No More Death By PowerPoint

Regardless of whether you are pitching your start-up for funding, raising money for a cause, trying to get your proposal accepted by a client, trying to get your parents to let you go abroad for a semester or trying to get your boss to sign off on your idea, selling your ideas is an entrepreneurial skill that will get you there.

First you’ve got to have a compelling idea in the first place. Even an Adele warm-up and fireworks are not going to save a bad idea. But assuming you’ve got that part out of the way, what are the keys to communicating it so it doesn’t get killed before it even gets out of the gate?

While you could just get up and talk, it is often useful to offer some communication support in the form of pictures, samples or both. And this is where many investors, decision makers and even professors have lost years off their lives by being subjected to bad powerpoint. Here are some resources to help you get the words and pictures together in a way that will hopefully compel your audience to ask for more.

Really Bad Power Point (and how to avoid it) By Seth Godin – This 10 page illustrated .pdf covers what’s wrong with most power point presentations, why they don’t work and how to make your presentation help you sell your ideas rather than put your audience to sleep. If you’re not familiar with Seth, he’s a marketing guru known for plain-speak, the conceptor of permission marketing and author of a whole bunch of “big idea” books. Triibes is one of my favorites and Purple Cow is almost always one of my book club selections for my Intro class.

Presentation Tips on GarrReynolds.com – If you are into clean, no frills design, take a look at this collection of presentation tips. Garr is the author of the PresentationZen blog but getting at the collection this way is a little easier than trying to track down the individual posts. Regardless, the blog is definitely worth a follow if you’re interested in visual communication for business.

The 10/20/30 Rule of Powerpoint – This is Guy Kawasaki’s classic post on the subject of investor presentations – 10 slides, 20 minutes, 30 point font.

NinjaPowerPoint – want to dive deeply? This is an entire website dedicated to creating better decks. Remember, you want your deck to reinforce and support your ideas, not make the audience want to take cyanide. If you’re reading my post as part of an assignment, go to the Ninja site and read the top post and one other post of your choice.

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