Looking back at more than 10 years of presentation design work, I noticed that my best decks are often the ones that were designed for very short time slots, usually pitch competitions where a speaker would have 5-10 minutes to give it all.

Why?

  • These requests would often come after the client and I completed the "regular" presentation: I went through the process of getting to know the company in-depth, but, and this is important, I had given the content some rest, and when coming back to something after a couple of weeks, you often get an even better perspective on how to tell the story
  • The all-or-nothing 5 minutes makes the client more confident to take visual risks: bolder, simpler slides
  • The client would rehearse more (it is easy to run through a 5 minute story twenty times) and as a result would stumble on imperfect story flows more often

So maybe there is a natural evolution in presentations:

  1. The internal strategy/board deck where you lay out your company's ideas and make strategic decisions (management consultants stop here)
  2. An attempt at a bullet point story line for a pitch (most pitch presentations stop here)
  3. The properly designed company pitch deck (my projects often stop here)
  4. The "let's give it one more go deck"

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