Putting The Appendix IN?Aug 02, 2022
Moderator Bill Ganon explains how an appendix in your presentation is way more than a parking lot for excessive detail. It’s actually an effective tool to help you refine your entire presentation philosophy into that which ‘must be seen’ and that which ‘might be seen’.
In the medical world, the appendix is one of those items that only draws attention when something goes wrong and usually must be removed…quickly!
In the sales presentation world, the appendix is again often ignored and ironically, draws attention only as a storage closet for excessively detailed information. And that’s a shame – here’s why.
An appendix in your presentation is way more than a parking lot for excessive detail. It’s actually an effective tool to help you refine your entire presentation philosophy into that which ‘must be seen’ and that which ‘might be seen’. By deciding on information that you’re not requiring your audience to see, you win on two fronts: 1) make your message more focused, and 2) make it shorter – and 99 times out of 100, shorter is better. Adding in an appendix helps you avoid distracting your audience by providing answers to questions that not only haven’t been asked, but worse, have little likelihood of being asked. If your audience never references the question or issue, they never have to see it.
That said, if you think a question or topic may merit a more detailed treatment, the appendix is a great solution. If the question does come up you can simply access the slide in the appendix and continue on. You not only answer the question, but you look better prepared by anticipating the question and having a response.
Here’s a recent example: A client with a large sales force had a practice of creating presentations for customers with a hefty number of “about us” slides upfront. The actual customer proposal didn’t begin until a good 25% into the deck. When I questioned this approach, the response was predictable – “We want to establish our credibility upfront, before we get into the proposal”.
I get it, but the problem is, since you’re already invited in for the proposal, chances are good the customer has pre-determined that you are credible (why else would they have you in?), and opening with 25% “about us” puts the focus on the wrong side of the table.
When the client pressed back with, “OK, but what if they want to know about our size, experience, other offices, etc?”. You got it…put it in the appendix. Consider this potential customer question during the sales call: “Why do you think this proposal will be effective for my (eg:) group of health-focused restaurants?” Reference the appendix, locate that slide that shows your several office locations and explain that thanks to your extensive footprint and expertise, you’ve seen success with similar restaurants and businesses.
See the difference? Instead of making your audience sit through your biography as a preface to your proposal, you’ve converted your biography into an effective and specific response to a question (or possibly a more pointed objection or challenge). Even if the presentation is 30 pages long, by putting 20 of those into the appendix, your audience gets a shorter 10 page core presentation, which is more focused, and saves time. It changes the presentation creation from volume focused (“which slides stay in and which get tossed?”) into attention focused ("how do we get to the customer's solution in the most direct, time-considerate manner, and still be prepared for anticipated questions?").
Rethink your presentations by adding in the appendix as an effective supplement to your content. Might be just what the doctor ordered.
The Ganon Group offers communication coaching for executives and employees across all departments: C-Suite Leadership, Sales, Customer Experience, Technical / Product Development, to improve their communication and presentation techniques.
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