The Beauty of Brevity - Are Coffee Mug Presentations Possible?


How many times in your life as an agency guy, you felt obliged to weave a 20 slider for a pitch or a review presentation – when actually what you wanted to say could be captured in about 5 slides? OR How many times as a corporate communications person you had to sit through a pitch parade with agencies telling you about what you already know…till you almost screamed “tell me what you got?!”

The slide decks get bigger if little supporting material is given out after a presentation. Just as I wouldn’t care to watch an AV that is more than 2 minutes long, a presentation (think about it as an AV where the voice is yours…live!) can never attract peak attention for more than 10 minutes (I am being generous here). So that’s all the time we got! And here’s what I would like to do

1.Start with an interpretation of the client’s brief

  • It’s not about what was given as a problem statement or wish list BUT more the agency’s interpretation of “what the key issues are for communications to tackle.”
  • I would ensure that, this is distinct from the Brief that is more from a corporate/business/brand challenge perspective. The communications issues we derive must simply be a byproduct of it.
  • This allows me to get rid of the utterly similar “objectives” slide

2. Highlight the roadblocks

  • I would showcase the research/study findings – BUT just the highlights
  • I would hand out the detailed copy at this stage (a well written 2 page note on the customer, media or competition survey done for the purposes of this presentation)
  • I would speak in detail on the carefully crafted 2-3 bullet points that captures key trends trends to leverage or to combat

3. Bring out the strategy strongly

  • Unveil the recommended communications Theme
  • Explain the broad tactics  - for media or non-media outreach

4. Talk about the tools 

  • Dedicate at least 3 slides showcasing what I will do in each media channel – what will be the key approach - each followed by a distinct action point
  •  This is not the place for a detailed media plan – a separate document with the ideas and media channels can be discussed in the post presentation discussions

For me it works to assume 3 key things

  1. They already know their business and their problems better than anyone else
  2. They have heard many similar things over the day
  3. They will make a decision based on the unique and hardworking ideas they hear from a prospective partner- so it’ really important to get to the solutions immediately


The crux of what one wants to Say or 'Sell' should be over by the time they order the customary Cups of Coffee in the beginning and by the time they are served and finished!!