunities and convert them into success. The sales presentation is one of the most important tools available. When done well, a sales presentation can help build a connection with potential customers and distinguish your business from competitors. Weighing down a presentation with slides with too much information and bad clip art is an avoidable mistake that can make or break your presentation and the impact it has on your business.

Here are four ways that you can distinguish your presentations and avoid letting your sales fall victim to the PowerPoint plague.

Engage Your Audience
For a sales professional, engaging your audience might seem like an obvious item on your checklist. However, ever since PowerPoint became the go-to format for business presentations, presenters tend to focus more on their slides than their audience. Instead of packing far too much information onto dozens of slides, make sure that you instead spend time practicing speaking to the audience and outlining the details in a conversational way. Remember, you’re not giving a keynote speech. Your presentation should be tailored to each audience that you address and it should be a fluid exchange.

Mobile sales platforms allow you to create and offer your audience materials that are tailored just for them. Carefully selected tools such as customized brochures and interactive multimedia tell your audience that you put time and effort into their meeting and that you are dedicated to their business specifically.

Embrace Many Media
There are many types of learners with many different interests. Limiting your presentation to appeal to just one kind of person will alienate many others that you might be speaking to. With tools that offer refreshing information that is available in real time, you can bring your presentations into the 21st century. You can customize your presentations with social media, news headlines and video, which makes it much more likely that you are keeping the attention of each audience member. The more engaged your audience is with your presentation makes it much more likely that you will see increased sales.

Keep Organized
Few things are more boring or more awkward than watching a presentation given by someone who is fumbling to find the right slide, has their notecards out of order or has technical difficulties while standing in front of a room. Part of your presentation prep should always be checking to make sure that you have everything you need organized and ready to go at the moment your presentation calls for it.

An organized platform that consolidates all of your presentation materials in one place can make all the difference in the world. Today’s technology makes it easy for you to distribute  your various different types of presentation materials (PowerPoints, PDFs, calculators, etc.) from a single cloud-based location so your team can access them without missing a beat while in the field, online or offline.

Stay on Message
If there is one thing you must remember during a sales presentation, it is to keep your message clear. Streamlining communication throughout a sales team gives employers and employees the ability to access the company’s approved goals and objectives, keeping everyone on the same page. Businesses on every industry are embracing the importance of transparency and foggy details no longer fly. By establishing clarity and communication as top priorities, you allow your prospective clients to see that they can trust you with their business and the ways that you plan to serve them.

PowerPoint still has a place in business, so ditching the format is not necessary. But working in the digital age means adapting to the ways that technology is changing the way that we work, both internally and with clients. The only constant in the digital age is that technology will continue to change. The only thing preventing individuals and companies from trailing behind is their willingness to adapt to changing technology and how they incorporate those changes into their business practices.

Today’s technology offers employees the one-stop shop for unifying their marketing and sales presentation materials, giving companies the tools they need to increase their profitability.

Modern sales enablement platforms, like Pitcher, unify all the tools that someone might need to give an interesting presentation, from basic word documents to interactive media. By streamlining messaging and organization all on the same cloud-based software which delivers updates and changes in real-time, sales employees have the most up-to-date information available to them while giving a presentation. With the best preparation and the most relevant information, your sales team is free to focus on the most important thing: the audience.

Mert Yentur is the founder and CEO of Pitcher, a leading provider of mobile sales enablement and content management for field sales and marketing teams; @Pitcherdotcom.