Many of my high tech clients hire me to design a product presentation that gets them higher up in the client organisation, the so called C-suite (CEO, CTO, CFO, etc.). The IT department buys features and equipment in a tight budget, the CEO can spend more money on what she sees as strategic priorities for the company.

The approach that vendors typically take is to frankenstein "business benefits" slides to the existing technical slide deck.

  • Market research slides that show the ever growing bytes of Internet traffic
  • 10-line quotes of customers who feel more flexible now
  • An Excel spreadsheet that shows how one custom managed to save $42,345.87 in 2013
  • A list of recent technology buzzwords (cloud, flexible, scalable, ROI)

I usually try to go for a different approach. Start with a blank sheet of paper. Trash the traditional system architecture charts. Cut the "business benefits" slides. Instead, I create a presentation that explains why this particular IT problem is so hard to crack, and how clever the client solution is.

The result is a presentation that looks "simple" to techies. "Simple" does not mean "simplistic". It just does not use the complex looking visual language that engineers have gotten used to since graduating form university: network diagrams and acronyms.  Two engineers can communicate using these slides, but the content that is transferred actually has little to do with the network diagram on the slide. If you are not an engineer, you don't get it. And as a result, most of the C-suite will not get it and send you back down stairs to IT.

If you liked this post, why not subscribe to daily updates about presentation design via email? Just blog posts, no spam, or you can follow Jan on Twitter to never miss a thing.