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The life lesson from powerpoint presentations

Have you ever made a presentation to senior management? Or a CEO? Or an investor? Or a potential customer?

I have done all of them. And one thing that is common across all these cases is how the powerpoint presentation is structured.

Every powerpoint presentation has two sections - the core slides that we actually plan to show the audience while we provide the narrative, and the appendix that we have ready just in case some questions come up and we need to support the claims we are making. These are slides that we would never use unless we were forced to.

We ought to be either extremely confident of how the presentation will go and what questions will be asked and what discussions will be had, or very foolish to not invest our time in building the appendix section.

Yet, in many aspects of our lives, we fail to build the appendix section. And we end up doing just about what is needed and come up short when deeper questions are asked. In fact, in certain cases like physical fitness and our finances, we tend to do just about enough or less than enough as we take on loans and live on credit.

And quite often, it is just a question of not picking up skills or not investing in developing on fronts that don't necessarily have an immediate need for us.

We seem to be keen on improving only our core slides all the time and not the appendix. And if there's one thing I've learnt from making presentations is, that is not a good idea.

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