Obsession with the length and thickness

by Dan Bond on 22nd February, 2013

I first noticed this obsession many years ago when I was working as a presentation consultant for the fleet arm of a well known Swedish car company.  At the time there were a great many advantages, as there still are, to buying their cars for a business fleet; very competitive whole life costs, keeping your staff safe, reliability, solid corporate image and the environmental benefits. Because of all this good stuff the initial fleet proposal document was over 50 pages, a reassuringly long and thick document.

However, the document was rarely read and more often than not just gathered dust on a forgotten shelf. To get around this problem we worked with the fleet team to create a two page executive summary for the decision-makers, accompanied by half a dozen great car shots.

This presentation format, supported by a reference document for the geeks and procurement team proved to be extremely successful. But creating the executive summary was hard work because it required editing, and the editing required decisions to be made about what was essential to the company’s fleet proposition. To make this possible we had to first create a message that quickly and succinctly conveyed the essence of the business proposition. This message was then used to evaluate and test the relevance of each piece of content and in doing so identify what needed to be cut.

Every pitch and presentation should be edited within an inch of its life to ensure impact and audience retention.  Remember your audience will want Match of the Day highlights that can easily be cascaded to others for an opinion or a decision.

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