Ditch Your First Dozen Corporate Overview Slides

I lapped up seeing a good old corporate overview the other day.

In a crowded coffee shop no less. Fuller than normal I suspect, given the torrential downpour outside at the time.

The cacophonous surrounds did not perturb the pitcher though. Tablet propped up, the modern-day site seller swiped along apace.

And here’s our first problem.

The only talk that occurred before Slide One was to sort the round of drinks.

There was an Englishman, Frenchwoman and Kenyan [insert own joke]. The latter playing ‘prospect’. I counted twelve slides – yes, 12 – before he uttered a word.

A major drawback, right there.

Such informal locations are all about dialogue.

Why show anything up front at all?

Especially if, as in this case, they solely include block upon block of text, alongside the type of expressionless 21st century clipart photography of diverse teams around inanimate backdrops. But wait. Slide 10 was full of logos, Slide 11 was a diagram. Of sorts…

The interminable pain of those first dozen slides is something you simply must avoid yourself.

You know the kind of detritus. Where you reside. What you stand for (“enterprise”). History. (Oblique) Performance. Structure. Your small part broken down. Then further down. Development. Partnerships. Collaborations.

And that’s just what I witnessed. The show went on.

Now I ought point out, that I’m not a fan of the corporate overview. Even in the most formal of plush meeting room affairs.

In my youth I first used then crafted plenty. All glossy. All supposedly knock-yer-socks-off impressive. Except they’re not. Not today.

All the frippery – by no means inconsequential but certainly not front-of-house – like how you’d surely survive a nuclear winter, are better treated as footnotes for me. Side points. Appendices.

You lead with why your audience is there. What is their issue you promise to make better? How will you do it? Why can they expect you to follow through? When will they see success?

Imagine if the show I saw began at the slide guaranteed to start conversation. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that the previous dozen warmed things up. “This is why we’re here today”. Bang. Get cracking. No Annual Report screengrabs. No pet bluechip logos. No mugshots of smiling ‘team members’. No world maps. No organograms. No garbage.

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