Getting feedback on your sales presentations from other departments can sometimes turn into a gruelling war of attrition, requiring the wisdom of King Solomon and the diplomacy skills of Ban Ki-moon.
No, I don’t mean the comments themselves – I’ve developed a thick enough skin over the years to suffer the slings and arrows without taking anything too personally. I mean collating all the changes and maintaining version control over the document itself.
Let me conjure up an all-too-familiar scene. You send around a sales presentation, and ask the interested parties to submit their comments before the close of business. One person will email across a list of questions (trying and conspicuously failing) to disguise themselves as comments. Very helpful. Another will print off a copy (black and white of course) and scrawl all over it in red pen, leaving it on your desk when you’re not looking – just like the mysterious Milk Tray Man from the 1980s. Someone else will take the nuclear option of inserting unmissable text boxes all over the slide deck, most likely using capital letters in fuchsia pink to get their message across. It’s just a shame they are still working from last week’s version of the presentation.
The point is that everyone has his or her own approach when it comes to tracking changes. The only certainty is that if you want to hit your deadline you’ll have to adapt to all of theirs to get a finalised version signed off. But there is an easier way to ensure all the relevant changes make it into your version of the PowerPoint deck. And I guarantee you, once you’ve read our guide - "How to track changes in PowerPoint" - you’ll wonder how you ever managed without it.
You can add comments to slides, view suggestions from other people and keep track of any mark-ups they make to the document. You can even compare two versions of the same slide deck to make sure that nothing important gets lost in the process. You might not be able to change the mindset of your colleagues, but you can implement a more effective way of working that will allow you to tolerate theirs and still hit your deadlines.
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