Cobbled-together Frankendecks (or "Frankenstein's Deck" for the pedants) may seem like obvious time-savers, but these repurposed resources end up cutting the wrong corners, resulting in boring and ugly presentations.
You don't have to sacrifice quality for efficiency—say goodbye to your Frankendeck and master business storytelling with a presentation productivity platform.
- Frankendecks create the illusion of saved time but result in unnecessary rework.
- Balancing quality and efficiency is essential for creating quality presentations.
- The best presentations have a strong central message and professional appearance.
The siren song of the Frankendeck
Busy professionals spend as long as 32.9 hours in meetings every week. That leaves little time to prepare for presentations. Efficient preparation dictates that professionals reuse and repurpose what they can (after all, what is the point in reinventing the wheel every time?), but in the process of recycling old sales decks, the result can end up inconsistent, outdated, and ineffective.
We affectionally call these recycled sales decks made from bits and pieces of old presentations "Frankendecks" or, less affectionately, "the junk drawer of content."
Frankendecks appeal to presenters because they repurpose old sales decks, minimizing how much rework presenters must do. While these recycled presentations may seem like an effective way to save time, they counterintuitively create more work for professionals while resulting in less cohesive and compelling presentations
Why Frankendecks don't save time
On the surface, repurposing old content is a no-brainer. Update a few slides and add a few bullet points, and you have a repurposed sales deck that's as good as new, right?
There are a few reasons that Frankendecks don't live up to their promises:
- Retrofitting investment. How do you fit a square peg into a round hole? Is it easier to whittle a square peg to fit into a round hole or start over with a round peg? Sometimes retrofitting a deck to a new presentation can waste more time than it saves.
- Losing the thread. You start with a coherent sales deck. One week, you change a few slides and update a few numbers. Next week, you add a new slide. The week after, you remove a few slides and update some references. After a few iterations, you have a sales deck that looks and sounds passable but doesn't support your presentation's central message. These iterative changes stacked one after another blur the message of your presentation and made it harder to form a cohesive message.
- Disguised rework. The allure of the Frankendeck is that it appears to save time and effort by eliminating rework. But in reality, the changes you make to one presentation after another can become rework in and of themselves. While Frankendecks create the illusion of minimizing labor— in reality, they create all new kinds of work for presenters.
Challenges in creating good presentations
For all the time professionals spend in meetings, they're some of the most dreaded parts of the workweek. A quarter of Americans say they'd rather sit in traffic than attend a meeting, and a whopping 58% say they'd rather go to a doctor's appointment.
The biggest challenge in creating a good presentation is that sales meetings are tedious and repetitive. Rather than falling back on the same old strategies for presentation after presentation, professionals should take a proactive, intentional approach to create dynamic, engaging presentations.
The flip side of the coin is that professionals often have limited time to prepare for each presentation. In a perfect world, you would have unlimited time to make every presentation perfect, but professionals have to make do in the real world.
The challenge of creating a good presentation isn't just making an interesting, exciting presentation but doing it efficiently and consistently.
Creating your best presentations
Humans are narrative creatures. We've been telling stories since we had the technology to paint on cave walls. Today we use stories to socialize, entertain, and relate. But we also use stories to invest, sell, and lead.
Business storytelling is an essential part of commerce. While data and insights should fuel stories, the story the numbers tell makes data actionable.
So, the question for business professionals is, "How do I tell great stories?"
A clear central message
While "productivity culture" has long glorified multitasking, the reality is that single-tasking can boost productivity by up to 500%. This veneration of multitasking can easily sneak into your presentations, but the reality is that the most effective presentations aren't jacks of all trades. They're masters of one.
An effective presentation should have one clear central message that your sales deck revolves around. The lack of a clear message is one of the reasons that Frankendecks fall short—retrofitting a presentation to fit different central messages is inefficient and ineffective.
A recent message that fell short of this clear messaging is Suella Braverman's resignation letter which left readers wondering what she really meant.
Look the part
In his book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Robert Cialdini studies what motivates people to action. For example, he studies crowds at a crosswalk and what might motivate them to cross before the walk sign illuminates. He found crowds likelier to follow a person dressed in business attire than in plain clothing.
In other words, without knowing any actual qualifications or personal information about a stranger, a crowd is more likely to make a subconscious decision to follow somebody they perceive as a professional. The implications of this study on your wardrobe and hygiene are obvious, but the implications on your presentations are just as important.
The best way to motivate people to action is to look the part. Your presentations should reflect your passion and credibility. A sleek, professional presentation personalized to your sales deck and audience is possibly more important than the information it contains.
Prezent's presentation productivity platform
Escaping the grasp of the Frankendeck is important, but it doesn't have to be difficult.
Structured business storytelling is easier than ever with the help of tools like Prezent.
Prezent helps professionals create personalized presentations that save you as much as 70% of your time making presentations. By using customizable standardized templates, brand-approved design, and collaborative workflows, Prezent helps professionals master structured storytelling that highlights your message and your credibility.