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Authors Message
7 Deck Rules uncovers the art and science behind creating great presentations.

The purpose of this slide deck is to help you create insightful and powerful presentations. Ideas and information are power, only if they can be conveyed. That is what a great presentation does it conveys your message effectively. 7 Deck Rules will guide you through the art and the science behind creating a great presentation. Happy decking!

The rules outlined here have evolved over the years based on work at various organizations.


The author wishes to acknowledge the inspiration taken from the Landis Template, created by Ken Landis (Deloitte), in developing 7 Deck Rules A big thank you to clients and colleagues who have helped me grow over the years (Tim Westendorf, David Hodgson, Sumit Malhotra, Jordane Elmassian and Sundeep Nehra)


What is a Deck?
Decks are documents in slide format (like this one!). Deck can be used to communicate ideas in a more informative and persuasive manner.

Document In its essence a document is communicating a message or an idea

Deck A deck is a document laid out using slides in a presentation format it helps communicate a message in a compelling and insightful way

1 2 3 4 5

Easier to read slides (instead of lengthy documents) Easier to connect with your audience Easier to structure ideas as slides are discrete objects Easier to be solution oriented and make decisions Easier to shorten the document creation process

Reasons to create documents in a Deck format


Types of Documents
Most types of documents can be created using a deck format.

Various types of documents can be written in the deck format.

Executive Summary Strategy Document Business Case

Decision Analysis
Design Document Business Document

Sales Pitch
Request for Proposal Proposal Responses

Status Report Meeting Document

White Paper Point of View Brochures

Technical Paper Thesis Research Paper

Requirements & Specs Procedures Instructions & Guides

Resume Personal Profile Personal Portfolio

We recommend all documents be built in a deck format.

See Slide 8 for Benefits


Death by Bullets
Avoid Death by Bullets. Follow 7 Deck Rules and standout.

10 Billion presentations are created every year . 95% are bad - they do not convey the intended message. Bullets do kill in this case. PowerPoint bullets that is.


Following 7 Deck rules will help you speed up the document creation process so that you can convey your message in a compelling and insightful way. Be in the Top 5%.
95% of presentations suck.

The Rules


7 Deck Rules Overview

Follow 7 rules to make compelling presentations.

Understand the Canvas Make it Sing I VII II Keep it Simple

There are 7 Rules behind the art and science of creating a great presentations.


Leverage VI a Library


Tell a Story

Follow them all to successfully convey your message.

V Focus on Composition

IV Solve a Problem


7 Deck Rules Benefits

Leverage a tested mechanism to produce excellent presentations in a short time-frame.

7 deck rules provides a methodical approach to building deliverables

It will save you time by helping you quickly build deliverables

It helps structure your ideas and information in solution oriented way.

It provides a template so you can focus on the content & not the format.

It inspires you with proven problem solving techniques.

Bottom line: It will help you convey your message in a compelling way.


Rule # I: Understand the Canvas


Rule I: Understand the Canvas

A typical slide has 6 distinct components.

The Headline is a short title describing the slide

The Lead is a brief, sharp statement summarizing the slide

The Body is the core part of the slide (also known as the Storybox)

The Company Logo is displayed for branding purposes

Page number in the middle of the slide

The Department or Project Name is displayed for branding purposes

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Rule # II: Keep it Simple

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Rule II: Keep it Simple

Simplicity is necessary to properly convey an idea.

The goal of simplicity is to emphasize the insightful and remove the distractful
Simple Powerful

Natural tension between simple and powerful, finding the right balance is the goal

Reducing complexity is in of itself complex and takes a focused approach

Reducing Complexity

Continuously Organize, Collect and Reduce content as the Deck as the deck is being built


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Rule # III: Tell a Story

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Rule III: Tell a Story Storyboarding Depicted

Storyboarding is a simple method to keep the Deck focused and coherent.

Storyboarding is the method for the creation of a storyline of a deck

A great storyline has an engaging beginning, insightful content & a clear conclusion

Its easier for the audience to understand complex concepts when explained in a storyline

In combination, the Slide Title and the Slide Lead will summarize the entire deck

The storyboard process converts brilliant, abstract ideas into a coherent storyline

How these 5 point would be storyboarded

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Rule # IV: Solve a Problem

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Rule IV: Solve a Problem

A Deck should solve a problem. A methodical approach should be taken when solving a problem.
Principle 1: Process Principle 2: Organization

A methodical process should be used to find the right viable solution, not just any solution.

Divide the problem into smaller discreet parts such that there is no overlap, no gaps.

Principle 3: Frameworks Using formal frameworks to structure your analysis will help support the conclusions reached.

Principle 4: Focus Problems can be complex typical with little effort a major part of the problem can be solved. So focus on what is important.

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Rule # V: Focus on Composition

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Rule V: Focus on Composition

Follow these 6 principles to ensure writing is informative and direct.

Principle 1: Rules

Principle 2: Language

Principle 3: Substance

Use correct grammar, punctuation & spelling Follow conventional rules

Use clear, concise and precise language Utilize ethical and inoffensive Language

Focus writing on the subject matter Align writing with the deliverable objective

Principle 4: Structure

Principle 5: Leveling & Labeling

Principle 6: Voice & Tone

Group thoughts into clusters Sequence thoughts logically

Distill your message (levels of details) Using headings to label content

Use active voice (vs. passive voice) Express ideas in positive terms

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Rule # VI: Leverage a Library

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Rule VI: Leverage a Library

Why re-invent the wheel when building deliverables? Have a library of slides handy and leverage.

Set 1: One Pager

Set 2: Objects and Models

Work bench with basic objects that are frequently used

All objects and models that can be used for visuals

Set 3: Executive Summary A standard one page executive summary template

Set 4: Frameworks and Methodologies Established frameworks and methodologies

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Rule # VII: Make it Sing

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Rule VII: Make it Sing

Function (information) and form (design) go hand in hand.

Information is power



Humans are visual creatures

Design your information so it can be conveyed in an understandable power Direct the Eyes The slide flow should be understood in a flash. To achieve this, structure the slide in a way so as to guide the viewer eyes. Choose your Colors Colors have deep meaning. Choose your colors as would choose your words carefully. Accentuate with Visuals Use creative diagrams to illustrate as simply as possible concepts, models and processes

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In Conclusion: Make a Decklaration

Get your message heard

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Conclusion 7 Deck Rules

The art and science behind creating a compelling presentations simple always follow the 7 Deck Rules.

Understand the Canvas Make it Sing I VII II Keep it Simple

Follow ALL these rules collectively to building insightful presentation, fast.


Leverage VI a Library


Tell a Story

In the time-pressed world we live who wont find this useful?

V Focus on Composition

IV Solve a Problem

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Developed and Designed by

Salahuddin Khawaja

More at
Salah has 14 years of experience, primarily in the Financial Services Industry. Before joining JP Morgan he

spent 11 years at Deloitte & Touche helping Fortune 500

clients with various types of Strategic Initiatives. He is currently is based in Hong Kong with responsibility for delivering the next generation platform for Securities Processing.

Areas of Expertise: Strategy Development, Business Transformation, System Integration, Program & Project Management, Mobile Strategy, Data Analytics, Executive Presentations Sample Clients: Bank of America, Citi , MasterCard

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