Any tips of effective communication on slide decks?

I recently transitioned to a new job where I've upgraded from simply making slide decks drawn out on paper by my boss to now creating one on my own. I thought this would be an easy job, but it's been challenging to communicate my knowledge in a succinct yet extensive way.

Does anyone have the same problem? And do you have any tips on how to approach this? For me, acknowledging the potential knowledge gap between me and the reader has been helpful. You have to make sure that you don't just assume the reader knows what you know. Also, planning things out when I'm fresh (usually early in the morning) and accepting the fact that I'll be revising it multiple times have been somewhat effective.

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Comments (12)

Aug 15, 2020 - 4:41pm

PPT is troubling you? Just make it transparent for all parties.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

Aug 15, 2020 - 4:43pm

Main thing with PPT presentations with execs is pointing out the good and bad things. The yellow flags and red flags. Sometimes numbers don't make sense so offer some perspective of what the numbers mean and their implications.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

Aug 15, 2020 - 7:41pm

I'm referring more to the "big picture" and the storyline that needs to be put together from a topic you're presenting. Yes, you should obviously point out the good and the bad, but how do you effectively relay all that information? Think of it in a broad context of, say, presenting a pitch on electric vehicles to someone who has little to no knowledge about the sector. You have to touch up on key parts like why we ended up here interested in electric cars, what the market looks like, why we should or shouldn't focus on the market (assuming that we do), key players, what the strengths and weaknesses of those key players are, etc.

I think it may be a case of analysis paralysis, but striking the right balance between having too much or too little information can be a bit hard. I guess I'm just trying to see what techniques others have used to make it a bit easier. It could just be that I need to repeat it more frequently.

Consumption smoothing is retarded. If you stay in this game for a handful of years, money will be the least of your worries. Live it up, because this is the one time in your life where you might actually have time to spare.
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Aug 15, 2020 - 7:43pm
Arnie S:

I'm referring more to the "big picture" and the storyline that needs to be put together from a topic you're presenting. Yes, you should obviously point out the good and the bad, but how do you effectively relay all that information? Think of it in a broad context of, say, presenting a pitch on electric vehicles to someone who has little to no knowledge about the sector. You have to touch up on key parts like why we ended up here interested in electric cars, what the market looks like, why we should or shouldn't focus on the market (assuming that we do), key players, what the strengths and weaknesses of those key players are, etc.

I think it may be a case of analysis paralysis, but striking the right balance between having too much or too little information can be a bit hard. I guess I'm just trying to see what techniques others have used to make it a bit easier. It could just be that I need to repeat it more frequently.

Just don't do one million slides. Have some slides to focus on and make your point.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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Aug 15, 2020 - 7:45pm
Arnie S:

Think of it in a broad context of, say, presenting a pitch on electric vehicles to someone who has little to no knowledge about the sector.

In this aspect you have to focus on this person's responsibility to make a decision and their ability to make a decision given the information.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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Aug 15, 2020 - 10:08pm

Great point and this is something I've heard several times before. The last thing you want to hear at the end of the pitch is "So what the f*ck do you want me to do?"

Consumption smoothing is retarded. If you stay in this game for a handful of years, money will be the least of your worries. Live it up, because this is the one time in your life where you might actually have time to spare.
Aug 15, 2020 - 7:46pm
Arnie S:

I think it may be a case of analysis paralysis, but striking the right balance between having too much or too little information can be a bit hard. I guess I'm just trying to see what techniques others have used to make it a bit easier. It could just be that I need to repeat it more frequently.

There will always be an abundance of information - you have to find the tipping point.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

Aug 15, 2020 - 7:50pm

Kind of basic, but everything in your deck should be driving to some sort of broader message. IE: what is the "so what" of each slide and overall the entire presentation. This will help you craft not only a succinct message, but a very clear one. One of the best MDs I ever worked with would straight up ask "what's the point of this slide" if it wasn't clear and if the director/VP/associate who added it didn't have a concise answer he killed it. He became one of my favorite guys to work for because he didn't create work and the end product ended up being exactly what we needed 99% of the time.

Aug 15, 2020 - 10:15pm

Agreed. A lot of people straight out of school have the tendency to "fluff" up their slides or writing with useless information b/c they're so used to aiming for the 1000 word or 5 page requirement for their college essays.

The simple method of asking "so what?" can go a loooong way in showing your value to the team.

Consumption smoothing is retarded. If you stay in this game for a handful of years, money will be the least of your worries. Live it up, because this is the one time in your life where you might actually have time to spare.
Aug 20, 2020 - 9:35am

I am a huge advocate of the strapline (or key message line) under the title concisely summarising the meaning of the page.

I was told by my DI that a person should be able to read every key message line without looking further down the page and understand what the book covered.

Aug 20, 2020 - 9:45pm
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