If You Turn On PowerPoint, I’m Throwing You Out!

The title of this blog post is an exact quote from a prospective client to a group of salespeople, one of whom was ready and willing, PowerPoint at the ready, to dive right into the slide deck. The words were said with a smile, but they were also a threat that the prospective client intended to keep.

“If you turn on PowerPoint, I’m throwing you out.”

While the death of PowerPoint is greatly exaggerated, it’s clear that your prospects, your clients, and your team shouldn’t have to face the Hell that is your plowing through a massive slide deck with no engagement.

So what’s better?

The Deck Supports the Dialogue

The best way I have found to use a slide deck is to pack it full of every slide I will ever need, driving it with menus. You can create a menu slide (or slides), and then use buttons to take you to each slide when you need it to support a dialogue.

The key is to engage in the dialogue, only going to the PowerPoint when you need visual support for the points that you are making.

You start the dialogue by saying something that sounds like this, “I have a massive slide deck here, but I don’t intend to use it except to better support our dialogue with some visuals. What I’d like to do is talk with you about what’s really important, and if we need to show you something, we’ll pull up the slide.”

It’s not that your prospective clients and your existing clients don’t want to see your slides; they don’t want to listen to you plow through every slide in deck. They don’t want you to read to them, and they don’t want you to make all the points that they could read for themselves. And they definitely don’t want you to recite everything that you have ever done in hopes of bumping into something interesting.

But you can use the deck to effectively support the dialogue.

The Last Word

You slide deck doesn’t create trust. It doesn’t build relationships. What your clients and dream clients are looking for is someone that cares enough to help them get the results they need. They are looking for someone that can speak to their business issues and challenges and help them with ideas. They want to know who you are, how you think, and what you believe.

Dialogue is what produces the outcomes your clients want from your presentation. Presenting your whole deck is your crutch.


What do your clients want out of a presentation?

When is PowerPoint the best way to get them that outcome?

How can you use PowerPoint to support a dialogue instead of replace it?

What are your very best tips for using PowerPoint effectively?

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Filed under: Sales

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