In a Writing Tune-Up seminar yesterday, a participant named Carl shared some good advice on creating PowerPoint presentations. We were talking about the wisdom of communicating recommendations and conclusions near the beginning of email–not the end–so that people read them. That is when Carl pointed out that the same principle applies in slide presentations. He said something like this:
I wish people would share their recommendations and conclusions at the beginning of their PowerPoint presentations. But instead they click through dozens of slides, people ask questions, and we never get to their recommendations before the end of the meeting.
Since I do not attend many meetings with PowerPoint presentations, I asked Carl what happens when presenters don’t get to the point before the end of the meeting. He said:
The presenters just say, "Well, I guess we need to schedule another meeting."
Take it from Carl: It is much more productive to share your recommendations and conclusions near the beginning of your presentation than to never reach them.
Conclude at the beginning. Give your meeting attendees the information they came for at the beginning of your presentation, and you won’t risk the frustration and embarrassment of not getting to your point and having to try to reschedule. Also, you can invite people with limited time to come to the start of your meeting and leave when they must. They will still take away the essentials.