Feb 2, 2024

Your PowerPoint slide needs a strong title

 Here is a simple slide design tip. Look at this slide:

The design looks a little odd. Look closely and you notice that the title (header) is weak. The lines 'One-stop destination..' is bigger than the title text. This is a mistake. On every slide, the title should always be the biggest.

Not every slide needs a title, but if it has one.. it should be the biggest. Because, that tells the audience what is more important. What should they see first. This is a design principle.

The slide above also looks weak because of the same issue. The header text should be sizeably bigger. Let us do that and see how the new slide looks:

A bigger and bolder headline text, makes your slide look great. Here is one more example. Notice the big and bold title. Does it not feel eye-catchy and confident? 

Source: Individual slides have been taken from their company's website. They are publicly available, as part of their investor presentation.

Jan 8, 2024

Best storytelling template for B2B sales and fundraising

If I am making a sales presentation, this is my favourite storytelling template. If I am making an investor pitch, I still prefer this many times. This template works.

What is the 'customer story' template?

A real customer story is the base of this template. Pick a customer who has purchased your service. Build the story (and the pitch) around that company.

Here is an example. Let us assume your company makes apps for schools. App which helps the school with its ERP and Accounts. This is how you can start your presentation:

  • Elantris International is a school in Chennai which has 3,000 students across 2 campuses.
  • They were having lots of problems when it came to ERP and Accounts. Fees reconciliation was a huge pain point. Collection, tally and reminders were manual. Even salary payments to teachers, drivers, staff and vendors was being handled manually.
  • Overall, the school was wasting a lot of time and resources and was worried about wrong payments and delayed tuition fee receipts.
  • Elantris tried our app.
  • We installed the ERP and accounts solution within 4 weeks by tweaking our existing application to suit their needs. This installation is super quick because any other competitor would have taken 8-12 weeks!
  • We did not even charge the client for the installation. We only take money on actual usage.
  • We provided the finance team with a desktop version with dashboard and notifications
  • Every stakeholder now has an app access too
  • The time taken to handle fee collection, reconciliation and reminder is down 80% as the app highlights all discrepancies and sends auto alerts to the finance team and auto reminders to parents.
  • We are able to offer benefits of time and cost saving through automation because we have a lean software in the cloud which can be easily tweaked for each school
  • We charge the school on a software as a service model (SaaS). They pay INR 100 per student per month.
Using just one example, of a good client where you have delivered a lot of value, you can build an effective presentation. You can use this 'customer story' template for a B2B sales pitch and an investor pitch.

Why does this storytelling template work?

Because, it makes your pitch easy to understand and credible. The two things that you need the most when 'selling' anything to a stranger - comprehension and trust.

Instead of saying, 'you sell ERP software to schools' and talking about the features, you 'show' what exactly you do. You help the audience visualise the customer, their problem, your solution and the benefit. Everything becomes easy to understand. And because you use a real name, you also build trust.

Have you tried this template before? What has been your experience? If you want to use this template, what concerns and doubts do you foresee?

Jan 3, 2024

What is a serif font? What is sans serif? Why care?

Serif fonts are fonts which have 'serifs', the ticks on their ends. Sans serif fonts are sans (without) the ticks.

Serif fonts like Garamond and Times New Roman are used in printing. Books, reports, leaflets and brochures are printed in serif fonts. Because it is easier to read serif fonts on paper. In my book, For Brand's Sake I had used Merriweather from Google.

Sans serif fonts are easier to read on screens. That's why apps, websites and presentations use or should use sans serif fonts. This rule applies when there is a lot of text. When you have just a few words, the readability of both font types do not differ a lot.

If you are making a presentation, do use sans serif fonts. You can download a good font from Google fonts. Try fonts like Rubik, Nunito Sans, Poppins or Roboto.

Dec 26, 2023

This is how you showcase competence in a sales pitch (ft. Physics Wallah)

In the first episode of Physics Wallah on Amazon miniTV, Alakh Pandey goes to interview at an institute. He wants to teach Physics there. The interviewer asks him ten questions. Alakh looks startled. He does not answer immediately. We begin pondering, "Does he even know the answer to one of the ten questions?"

Once the interviewer finishes reading his questions and assumes Alakh knows nothing, the scene gets dramatic. Alakh not only knows all the answers, he remembers each and every question. He gives correct answers, with explanation, to all the questions.

The interviewer is stunned. He recognises that Alakh is a physics wizard. The audience is also impressed. This scene is amazing at establishing Alakh as a champion, a genius. That's why this scene comes in the first episode itself.

One instance is enough to prove that Alakh is a Physics wizard.

One example is enough to prove that your company is an expert at what it does. Instead of talking about too many client examples, find out the best one. Focus on that. Talk about that in detail.

You can find out this one example through these questions:

  • Which project are you most proud of?
  • Which is the most complex work you have ever done?
  • Which project got the best out of you?
Spend a lot of time covering this example in your sales pitch. Because, if you can do this you can do anything.

Dec 20, 2023

What to focus in your B2B sales presentation?

You are on a call, with a new prospect

You introduce yourself, but they look suspect

Are you the right vendor, they have a doubt

Go ahead and build trust, that’s all this is about

First tell them who you are

What you do, not what makes you a star

Before diving deep, let’s be clear

Explain your products and services, my dear

Focus on the benefits of working with you

Show them proof, tangible and true

What makes you special, what stands you out

Let them know, without boast and shout

Think about the pitch from their point of view

Focus more on the prospect, less on you

Dec 18, 2023

"When you say three things, you say nothing."

In communication, we have an urge to tell our audience everything. If you are a management trainee and you have worked on a project for 2 months, you would want to say each and everything to your mentor in the final presentation.

Even when we make presentations to our senior management, we have the urge to say a lot. We want to say, "Look we have worked hard on this and we know so much."

But the problem - the senior manager does not have time for all this. Look at this print ad for example. It came in the Times of India.

What is this ad trying to communicate to us?

  1. The tea has 7 refreshing spices. So, it is tasty.
  2. There is a celebrity who endorses this tea.
  3. There is a container free with this tea.
At the end of it all, nothing 'remains' with us. The brand has tried to say three things in one single ad.

In the book Made to Stick, the authors Chip and Dan Heath say, "When you say three things, you say nothing." If we apply that here, the ad should have said ONE thing to us.

Talk about the refreshing spices or talk about why the chef loves this tea or promote the container offer.

What happens when you focus on one claim? You can amplify it. You can give all the design space to it. You can remove all the clutter and put the spotlight one thing. Your audience will understand it, get excited about it and remember it.

This applies to all kinds of communications. Imagine you are making a presentation. While you can say 3 or 5 things in a presentation of 30 minutes, you must focus on one thing in one slide.

Give one message in one slide.

Doing this will help you overcome one of the biggest problems of communication - information overload. And it will make you a 5x better presenter.

Dec 12, 2023

How to deliver a presentation like a pro? [Excellent example inside]

There are three pillars of any presentation.

  • Content,
  • Slide design, and
  • Delivery
Most books and articles talk about developing the content and designing professional slides. Delivery is often the most ignored topic in almost all of them. But how we 'deliver' a presentation is very crucial. You might have a good story and slides but your delivery might fall flat. You might fail to excite and engage your audience.

I came across one presentation which stands out because of its delivery. It is a short demo day investor presentation by Ralph Garvin Jr., a start-up founder. Ralph's slides are okay and his story is okay, but his delivery captures our attention. His delivery stands out. You remember it long after you have forgotten his data. You start to care about the problem that Ralph is trying to solve as a startup founder.

It is a 2 minutes 46 seconds video. Watch it here:

  • His hand gestures are very powerful. His gestures are natural too, and they come out of his involvement and passion.
  • He 'snaps' his fingers at around the 18-second mark. This gets the audience excited and involved. It is a high point.
  • He does not speak monotonously. He slows down sometimes. He pauses often. His delivery style is dramatic and it works.
  • He even 'sighs' at 0:38 when there has been an accident.
  • He stresses on important words and phrases to enhance their meaning. The way he says, "What could I have done? And the answer.. is.. NOTHING!"
Overall, he speaks like he is talking. His speed is normal. He stresses important words. He pauses to let you feel the emotion. He speaks slowly and it becomes easier to understand. Overall, a phenomenal delivery.