10 + 1 tips for getting a powerful presentation

  1. Base your presentation on your audience and what you want them to do, feel and/or remember afterwards. Do not base it on what you think is interesting, fun or important.
  2. Have a clear and easily remembered Main Objective!
  3. You don’t have to tell them everything for them to understand anything. Do the opposite and think “How little could I tell them and still get them to do what I want them to do?” If you feel you could talk for hours on the subject – don’t.
  4. Everything you DO tell them must be relevant, i.e. lead to the Main Objective. Say phrases like “Why am I telling you this? I tell you why…” to remind you to eliminate non-essentials.
  5. The audience will forget almost everything so be clear about what few things you want them to remember and repeat it again and again.
  6. The PPT supports YOU – not the other way around. Don’t put text on the slide that you read out loud! That’s a cardinal sin. If they can read it themselves – you shouldn’t be there.
  7. Make sure your diagrams are clean and clear by removing all non-essential objects, text, lines and numbers. If an object doesn’t support the message – it disrupts the message.
  8. Concrete examples and anecdotes are always better than text, bullets, pictures and diagrams. Stories are remembered thousands of years but facts are forgotten in a second.
  9. Nobody has ever complained about attending a too short presentation.
  10. Headings should summarize the main point of the slide in a readable sentence. Never use one word headings like “Report”, “Finance” or “Summary” because that’s just noise.
  11. Use the Structure below to guide your audience from the beginning to the very end. People’s attention span is horrifyingly short so if you let go of the structure, you risk losing them!

The structure

Title slide: A) Greet, smile and recognize the importance of the audience to the occasion. B) Tell a story that exemplifies the need for your presentation’s Main Objective. C) State the Main Objective.

Introductory slide: A) State, and show in bullets, the three (to five) things that must be done to get to the Main Objective. B) Say “This is what I’m going to talk about the coming XX minutes” while pointing to the bullets and before continuing.

Explain the three (to five) things: A) Without lots of text. B) Only with relevant facts. C) Not too much detail. D) End each explanation with a clear summary of how it supports in reaching the Main Objective. E) Repeat with each three (to five) things.

Summarize the three (to five) things: A) Show the bullets from the introductory slide, maybe expanded with key solution to each. B) End the presentation with “Now that you know the reasons why, I want you to [Main Objective].”