Some people think they need to use the slide-deck template they’ve been given, I’ve seen that many times where someone is trying to shoehorn a 20-minute presentation, and basically they’re not slides, they’re just a way of getting lots of information onto PowerPoint. When people ask, ‘What should I use’, they then get given a template, and suddenly you’ve got 10 point text on it, you cannot use that to present. These templates are rarely suitable…
- They’re too wordy.
- Difficult to highlight your key selling points.
- They are often box-tick templates for HR’s benefit.
Put them onto a handout, don’t put them up on the screen. Anything that you put onto the screen should help visually get the message over, should help emotionally get the message over, and give them trust and confidence that you know what you’re doing.
Josh was good, not just good, he was absolutely brilliant. He was trying to use the slides given to him, the slides were text-heavy, the key points were lost; given the fact that he had the ability to sell $100 million contracts, he was a consultant for a boutique consultancy in the US, he was brilliant, but you wouldn’t have known that by reading his slides. The message was confused, and so the first thing I did was to get him to step back. I asked him ‘Josh, in one sentence, what’s the promise of your business case?’ We crafted that. I then asked him, ‘If you only had three sentences, or three paragraphs, what would they be to get across the promise of your business case?’ We helped him to do that. I then asked him, ‘What is the risk of doing nothing?’ Given that as director he was winning $100 million contracts. If I was them, I’d leave him there! Then I asked him to put in an assumptive close. Those of you that were looking for a structure of your presentation, here is one, it was just six slides…
- The first slide, the opening slide was the 1-sentence sell, the promise of his business case of what was he actually going to do. In his case he was going to grow the partnership by adding another $100 million on, by being a partner rather than director.
- We then broke that down into three supporting arguments, his three key selling points, and each of those had a slide.
- We then considered what is the risk of doing nothing? What is the risk of remaining as director? That was one slide.
- Then we returned to that first sentence by saying and assumptive close, ‘If you’d like to add an extra $100 million and not risk x, y, z, may I suggest that perhaps putting me through to partnership is the right thing to do? It took a lot of confidence and all that sort of stuff.
Josh made it to partner, of course he did. His partner panel interview, the conciseness, the succinctness, and getting rid of all the waffle, he was told that his presentation and interview was outstanding. It was one that the chair of his international consultancy had ever seen. It was one of the best.
Your Partner Panel Pitch:
- Your presentation needs to be more of a peer to peer discussion, than a formal presentation.
- Keep slides to a minimum of only six. As Gareth said, ‘You need to know your stuff’.
- Consider using a talk sheet or handouts rather than a big slide deck.
This is a transcript from the webinar How to Ace your Partner Panel. You can purchase the full webinar and full transcription here.