Presenters, Mike Teixeira likes to say, should make their point, powerfully and stop relying on PowerPoint.
That’s true of other presentation software as well – Keynote, Google Slides, and Prezi, according to Mike. Presentations using these software programs don’t have to be nap-inducingly dull, which is why he founded DECK.
The company, created in early April, helps presenters — be they CEOs or TED Talk participants or anyone who’s been tasked with making a presentation — use visuals and storytelling to help them connect with their audience.
PowerPoint and its similar counter parts have long been used for presentations.
They have also been long considered largely antiseptic, lacking personality and interest. That, combined with the often confusing strategies of marketing to the various audiences using social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, etc.), leaves business men and women at odds with how to present themselves in the market.
“There’s such an overwhelming flood of communications channels you can recoil from that,” said Mike.
DECK was created, he said, to address at least one component of messaging by making presentations more compelling.
“Starting with the software is what causes us to take this side tangent away from good storytelling,” said Mike. “I wanted to correct that one issue.”
A deck is the collection of slides in a presentation, thus the name DECK. Each slide, according to Mike, needs to make a single point, and they shouldn’t detract from the speaker with too much information or too much visual clutter. “I believe the slides should be like a set behind the actor,” said Mike.
Good storytelling in a presentation should include three elements, according to Mike: It addresses what the audience wants and needs to know; it has visuals that back up the speaker’s point and doesn’t get in the way of the speaker; and it brings the speaker’s personality into the presentation so that the focus is more on the individual, less on the slide. In fact, Mike says, that slides sometimes aren’t even necessary for a strong presentation.
Mike has been a part of the business and cultural scene in Portsmouth for a while, as a one time senior vice president of a local integrated communications company and as the current president of Art-Speak Portsmouth.
With Mike as president, his team at DECK includes Debbie Kane, head writer; Kyle Mooers, art director; Nancy Pearson, presentation coach; and Rusty Jones, data visualizer. Mike cited the need to be in Portsmouth and the value of the space he can access at the Cooperative Venture Workspace at 36 Maplewood Avenue.
“This is the coming together place,” said Mike. “I see the Workspace as the key to profitability for DECK and affordability for clients. There is no need for me to have the overhead that other agencies do.”
For Mike, the conference areas are ideally suited for meetings, and the rooms’ built-in technology serves as rehearsal space for his clients to practice and refine their presentations with DECK team members.
Portsmouth’s vibe was also important to Mike. “I love the energy of the arts & artists, intermingling with businesses and restaurants,” he said.
He helps with that intermingling through his organizing more than seven years ago of PechaKucha Nights at 3S ArtSpace on Vaughan Street in Portsmouth. Meant for creatives, dreamers, and innovators to show and discuss their passions in a style that combines presentation and performance, PechaKucha is a presentation style in which 20 slides are shown for 20 seconds each, meant to keep presentations precise and fast paced.