Creating a Common Slides deck
What it is and why you need one.
Companies produce presentations at a massive rate in the Silicon Valley. These include internal decks, sales decks, product updates, training materials etc. Ideally, all these decks should appear to be coming from the same place. They should all be following brand standards, but we all know that's often not the case.
The majority of presentations are being created by non-designers. The sales teams and marketing managers who create decks on a regular basis are not wired to reference brand standards everytime they put a slide together. Therefore, how do you ensure their work will remain consistent from one team to the next? How do you prevent rogue employees from going all David Carson and creating their own styles? For one, you should have a template in place. But, that involves training to make sure everyone understands how to use a template and we all know how drawn out and inefficient that can be.
So how do we better prepare them to create on a more consistent level? This is where we manifest the Common Slides deck. This deck will serve as a resource, as an inspiration, and as a brand audit of sorts. A Common Slides deck is exactly as it sounds. It's simply a collection of slide types most often utilized by your team.
To create a Common Slides deck, the first step is to gather all of your most important and most utilized presentations. Take an audit of the types of slides used. What I mean by that is to identify the types of layouts used in each deck. What you'll find is that the majority of the slides (in most cases) are built using very similar layouts. For example; you can audit a 30-slide deck and realize there are only 3 layouts that are used to handle most of the content. Once you have identified a handful of consistently used layouts, now you can save those to a new deck called "Common Slides". Continue to add slides over time as you see fit. It should be noted that you only want to save examples that conform to your brand standards. This deck will serve as a presentation bible to your team, so any slide you add is fair game for them to utilize.
The organization is key. Be sure to group different slide types and create sections within the deck. As someone using the deck for the first time, this will make navigating through the slides much easier. Rather than opening a clusterfuck of slides, you can actually narrow down what type of slide you're looking for by scrolling to the "3-icons" section. Eventually, you should have a fairly extensive Common Slides deck that covers the full gamut of slide types your company uses. Now you have a solid resource you can share with your team that will drive home the message of consistency.
That's the Common Slides deck in a nutshell. On one hand, a new sales employee joins the team and uses the Common Slides deck to produce a quality presentation their first week on the job. On the other hand, an Art Director uses the Common Slides deck for inspiration on how the brand has been deployed over a span of time and where we can further innovate.
We've just scratched the surface of possibilities when it comes to upping the efficiency, consistency, and quality of presentations. Keep in touch on how much farther we can go by subscribing below. There will be more resources to share in the coming months.
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