How To Deliver Someone Else’s Presentation

Many speakers are asked to deliver a template presentation provided to them by their corporate office. They might have to give an employee training workshop, a sales pitch, or a generic “about our company” seminar.

Oftentimes, the presentation is delivered to the speaker in the form of PowerPoint slides. If the company has its act together, the slides will have speaker’s notes filled in to help the speaker know exactly what points they’re expected to make on each slide.

That may sound like an efficient way to deliver a presentation and ensure consistency across an organization. But speakers who deliver those presentations are usually lifeless and uninspired — and that’s not their fault. Since the speakers had no ownership over the creation of the presentation, their personalities and delivery styles are nowhere to be found within it.

What can you do if you’re asked to deliver a presentation that’s already been created?

Jeans Tailor Pants Alterations
Think of a template presentation as an off-the-rack pair of pants.

When you buy a new pair of pants, you might need to tailor it by taking in the waist or shortening the cuffs. The same is true with a template presentation — you don’t have to wear it “as is.” Instead, most presentations will benefit if you make a few alterations by injecting your own personality into it while retaining its basic shape.

Example One

Let’s say you’re handed this slide:

Sample Slide 1
You can bring it to life by adding a personal anecdote:

“Last year, I went to Jakarta, Indonesia for the first time. It’s a city of 10 million people, and off in the northwest corner of the city, our company opened an office in a nondescript office park. When you enter the building, however, you’re immediately struck by how high tech it is. You walk down a long corridor lined with television monitors and enter an open workspace with more than 200 techs busily working at state-of-the-art work stations. The Jakarta office is just one of 12 new satellite offices we’ve opened in the past two years in cities such as Montreal, Nairobi, Buenos Aires, and Glasgow, and that growth has helped our company’s revenue increase by 400 percent since early 2013.”

Example Two

Here’s another example. Let’s say this slide is in your deck:

Sample Slide 2
In this case, you might highlight one of the trends and infuse it with meaningful context:

For the past year, we’ve heard a lot of talk about Facebook changing its algorithm. It used to be that a brand published a post, and the brand’s “fans” — people who had liked the page — could see the brand’s posts in their feed. Not anymore. Today, Facebook insists that brands buy advertising to reach their own fans. We don’t buy advertising on Facebook, so we expected our traffic to plummet. But something interesting happened. Google is still our number one referral source, but [CLICK TO ABOVE SLIDE] Facebook has remained number two. So much for losing our website visits from them — surprisingly, they’ve actually gone up. And Twitter is closing in fast, just slightly behind at number three.”

The key to bringing a presentation someone else created to life is to look for spots to add more of yourself to it.

For more ideas, read this article which offers eight great ways to begin a presentation. You can use these elements anywhere in your talk — not just in your open — and doing so will help you make someone else’s presentation sound exactly like your own.