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Make Your Sales Presentation a Spreadsheet-Free Zone

We’ve previously discussed how to include numbers in your sales presentation. Now, let’s concentrate on one of the points we made then: that spreadsheets shouldn’t be in your PowerPoint deck.

Spreadsheets don’t belong in your slides because they show a lot of information without communicating meaningfully. According to keynote speaker, Dave Paradi, spreadsheets are inefficient and confusing communication tools but are great for analyzing numbers, doing calculations, and comparing numerical information.

Here are convincing reasons to never paste spreadsheets into your slides again.

Unnecessary Numbers

It’s easy to feel that you have to include all the numbers and statistics, especially given the amount of effort it takes to gather and interpret data.

Adding more than you need will always distract instead of inform.

Don’t saturate your slides with numbers. Keep it limited to the ones that directly contribute to the story or message you’re trying to tell.

You can remove 75% of all numbers in your presentation, and your overall message’s efficiency and appeal won’t suffer, meaning you can completely do away with a spreadsheet.

Replace the Sheets

Spreadsheets are an analytical tool, not a communication tool. They are the means to the end, not the other way around.

A farmer wouldn’t open selling his crops by bragging about his tractor.

A presenter shouldn’t rely on spreadsheets to tell his story.

Don’t show them the method. Show them the results and your interpretation of the data.

Use graphs to show trends and patterns over a period of time, charts to compare different numbers, and diagrams to illustrate processes and flows.


There’s little if any reason to use spreadsheets in your deck. Given that there are alternatives to portraying and explaining numbers, turn your sales presentations into a spreadsheet-free zone.

Spreadsheets are a means to collect and interpret your data, not to organize and present your message. The next time you’re up to design a sales deck, avoid putting in an inappropriate tool that confuses instead of informs.

Need more help with your sales presentation? We have a team of presentation experts ready to assist. Call us for a free quote!



“3 Secrets to Make Numbers Interesting in Sales Presentations.” SlideGenius, Inc. 2015. Accessed May 28, 2015.
“Eliminate 75% of the Numbers.” Think Outside The Slide. 2013. Accessed May 28, 2015.
How to Illustrate Data in Financial PowerPoint Presentations.” SlideGenius, Inc. 2014. Accessed May 28, 2015.
Spreadsheets Don’t Belong on Slides.” Think Outside The Slide. 2011. Accessed May 28, 2015.

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