Sam Allardyce’s appointment as Sunderland manager earlier this month coincided with some timely releases from his autobiography.
The Sun kindly serialised extracts from Allardyce’s book, with one revocation in particular making headlines and drawing the attention of the presentation design community…
“I Could’ve Been England Manager If It Wasn’t for PowerPoint”
Our man claims that nothing compares to a Sam Allardyce PowerPoint, but that the lack of presenting facilities at the interview venue for the top job cost him the opportunity of his career. But let’s read further into Sam’s protestations and find out where it all went wrong for him – and what he could’ve done to ensure that things went more smoothly.
“I wanted to do a real knock-your-socks-off interview for the FA, so I put together a PowerPoint presentation which looked at every single detail.
“There was nothing missing. Nobody but nobody was going to beat it. But then Brian Barwick, the chief executive, told me there were no PowerPoint facilities at the interview venue, so I had to print off hard copies for the panel.”
The Proof is in the Preparation
The first glaring error Sam made was failing to properly prepare – something supremely important if you want to deliver amazing presentations.
Steve Jobs was widely renowned for his effortless delivery, but fewer people realise that Jobs’ theatricality and mastery of tone were facilitated by endless practice and tight preparation. Jobs would invest a great amount of time in fastidiously reviewing scripts, familiarising himself with the venue, and ensuring that all the appropriate control measures were in place.
Compared with this, it doesn’t seem like too much to ask for Sam to call Mr Berwick prior to the interview and ensure the proper facilities were in place. And if PowerPoint was available, Sam should’ve asked a number of other pertinent questions make sure that everything ran just right: Is the computer a Mac or PC? Which version of PowerPoint is installed? Is there a reliable internet connection at the venue?
The merits of a PowerPoint presentation are entirely different those of print collateral. Each slide contains visual cues to help elaborate the presenter’ s message. People read printed material differently, and this substitute likely served as a distraction to whatever wisdom Sam was imparting.
Be Light on Text, Heavy on Visual Impact
Even if Sam had been able to deliver his presentation the way he envisaged, we’re not entirely convinced it would have the impact he hoped. Sam explains that he “put together a PowerPoint presentation which looked at every single detail”, which sounds like a classic case of overcrowded slides.
Now we can’t see Big Sam being impressed by our custom formations on FIFA 16, and in turn it doesn’t sound like Sam’s messaging would’ve blown us away: powerful presentations require a delicate balance of great content and slick visuals.
Sam probably put the hours in, but a presentation specialist’s ability to present information in an impactful way is cultivated through years of training and experience.
It’s vital not too just load up your presentation with too much material: less is often more. Select key information and omit the unnecessary to focus your content and really hit your points hard.
Do you have any more PowerPoint presentation advice for Sam? Let us know on Twitter.