Presentation Management

Culture of Presentation Management

Presentation Management 15

Original content by AlexAnndra Ontra and James Ontra
Enhanced by Geetesh Bajaj

In the last part of this Presentation Management series of posts, we looked at how we can make our presentation content intelligent. In this part, we explore the culture of presentation management.

Change is hard, especially in a large organization. People are afraid of the unknown. The familiar is our security blanket. Knowing where we will be and what we will be doing tomorrow makes us feel safe. Any effort to change that, especially in our jobs–our livelihoods–will be resisted.

This is one of those strange ironies of life. Most of us know that change is imminent, and we still resist change. Here’s a famous quote about change.

Remember that the only constant in life is change.

– Gautama Buddha

Now, we are not using that quote to further the dialog about change. However, over the years, as we’ve worked with clients to launch their new presentation strategy, we’ve found that there are a few steps you can take to help your team embrace presentation management:

  • Some of them are concrete, like training.
  • Others are more psychological, like how to change someone’s predisposition toward doing things a certain way.

In this post, we will discuss the approaches you can take to lead your team into a presentation management culture. And these approaches will also help you jump-start your presentation initiative.

Culture of Presentation Management
Image: One of the photos in collage by Gabriel García on Scopio

Presentation management has two core tenants, and every step you take in your presentation management initiative should ultimately lead to those objectives. Revisit these tenants from time to time to make sure you stay on track.

  1. Transform your presentations from one-and-done tactical files to enterprise assets.
  2. Balance the long-term enterprise objectives and the individual needs of everyday employees.

The goal is to balance the presentation needs of both the individual and the enterprise

Balance the presentation needs

Director of Presentation Management

Presentation management is a disciplined approach to executing that strategy. The strategy guides who in your organization can present what message, to whom and when. It balances the objectives of the enterprise with the individual’s needs. The approach is similar to any other marketing communications discipline, like advertising, public relations and event marketing. It has a similar process:

  1. Define objectives,
  2. Plan,
  3. Execute,
  4. Measure, and then
  5. Revise

The director of presentation management, with the help of strategists, should spearhead your company’s presentation management effort.

This person, or task force depending on the size and complexity of your company, should:

  • Have an understanding of your company’s messaging and branding.
  • Be able to ensure that the presentation material is consistent with the company’s mission.
  • Also have an understanding of the company’s product and service lines to determine what kind of content to include in the library.

Your presentation director should be a relatively senior executive who understands the business, its subdivisions, and has a sense of what the team members need to succeed in their roles. This is a role that probably already exists in your company. Some individual or a group, usually in marketing, has taken on this task by default because it’s important.

Think of a museum curator who assembles the best collection of art. The presentation director is going to curate the best collection of your company’s slides. He may source corporate communications to get high-level content about the company. Then, to address the day-to-day presentation needs of individuals, the director can source content about specific products and services. In bigger companies, the presentation director usually delegates this task to managers from each division.

Director of Presentation Management
Image: Collage created using pictures from Pickit

Cooper Standard, a global enterprise with over 100 locations across four continents, sourced content from each product line and region to create a comprehensive library.

Yes, you must get the content from the subject matter experts, wherever they are. Once the content is collected, the director can organize the high-level corporate content with detailed product content into one central cloud location.

A presentation director is the curator of presentation content.

Promote the Benefits – It’s PM for Them

Appeal to your employees’ self-interest. Let your team know how presentation management will make their presentations better and easier.

U.S. Bank – Deploying a Presentation Management Solution

Shufflrr US Bank Case Study

U.S. Bank surveyed its team members to understand their presentation pain points before choosing a solution.

The bank found that, above all else, users really needed an easier way to find approved slides, so they wouldn’t be forced to create their own.

When the bank was ready to launch presentation management, management was able to communicate that this new presentation initiative would standardize content, push out slide updates, and save time when preparing decks. That’s what the users needed, so management led with their needs.

Read more about how various companies deployed presentation management solutions at the Shufflrr Case Studies page.

Show Them It’s Familiar: “You Already Know How to Do This”

Once employees understand how presentation management makes their work-lives better, show them that it’s already familiar. If you want your child to eat more fish, you don’t serve her steamed sea bass with capers and onions in a spicy tomato sauce. You start with fish sticks because fish sticks are pretty close to chicken fingers. And all kids like chicken fingers.

Draw similarities to what employees already know and do. For example, presenting in interactive mode, where they are pulling up slides on the fly, might seem intimidating. They lose the familiarity and structure of their linear PowerPoint. But they already tell stories through interactive presentations every day in their personal lives, especially if they’re Millennials (see what Robert Gaskins, the creator of PowerPoint says about Millennials).

Here’s a familiar scenario that shows what we mean:

Suzanne and John are best buddies, but they haven’t seen each other in a while. After rescheduling multiple times, they’ve finally caught up for dinner and drinks.

Standing at the bar, while waiting for their table John asks Suzanne, “How was your vacation?”

“Amazing!” Suzanne responds with delight. “We took the kids to Disney World. Funniest thing, my 4-year-old, Eric, has a huge crush on all of the Disney Princesses.”  She takes out her phone and starts scrolling through pictures. “Look at him blushing with Cinderella. Too cute!  He’s going to be mortified by this when he’s older. And then we left the kids at my folks and hit the beach for a few days to reboot.” Suzanne shows a few more pictures of her and her husband enjoying a romantic dinner.  “How about you?”

“I have a job interview in two days at Acme Company. It would be a promotion and a raise. I’m so sick of my current job right now. I need to nail this.”

“My friend used to work at Acme. Who are you meeting with?”

“Mike Whatshisface, he’s the SVP of marketing,” John replies. Suzanne starts the recon. She sends an inquiring text to her friend and does a Google search to get some more info on Mike Whatshisface.  They both look at Suzanne’s phone.

They pull up his LinkedIn profile and see that he started out in sales. Suzanne advises John, “The guy has a sales background. Better talk about your experience in terms of results.  You know, focus more on the results you’ve achieved and less about the process and details.”

Then they go to Google images and find a picture of Mike Whatshisface and his wife at a charity event.

Meanwhile, Suzanne’s friend replies to her text with a bitmoji of her running in fear, “Mike Whatshisface is a total jerk. Tell John … Run awaaaay!”

They both break out in laughter and order another round of drinks.

That’s an interactive story, using a mobile phone to present “slides” as the conversation unfolds. The content on your phone is formatted to present. Your phone is essentially a slide deck with the presentation following the conversation. When discussing interactive presentations, draw comparisons to what’s already familiar.

Other aspects of presentation management should be familiar to most people, too. Your team already knows how to search and shop for stuff on Amazon, put pictures of items into a shopping cart, and buy with one-click. Well, with a new presentation management initiative, employees are going to be able to do the same thing, except with slides instead of items, which users will save into a new deck instead of a shopping cart.

In the next post of this series, we will look at how training will help you start the conversation about presentations management.