Jim Stone's blog on issues relating to creating professional presentations for the technology industry.


Tell them how you are going to bore them

Posted in [All], [PowerPoint], [Presentation Structure] By Jim Stone

My first blog post about good presentations.  I can’t think of a better place to start than with the dreaded “Agenda” slide.  You know the one; it’s the slide that tells your audience how you are going to bore them.

Agenda slides are an excuse for a weak start to your presentation.  It tells the audience how long they can be asleep or work on emails until you get to the part that is interesting to them.  You are also giving the audience an opportunity to negotiate the contents of your presentation.  I once flew to Toronto to discuss a new product offering with an existing client of the company I was working for.  They looked at the agenda and told me to skip to the demo.  The demo was a start/stop affair where we kept going back to cover the information that was supposed to lay the groundwork for the demo.  My weak opening had given them a chance to negotiate the contents and I effectively lost control of the presentation.

So what is the alternative?  Try a power start to the presentation that sets the scene for the presentation, defines their problem and lays the groundwork for presenting your solution.  You are still addressing the contents of the presentation without inviting a line by line negotiation of the agenda. 

Most sales training programs talk about the niceties of introducing yourself and confirming the time available for the presentation.  You can still build that into your opening without diluting the presentation. I’ll talk more about your opening in a future post.

Next time you present, ditch the agenda slide and see if anyone notices.






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