In the last 12-18 months, I have been hearing a similar story from those who contact me inquiring about my customized workshops. Often the inquiry is driven by a request from an executive. Do they want fancier slides? No. They want to stop spending so much time redoing the slides that their staff create.
Executives have to present results and updates to senior management regularly. They ask their staff to create slides on the specific topics or issues. What they want is not what they are getting. They want to look at the slides, understand the key message, and put them into their deck to present to the senior management team.
What they get is overloaded, confusing slides that don’t tell a story. The slides have way too much text, spreadsheets of data, and graphs that are difficult to figure out. The executive has to spend time deciphering the slides from the different staff members and then revising those slides so that what they present to the senior management team makes sense.
Why is this a problem? Because is it taking the executives too much time to rework the slides they receive. They should be spending their time on tasks that will contribute to the bottom line and making important decisions. Instead, they are redoing the work that their staff should have already done.
Is this problem big enough to be worth solving? Absolutely. If an executive spends four hours revising slides to create their presentation, and does this twice per month (both conservative estimates according to what my clients tell me), it adds up to 96 hours per year. That is more than two full weeks wasted revising slides! Those two weeks could be better spent on higher value tasks at the office. And if the executive is cutting into family time to revise slides, that is two weeks of better connecting with their family.
I followed up with a VP at a bank last year after a workshop and she reinforced the savings that she had personally experienced when her staff created more effective slides. She said within 24 hours of the workshop she saw a marked improvement in the clarity of the slides her staff presented. In preparing for her next senior management presentation, she tracked that she had saved at least three to four hours that she previously spent revising slides. What she was receiving from her staff was now clear and concise.
If you are an analyst or specialist who creates slides for your boss to present to more senior levels in your organization, you will stand out when you create effective slides because they don’t have to revise your slides. Use the ideas in my articles and books to create more effective slides.
If you are an executive who is suffering through the revision of unclear slides, know that there is a solution. You don’t have to spend hours every month and weeks every year revising slides. Like the group I worked with last week, you can invest in my books and a customized workshop that will transform the slides your staff creates.
Dave Paradi has over twenty years of experience delivering customized training workshops to help business professionals improve their presentations. He has written nine books and over 100 articles on the topic of effective presentations and his ideas have appeared in publications around the world. His focus is on helping corporate professionals visually communicate the messages in their data so they don’t overwhelm and confuse executives. Dave is one of less than ten people in North America recognized by Microsoft with the Most Valuable Professional Award for his contributions to the Excel and PowerPoint communities. He regularly presents highly rated sessions at national and regional conferences of financial professionals.