Keep your presentations from becoming PowerPointLess

Successful media relations means a steady stream of engaging content sent out to targeted journalists.

Repurposing corporate messaging can be an effective and efficient way of feeding your press pipeline.

Maximizing a presentation, for example, not only increases its effectiveness to an audience, it can also increase its newsworthiness.

The following recommendations should not only please your meeting attendees but also your public relations staff:

– Don’t: Use your slides as a script. The info you’re projecting should be short and memorable. The majority of your talking points – even hardline financial data – should be related as a story that you’re telling, not a paper that you’re reading.
– Don’t: Skimp on the visuals. Stock photos are purchasable and downloadable at high resolutions. Make your tabular data visible at a distance and strong enough to be reproducible in the media.
– Don’t: Use showy fonts; don’t overdo the colors; use a font size of at least 30 points.
– Don’t: Remain chained to the podium. Relax. Move around. Engage.
– Don’t: Go in unrehearsed. Know your stuff. Cold.
– Don’t: Arrive in the nick of time. See the setup, check the tech, upload files and hit the bathroom before going on.
– Do: Have a tech-fail backup plan. Use your notes; soldier on; email details later.
– Do: Incorporate social media. Capture the event on video or broadcast livestream. Post pictures and talking points. The media can be pitched to the press online.
– Do: Make it easy for attending journalists. Consider their needs: power supply, thumb drive, speaker bios or access to/from a news van. Supply a branded press release (with contact info) and all supplementary information (graphs, photos, charts, tables).

Nothing beats the one-two punch of a presentation that wows the audience and gets picked up by the media. A well-executed PowerPoint can do that – far better than its forebears: the whiteboard, the flip chart, the overhead projector or even (reaching way back) the chalkboard.

Dan Weckerly is director of public relations at Lehigh Mining & Navigation, an advertising agency in Allentown. He can be reached at weckerly@lmandn.com.

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