How Many Slides Should My PowerPoint Be?

Imagine you’re the most junior person in a conference room full of executives.
You’re presenting a recommendation that could be good for your company and for your career. You’ve spent countless hours working on a slide deck that you’re very proud of, but the executives in the room seem disinterested and impatient.

And then the senior decision maker says, “Why don’t you turn off your slides and just tell us what it is you want us to do.”

This actually happened to me. But, what felt like a disaster at the time turned into an invaluable communication lesson.

Slide creation is NOT message creation.
I’d fallen into the same deadly trap that derails so many other high stakes business presentations: I’d used the slide creation process as my message creation process.

This resulted in too many slides, too much content on each slide, and far too little explicit value for decision makers. Here’s how to avoid this credibility damaging slide trap.

Create your message first.
First create a compelling, relevant message for your recommendation, which includes analyzing your audience of decision makers and what it is that they care most about. The Mandel Blueprint® is ideally suited for this mission-critical task.

Then, map your slides to your message.
Keep the actual number of slides to the absolute minimum needed to help your decision-making audience understand and see the value in your recommendation.  The Mandel 5+1 Slide StrategyTM can help you do that efficiently and effectively.

Want a quick tutorial?
For a quick overview on how to do this, watch this short video about the Mandel 5+1 Slide Strategy, produced in partnership with our friends at Harvard Business Publishing.

To really learn how to make the 5 +1 Slide Strategy work for you, download our complimentary whitepaper on the topic: How to Use Slides to Help Your Message.

Brad Holst

Brad Holst

Brad is the Principal & Executive Director, Communication Strategy and Innovation, at Mandel. He has designed and implemented successful communication, training, and coaching solutions for a diverse cross-section of Mandel’s global clients, from start-ups to top names in the Fortune 50. He is the prime creator of the proprietary models and processes in Mandel’s winning suite of communication content-planning tools, including the Mandel Blueprint®. Brad is a consultant who gets results, an insightful coach, and a dynamic, engaging speaker. He offers a rare level of business acumen based on his prior leadership roles with three market-leading companies: The Walt Disney Company, The Clorox Company, and Armor All Products.