Category Management Training: Turning Your Presentations from “Drab” to “Fab”

by Sue Nicholls, President, Category Management Knowledge Group

Category Management TrainingThis week’s blog is an extension of some of my other blogs over the past few months that have focused on Fact-Based Selling and Presentation Skills.  At Category Management Knowledge Group, we run many live category management training sessions with clients and students.  We also run optional, added-value live webinars with all of our students that are participating in one of our training programs (including a recent one on “Impactful Presentations“).  Through these interactions, we have the opportunity to see many different presentations and presentation styles across organizations.    It’s become apparent to us that there is an opportunity for organizations to train their sales, category management and marketing teams on some basic, tactical presentation skills.  These folks should have the knowledge to create impactful presentations that tell a story and look great (for the purposes of this blog these are the only two elements of the presentation that I’m going to focus on).

There are two areas that I would consider to be the more tactical components of presentation-building:

1) PowerPoint slide development:  This includes things like using and editing a SlideMaster, creating SmartArt, developing effective tables and charts.

2) Effective slide development:  This includes some “rules” about content to include (and not include) in your slides, and also how to create slides that “sing” by using compelling graphs, tables and slides.

As I mentioned above, I recently ran a live webinar for our students on “Impactful Presentations”.  I started by reviewing some basic PowerPoint skills (things like the SlideMaster, SmartArt, Tables).  Then we reviewed a few sets of data, and determined some ways that we could make a table of data more compelling in a slide to make it “sing”.  Here’s an example of one of the “drab” slides that we reviewed, which is some typical category data across several destination categories for Happy Joe’s retailer (of note, none of this data is real, and this is only an example for the purposes of this training example):



Category Management Data









Category Management Data














In the “Fab” slide, by making some changes to the column colors (with the Frozen Entrees numbers in bright Orange, and the other columns in muted colors) and adding in some of the significant numbers to focus on in a larger font, it’s very easy to see how the conclusions in the title of the slide can be derived. These easy changes guide the viewer’s eyes to the numbers you want them to focus on.

This live webinar that we ran for our students was highly rated, and many students gave feedback that they “had no idea how to do some of the basic things in PowerPoint”. I have made this “Impactful Presentations” video available to those of you who are interested in developing your PowerPoint and presentation skills (no training or consulting companies are welcome to view the training).

Click here to access the “Impactful Presentations” webinar video recording.

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