August 24, 2014

Presentations for small audiences

My dislike of slide presentations is vehement and long-standing. Even so, my consulting duties often lead me to critique vendors’ slide decks, hoping to make them a little more tolerable. 🙂 Most of the precepts I rely on in these exercises can be encapsulated in “C” words:

And at the risk of drowning in excessive Cs, slide decks are a primary venue for a recent post topic: Short lists of Concise Claims.

Let’s talk a bit about that tailoring. Some things are shown only to very specific audiences. For example:

Even so, you’re unlikely to invest in entirely separate presentations for each of press, analysts, knowledgeable prospects, less educated prospects, etc. Rather, it’s often a best practice to:

Beyond the obvious, such as industry or enterprise size, how do you figure out what to tell each particular audience? In three words: Listen to them!! A good salesperson can and should do a lot of that in preliminary conversations; in influencer/investor kinds of meetings, however, you may rely more on feedback as the discussion progresses. Either way, focus on what the audience cares about, is interested in, or is likely to see as a good reason for (in)action. In any case:

*I have too often been guilty of that error, in my stock analyst and startup CEO periods alike.

Generalities to bear in mind include:

Finally, I have some more specific tips about organizing decks and pitches. In particular:

Related links

Some of my previous posts overlap in subject area with this one. Most can be found by following links in the marketing communications blog category or our highly popular strategy worksheet.


2 Responses to “Presentations for small audiences”

  1. How to start a presentation | Strategic Messaging on October 30th, 2014 5:47 am

    […] Presentations for small audiences (August, 2014) […]

  2. Marketing to a single person | Strategic Messaging on January 8th, 2015 6:48 am

    […] A number of my posts reflect that reality. Most comprehensive are probably my 2014 post about presentations to small audiences and my 2008 survey of many kinds of influencer. Relevant bits of other posts include: You can’t […]

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