There are many examples online of beautiful but simple ballroom presentations. But as business people, it’s hard to find inspiration for complex boardroom presentations.
This report on the U.S. debt by financial analyst Mary Meeker is a shining example of how to use PowerPoint effectively in the boardroom. If you can spare 45 minutes it’s worth watching all the way through (original here).
Some of the key lessons we can learn:
1. Design enhances your credibility and makes an audience more likely to agree with you. These slides would be tough to build if you’re not a design pro. Still, you should at least have your own color palette so the slides look attractive and consistent throughout, and consider using your own textured slide background.
2. Animation is used smartly, not for show, but to build up complex slides, reveal data in layers and add a sense of motion and energy. I also like the transitions used in some places, where one slide seems to be attached to the next one that links one idea to the next.
3. Story. This deck is a financial analysis and for a serious subject like the nation’s debt, an analysis is needed. But the speaker enhances this analysis using many storytelling elements: metaphor of the U.S. as a business (U.S.A. Inc.), an inciting incident, conflict, a loose beginning-middle-end framework, case studies, adding silhouettes of people to slides.
4. Reading slides. At times, Mary reads the text on her slides, something SourPointers cluck is a cardinal sin. For instance, see (3:45-4:00). But it still works because the text shows up as she speaks it, so it’s easy to stay in sync. And the text is short – no more than 2 lines, 7 words per line. In the boardroom, an exec demands to see this text so they can discuss and debate. You should not replace this text with a picture and it does not harm the audience to read it to them.
I hope this example inspires you to create your own boardroom masterpiece.
About the author: Bruce Gabrielle is author of Speaking PowerPoint: the New Language of Business, showing a 12-step method for creating clearer and more persuasive PowerPoint slides for boardroom presentations. Subscribe to this blog or join my LinkedIn group to get new posts sent to your inbox.