Tag archives: Presentation

Interview with BFM 89.9

I was recently interviewed by Norina Yahya of BFM 89.9. It was a pleasant surprise to meet someone who was so well prepared. Her questions were well thought out and she had done some reading prior to the interview. For those of you who haven’t heard it yet BFM is a business radio station (it’s also got some really cool music when the interviews aren’t playing). The website is http://www.bfm.my/123.html.

To use Power Point or not?

During my one year as a brand manager, I learned how to use Power Point. I learned how people misused Power Point. I sat through  “brief” presentations of 200 slides or more. I prepared slides linked to videos, jpgs and Excel spreadsheets and jpgs. 

Setting up my own business was a totally different ball game. As some entrepreneurs write, the change was as drastic as night and day. Presentations to clients were sometimes done in the lift or on the way to the car park. Surprise, surprise, these presentations were shock horror, without Power Point slides!

My business now has 5 trainers and we work with Petronas, Maybank, Johnson & Johnson, YTL, MIDF, IBBM and Kuwait Finance House. At the end of every month, as a good former MNC trained brand manager, I conducted an analysis of my business. I determined where the business was from (which company & industry and which was the most profitable). 

Around 8% of my business resulted from making Power Point presentations. 92% of the business resulted from meetings/presentations without using Power Point slides. In all the meetings, I did have slides prepared. It was just that the meeting went quite well without the slides. 

Not setting up a projector made the presentation feel a little more relaxed. Feedback from my clients showed that most of them were tired of endless slides. Most meetings would begin by questions on what exactly the client needed. To summarize, you should always have a set of slides in case, but you may find that more than 90% of the time, you may be better off without them. Obama’s Democratic national convention speech was over 45 minutes long, extremely riveting and given without a single slide.

Some of your clients may feel a need for slides and will want to sit through a Power Point show. If you do have to prepare some slides, take a look at  www.presentationzen.com and the post below on Pitfalls in Presentation. This is quite a comprehensive guide to presentations that advocates getting to the point and making a focused presentation.

How not to use Power Point!

This is an entertaining and true video about Power Point. I have suffered through many presentations with too much animation, data and text in one slide! Key points to remember :
1) Keep slides brief – maximum of six lines down, six words across.
2) Keep charts brief – there should be only one takeaway from each chart and it should be clear the moment you see that chart.
3) Don’t read the slides – this negates the need for a presenter. I have heard many people say “just send me the slides please!”
4) Have a focused and clear message BEFORE you begin writing the presentation.

I particularly like his example of every marketing slide you have seen. As a brand manager, all our Power Points had a similar chart or 2 or 3…

Key Pitfalls in Presentations

Key pitfalls in presentations


The 5 common pitfalls in most presentations are:

1) Too long

2) Too much information

3) No clear point

4) No clear flow

5) No audience benefit


1) Too long

How do we feel when we see the presenter has over 200 slides? Most presentations are too long. This is partly due to our Malaysian culture that favours indirect communication. Our culture moves to the boardroom, with presentations that skirt around the point and take 30 minutes before the key message or proposition is put across. We need to put the key proposition across, and the sooner we do so the better. For an example of saying a lot with few words, check out Rix Quinn’s book, “Words that Stick” available on Amazon.com.


2) Too much information.

Someone told me that a PowerPoint presentation would not be complete without 20 or 30 charts. I disagree. In my experience in making presentations, less is more. The best test for putting in any information is to ask “So what?” or “Why did I put this piece of information there?” Ask yourself if it is relevant. Also ask if the message can be put across without that piece of information. Be brutal when you edit your presentation material. If you must show a chart, make sure that you want to make one point with that chart and keep the chart simple. Only put information that is absolutely necessary. Check out Dick Hardt’s presentation where he doesn’t use a single bullet point or chart and yet conveys very complex concepts in a simple manner within 15 minutes.


3) No clear point

Many of us have left presentations asking, “What did he/she want?”. At the end of a presentation, the audience should know exactly what you are talking about AND what you want. When Carlos Ghosn from Nissan talks, he makes 2-3 points that he outlines at the beginning and summarizes at the end. To make our presentations more effective, we should clearly establish what we will talk about, ideally keeping a maximum of 5 points and summarizing the points at the end for emphasis.


4) No clear flow.

Another sin of presentation is jumping around from point to point. Some presentations tend to go from macro to micro and back again resulting in a confused audience. Decide on a flow structure and stick with it! It also helps to map out what you want to achieve before you start preparing your presentation. This will make your flow clearer.


5) No Audience Benefit.

Presentations also commonly focus on features instead of the audience benefit. We need to know what’s in it for us. In a presentation on a gated property for sale by the developer, the focus is on the features, e.g. 24-hour security and a pool. In terms of the audience benefit, the presentation should have focused on the peace of mind due to 24-hour security, and the pool that will help ease your working stress.

In creating a presentation, we look at how to get the audience to an “ah ha”. This requires some thought as to what would be in it for the audience. We need to find a key driver to make people listen. We need to ask “Why should the audience be listening to this presentation?” and “What’s In It For You?”.


To learn more about the five pitfalls above and how to make your presentations stand out, come for the 2nd Power Presentation Skills Program on 22-23 September 2008 at

RezZen (M) Sdn Bhd,

Suite 2B-5-1,

Plaza Sentral, Jalan Stesen Sentral,

Kuala Lumpur 50480.


Participants receive a DVD of themselves together with a development plan. The cost is RM2,200/participant which is HRDF claimable.


Comment from a participant to the July program.


“I attended the presentation course 2 weeks ago, and in my opinion the course was outstanding, enjoyable and 100% effective. I truly believe that this course has added significant value to me. It fully addressed my needs and I am actually looking forward to delivering my next presentation. The course was very practical and I would like to thank Juarez who was definitely an inspiring facilitator!”