Beware the Dreaded “Frankendeck”


A mob of angry men stride purposefully through the dark wielding torches that flicker menacingly as they bob to and fro. It’s an all too familiar scene. Only this time they’re not after the monster in the castle.This time, they’re after you!

Sure, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but today is Halloween so it seems a fitting way to revisit the evil monster that continues to threaten conference rooms across the nation — the dreaded Frankendeck.

Are you guilty of releasing Frankendecks on your audiences? You know the ones. Presentations that look like they were assembled from unrelated parts — parts that just don’t belong together.

These monsters are often born in the rush to assemble a new presentation from slides purloined from other decks you or your team created for other purposes. Or they might result from having too many cooks in the kitchen while the deck is being brewed.  

Either way, the result is the same. An abomination that nobody wants to see.

So how do you avoid them? It all starts with a story. Think you’re not a natural story teller? Don’t be so sure.  I’ll bet that when you’re relaxing with your friends, you tell all kinds of stories that keep people engaged, entertained, and informed. But how do you apply story telling to fend off a Frankendeck? Not so obvious. Fortunately, there’s help. 

Check out Cliff Atkinson’s Beyond Bullet Points method, or the Slides that Rock techniques, and you’ll find that you can craft a story for your next PowerPoint presentation. All it takes it spending a bit more time at the outset, before you start creating and assembling slides. The first time you do it, it’ll probably feel like you’re wasting time, but stick with it. I promise you it’s worth the effort. Once you’ve mastered the basics, you’ll be the envy of the office. Here are some of the benefits you’ll enjoy:

  1. You’ll need fewer slides to get your message across
  2. Your audience will stay awake, and even pay attention to your presentation
  3. You will become a celebrity and have adoring fans far and wide

Ok, maybe I’m over selling things a bit with that last point, but I promise you that if you make an effort to learn about telling stories with your presentations, you’ll be very happy you did. And so will the people you present to.  

So after you’ve made the rounds of your neighborhood tonight and had your fill of candy, why not take a vow never to create another Frankendeck.