Breathing life into a bag of bullets

This post was written by John White on Thu, 30 Oct 2008 09:18:20 +0000
Posted Under: marketing manager,presentations,recording,subject matter experts

Corporate life is one slide deck after another. The success of a marketing manager is often measured by how well we design, organize and circulate them.

There’s no denying, though, that most slide decks – pardon me for avoiding the trademarked term, “P****P***t,” from the company in Redmond – are pretty dry. There’s also no denying that there’s a lot of gold in them, if you know how to mine it.

Here’s how I describe it to clients:

“Your president or subject matter expert (SME) goes to a conference with a brilliant idea in her head. She creates a slide deck around it and presents it to 500 attendees, all of whom agree that it’s brilliant. They all get copies and forward them to their colleagues back at the office. These colleagues open them up and see…a bag of bullets. No narrative, no anecdotes, no flesh on the skeleton – just a bag of bullets.

“What happened to all of the brilliance, and how can we preserve it? We convert the presentation into a white paper or technical article, then make that available, instead of the slide deck.

“Once it tells a story, Marketing can use it, our PR company can use it, Sales can use it, even the execs can use it.”

We’ve done this for several presentations from product managers. We need the content out of their brains and into print anyway, and getting it from a conference presentation is usually the most efficient way of packaging it, because they’re always to busy to sit down and commit their knowledge to the printed word.

Here’s what your writer needs to do this properly:

  • a copy of the slide deck
  • a recording – audio or audio/video – of the presentation
  • access to the SME in case of questions
  • 15-30 hours

Important: Some SMEs try to record their delivery while commuting to the office, or while shaving, or while waiting for their children’s soccer games to start. The results are not as crisp as in a recording from a live delivery of the presentation before a live audience, which ensures the requisite amount of adrenaline and lack of self-consciousness for a properly delivered, playing-to-the-gallery, think-on-your-feet presentation, warts and all. Digital audio recorders, Flip cameras, and sound panel recordings from the conference engineers will get your writer what he needs.

How do you prise this kind of 24-karat content from the heads of your SMEs and execs?

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