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Answer: “Why it gotta be the jeans fault?” – Comedian D.L. Hughely

A curious aspect of the business world is the universal belief that somehow PowerPoint is what makes a presentation bad, and it is known as “Death by PowerPoint.” To paraphrase Hughely’s line, “Why it gotta be PowerPoint’s fault?”

How many times have you heard a presentation started with “I don’t want to give you death by PowerPoint, so I will just talk through my ideas?” This of course immediately becomes “death by presenter,” which would have been the case no matter the medium of presentation. Death by PowerPoint makes about as much sense as an author or columnist blaming horrible writing on the paper it is written on. Yet in many businesses, “Death by PowerPoint” is widely accepted.

I have to agree with Hughely here: A fat butt is a fat butt and, likewise, a bad presenter is a bad presenter. Man up! Quit blaming the jeans or the PowerPoint.  Sales people need to take ownership of their presentation skills, particularly if they want to start selling effectively at the executive level. Moreover, understand this:  You won’t become a miraculously riveting presenter because you start using a white boarding presentation technique (or others) instead of PowerPoint.

Being a strong presenter takes work — a lot of work! So be willing to work at it, especially if your livelihood is made or broken by effective communication and persuasion. Invest in learning how to present better. I completely changed my presentation approach and preparation around the methodologies of Jerry Weinstein, who wrote Presenting to Win, the Art of Telling your Story. This book de-mystifies and puts order and techniques around how to create an effective presentation.

I more than strongly recommend this book. The knowledge provided in this book revolutionized the way I prepare and deliver presentations. Here are a few things I learned that I use every time I present:

  • Always make sure you focus on what is in your presentation for your audience.
  • Less is more – make all slides simple and easy to look at, and
  • Make sure you are the master of your content.

I also share my knowledge and expertise in my Executive Relevance Selling course, because I have learned that with hard work and determination your “presentation butt will make the jeans look good!”

Tell us about the worst presentation or sales pitch you ever heard and share how you would have changed it to make it worth your time.