Dec 4, 2009

Is your presentation immortal?

I was reading this post on the blog 'Eyeful Presentations' and I started wondering about Presentation Mortality. Are presentations mortal or immortal? What I mean is, you are a real estate company and you create a sales presentation for one of your projects. Can you keep showing the same presentation always? For the next 3 months... 6 months...

Another example, take your own corporate presentation (which shares the corporate profile to clients) which was uploaded on your website 5 years back. Is it still relevant and alive? Has it not died?
What are your thoughts on this? How long can you keep using the same sales presentation or corporate presentation or for that matter any presentation?

I believe presentations are mortal. They have a useful life. Presentation being a form of communication is highly contextual. With time the environment (context) changes and your presentation begins to die. And one day... thud! it is a vestigial organ. It becomes useless.

Do all presentations have the same life?
No. The life (how long a presentation is useful and relevant) differs from case to case. For a real estate company the sales presentation needs to change every month because the speed of construction will change and hence your content will change. Once the project is sold out, the presentation is meaningless.

For a corporate presentation, the case is different. Some content will never change (history, philosophy, etc) but the company might itself be transforming.

Talking of mortality reminds me of an investor presentation I made for a client last year. He was starting a company and he needed an investor presentation to raise funds. So we made a presentation. After ten months, when nothing much had changed, he came to me and said, "the presentation does not seem so great now, can we make a new one?" I relooked at the presentation, had a round of discussion with him to understand the context and said, "Yes." The next day we were ready with a presentation which made him jump off his seat. It was just what he wanted. It was just what he wanted then. Context is what determines the effectiveness of a presentation.

To conclude, I would say four things:

1. A presentation's life is limited.
2. To keep it alive you need to revisit it constantly.
3. One day, you need to scrap it and build a new one from scratch. Yes, right from scratch.
4. This is because, presentation is made during a certain time to cater to a certain need. As times change, needs change.

What do you think? The presentation you made last year, is it still relevant?

Image credit: Simon Howden /

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