When it comes to business presentations, PowerPoint is one of the great equalizers. This ubiquitous software program is readily available to companies of all sizes, and enables your small business sales and marketing presentations to have the same professional look and feel as those from your biggest competitors. Of course with great power comes great responsibility, and while you may possess the tools to create a killer presentation, those same tools in the wrong (or inexperienced) hands can cause Death by PowerPoint on a massive scale.

In fact, even though much has been written about bad PowerPoint, those mind-numbing slide shows persist. This Dilbert Cartoon concisely highlights the point:

Seth Godin’s post on Really Bad PowerPoint goes into more detail. PowerPoint, he notes, was developed by engineers as a tool to help them communicate with the marketing department, and vice versa. This may be the root of the problem. Godin asserts that most PowerPoint presentations are so bad because they are used to communicate information, when instead they should be transferring emotion. ?If all you want to do is create a file of facts and figures, then cancel the meeting and send in a report? he suggests.? The post then goes on to provide tips for creating great PowerPoint presentations.

There are numerous resources you can use to perfect your PowerPoints. This Brainshark Guide provides a top 10 list of posts that may help. Just about everyone agrees that to be effective a PowerPoint presentation should be clear, concise, and to the point.? And while there is no one perfect format, using the PechaKucha structure can help you keep things short and effective.

PechaKucha (pronounced ‘PEH-cha KOO-cha’ or ‘peh-CHAK-acha’), is the art of concise presentations. It is a Japanese term meaning chatter. It was coined by two architects who wanted to impose structure on presentations given at their performance space in Tokyo. The PechaKucha presentation follows two simple rules — 20 slides of 20 seconds each. The slides must run automatically, which forces you to devote just 20 seconds of speech to each slide and results in a presentation of exactly six minutes and forty seconds.

The PechaKucha format was not originally designed for business. According to the official PechaKucha website, it was designed to help creative people get together and share ideas in a format that avoided the natural tendency to drone-on forever. This spawned a world-wide movement of PechaKucha Nights where people get together and give presentations on a wide variety of subjects. If you’re passionate about it, then it is perfect for a PechaKucha. (Check the website for a PechaKucha Night near you.)

However, PechaKucha is the perfect format for a business presentation when you have limited time to make your pitch and transfer your excitement about your small business products and services. To get started, check out the Guide to PechaKucha Presentation. For an example of PechaKucha, watch 20 Years. 20 Seconds. 30 Years of Presentations from inc.com. You’ll not only see the form in action, you’ll learn about 20 key moments in PowerPoint presentation history.

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Lisa Hephner

Lisa Hephner

My name is Lisa, and I'm the Vice President of Knowledge, responsible for the management of corporate, product, competitor, marketplace, legal, and regulatory knowledge, and creation and dissemination of knowledge tools using these assets to PaySimple prospects, customers, employees, and partners.

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