Wanna know the best part?
All the presentation techniques and public speaking strategies in this infographic and guide are 100% actionable.
And I’ll bet a lobster roll you haven’t heard of all these before.
So if you want to improve your presentation skills and make better presentations, give me a few minutes of your time and check out this new guide. I guarantee you’ll know exactly how to build solid presentations that hook, persuade and impact — step-by-step — when we’re done.
Then let’s get started.
Presentation Tips: The Complete List
How to Make Gorgeous Presentations When You Have No Time, No Budget (And No Design Talent)
My Take on This Presentation Tips Guide
I’ve wrote this part to help you dig deeper.
Quick jump to sections:
I want tips to help me…
If you want to make better presentations, you have to get started with the basics. Here are my favorite presentation guidelines to structure polished decks that get your message across. Fast.
Here’s the thing:
If you don’t know who you’re targeting, you just can’t be build a presentation that appeals to them.
Learn as much as you can about your audience:
Where are they from?
What are their hopes, fears and dreams (HFD)?
What do they want?
How will your presentation help them get more of what they want?
Take a big piece of paper and write down your goal for this presentation. That’ll help you stay focused and remove anything that does not help towards that goal (more on that later in the post). Be as specific as possible.
I want you to write this:
I’m doing this presentation to….
Teach advanced growth hacking techniques to startup founders
Get my boss to increase next year’s marketing budget
Build a relationship with that prospect (so two years from now he wanna purchase from us)
Here’s the thing:
If you know the level of expectations of your audience, you can successfully craft content that provides value to them.
Lemme take an example:
Imagine you’re presenting Facebook’s advertising solutions to newbies. Well, you won’t be jumping into advanced CTR optimization techniques, right?
And it’s simple to explain that: your audience’s main priority is not to craft optimized ad copy. It is to understand how Facebook ads system works.
To make sure you understand what stage of the buying cycle your audience members are in, answer these questions:
Have they heard of my company / service / product / topic before?
Where is their knowledge gap (AKA what can I teach them)?
Do they have all of the information to make a decision?
What fears / anxieties could be holding them back?
Wanna know how I feel when I ask people “so what’s your presentation message?’ and they tell me things like:
“Well, I will be talking about X, Y…”?
I feel like:
Your core message is the #1 thing you want your audience to remember. Not 5, or 10. One. Single. Thing.
And it’s very important because every piece of information you’ll be putting inside your slide deck will be angled toward supporting that one thing.
Use this formula to build it:
Show these NYC-based consultants how my company can help them get more leads.
Convince my boss to increase the marketing budget next year.
This is one of my favorite strategies for developing effective presentations. Check this out.
I want you to ask yourself:
What are the top 3-5 big reasons that will motivate my audience members to do what I want? Basically, what do I need to tell them to help me reach my goal?
Do this exercise:
[Tweet ““In God we trust, all others must bring data.””]
If you want people to trust you, back up what you’re saying with supportive points like:
data-rich points (statistics, surveys, research, charts)
Let’s take a look at this example:
Goal: get my prospect to hire our SEO services
Message: ABC company offers the best SEO services to help you increase traffic and sales
Supportive point: we’ve helped Ryan B. from XYZ consulting to triple his organic traffic in 28 days,, resulting in +25% in sales (case study)
Here are my favorite presentation structure tips:
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve met people that couldn’t explain me clearly (oh, and quickly) what their presentation was about. How are you supposed to design and deliver well something you can’t even explain, duh?
Making an elevator speech is a great way to feel confident about your presentation and help your audience understand what it’s all about QUICKLY. To do that, make sure your elevator speech is quick (less than 15 seconds, honestly) and answers this question:
Why should I listen to you?
Today, you will discover how ABC marketing can help you increase your leads acquisition.
Today, I am going to teach you the 3-step process I used to double my organic traffic in 2 months.
Set up your own checklist of the steps you wanna take to build your presentation (and reach your goal). I recommend that you also write down the estimated time needed for each step. That’ll help you keep track of the amount of time spent on each of them and be more efficient.
Here’s the 5-step process I personally use:
Don’t just jump into your presentation head first. Introduce the topic / problem / situation first.
Here’s how it goes:
Body: it distills your message and supportive points
Conclusion: focus on the outcomes of the presentation, include a specific call-to-action
Topic: a sales deck pitching SaaS project management services
Introduction: the problem behind getting all teams on the same page today
Body: why ABC company project management solutions will help you solve that problem
Conclusion: different options on the market, why our works best, how can we start working together
When structuring the content of your presentation you wanna do one thing:
Put yourself in the shoes of the audience and ask “so what?” (AKA is this relevant and crucial to support my message… or not).
Uh, lemme state that XYZ company was funded in August 1998 by Bob Smith who was…
Duh, “so what”? Nobody cares. Get rid of it.
One slide = one idea, one message, one core point.
The content of each slide must be tied to your core and sub-messages, otherwise don’t bother.
The purpose of this slide is to [ show that our sales grew by 16% this year ] The purpose of this slide is to [ demonstrate that our app features are the best in the market ]
Problem: current situation faced by your audience. Do you suffer from/Sick of being…
Relief: how it can change. It doesn’t have to be that way/there’s a solution…
Dream: your solution. Imagine if you could…how your life would be if you could…
Protagonist: climate change / tiny farmers providing food to restaurants
Conflict: how climate change affects the growing season”
Resolution: policies that should be in place + how people in other areas are mitigating the effects of climate change on local resources. Source.
Use transition slides to help your audience identify where they are in your presentation:
Headlines are catchy phrases that have one target: get your reader to keep on reading.
You’re gonna make a couple of subject lines and start filling them in. For instance, your slide is about the weight-loss problem.
Let’s start writing:
Subject 1: How to lose weight (super sucky)
Subject 2: How to lose weight effectively (meh)
Subject 3: 5 best-ever weight-loss secrets from thin people (good)
Subject 4: 3 things experts won’t tell you about weight-loss (catchy)
Select the most attention-grabbing headline when you’re done. The one that make you feel like:
“Uhhh I want to learn more about that”.
In case of doubt, get feedback from friends or colleagues.
For example, let’s say I want to figure out some good headlines for presentation services I have.
Throw in the term “presentations” into Amazon and see what comes up:
Example of headlines I can come up with:
The little-known secrets behind TED-worthy presentations.
I’ll help you design unforgettable presentations that influence, persuade and leave a memorable impression.
Use these starters:
Our powerful new seminar teaches sales reps the power of persuasion to drive people into a buying frenzy
Now you can stop worrying about your website traffic for good
Announcing the hottest new lobster roll of Paris
The concept of lenses helps you to write headlines that appeal to a specific audience. Lenses work especially well for sales presentations. There are three types of “lenses” you can instantly apply to your headlines:
“Competitive” lens: “Dominate the search results, and leave Page 2 of Google for your competitors”.
“Benefit Driven” lens: “80% faster than any other internet provider”.
“Inspirational” lens: “What if you could learn the exact system to rank a website that generates traffic, sales & Customers 24/7?”
[Tweet “Nobody cares about you, people care about what you can do for them.”]
To avoid the me-too syndrome, make sure me-too score is under 50%, but more importantly… don’t talk about you, talk about what you can do for THEM.
How will you improve their business?
How will you educate them on a specific topic they’re interested in?
How will your skills/services/products will make their life better?
Look, nobody believes hypey, empty promises.
Instead of writing:
“ABC offers the best CRM software”.
“+5,000 small businesses use our CRM software”.
If I asked you right now, “What makes your company different?”, what would you say?
80% of us would something in these lines:
“We provide premium service”
“We’re a great team of professional people”
Yeah, I like to breathe oxygen too.
“How to improve your finance quickly and claim back your freedom”.
“How to cut your expenses by 26% in the next 30 days”.
If you want to your audience to feel something, start with defining which emotions you want them to feel. Then use power words that are tied to these emotions. I teach you exactly how to do just that in this post.
Which one sounds more appealing to you:
“A program to increase your sales”.
“A step-by-step, take-you-by-the-hand 4-weeks program that helps you double your sales in 60 days”.
That’s what I thought too. Here, the power words are “step-by-step” and “take-you-by-the-hand”. Their target is to make the reader feel secured and confident.
I’ve got a question for you:
Which do you think is more persuasive, examples or statistics?
Read the following two paragraphs and decide:
Wondering why the example whets your appetite for more instead of the statistics? It’s because emotions are the key to sales. If you’re making a sales presentation, make sure you always place your money on the example.
[Tweet “Write for the ear, not the eye. Old adage.”]
There’s nothing worse than getting junk content from another me-too company that rambles on and on about how amazing they are.
On the other hand, when you read something that’s written to you – like personally – you’ll devour every word. Because you’ll want to know what’s in it for YOU.
Here’s a slide extracted from KPCB 2015 internet trends report:
To improve readers experience, I would make sure to integrate headlines that sum up the content of each slide. Like that:
Here’s why my version makes people’s life easier:
If you’re busy, you only need to read the headline to understand the main message and info of the slide. You don’t need to go though the graph to identify what KPCB wants to say. The headline makes it crystal-clear for you.
Make your audience’s life easier.
“We are ABC company and we do X, Y and Z”.
“We help smart, small businesses like yours make the most out of their marketing budget”.
You know which emotions you want them to feel at every paragraph (anger, curiosity, relief, happiness?). Learn how to identify the emotions you want to evoke + find out the perfect matching words.
79% of people scan read, rather than read every single word. Source
Prioritize and focus truly brings value to them AKA here’s what we really do that’s gonna make a meaningful impact on your life / business / sexuality / happiness.
It’s a problem.
This is important.
Here are two test paragraphs that talk about the same offer.
Read both and see which you enjoy reading most:
The more you ask your audience to think, the more likely you’ll lose them. Use shorter, easy-to-understand words that a 6th grader can get. Seriously.
Read out loud every single sentence in your deck and ask yourself:
Is it easy to understand or not?
If the answer is no, then shorten the phrase or break it down in smaller, easily understandable pieces.
Don’t do this.
Instead, express only one though in a sentence.
Use your next sentence to say the next thing.
Good PowerPoint presentation design isn’t hard, but you can’t learnt it all at the same time. Instead of learning +100 professional presentations design tips you won’t apply, stick to a few that you’ll follow thought.
Learn how (and why) to do that here.
Here’s my go-to-list of breathtaking, free-to-use photography resources for great presentation design:
[Tweet “Color accounts for 85% of the reason why someone decides to purchase a product.”]
Color sell products. Make sure the colors you chose are:
Associated with your organization (color increases brand recognition by up to 80%. Source)
Aligned with your audience’s characteristics (e.g. 76% of women prefer cool colors compared to 56% of men).
Complementary: colors opposite each other on the color wheel.
Create your winning color themes:
Looking for a professional presentation lay out design?
Look no further. Click the image to head over to the professional business template post and download your template for free.
Grab my personal favorites right here (it includes examples on how to use them).
This post shows you how to integrate icons in your presentation slides. Here are great icon resources:
Create a folder on your desktop and title it “Swipe File” Anytime you see a beautiful design or great copy, just add it to your swipe file. Set up individual folders or labels (E.g. “Great Cover Slides”, “Headlines”, etc). Pretty soon, you’ll have a repository of inspiration that you can tap into when you are working on your own presentations.
Here’s how my personal swipe file looks like:
Here are great resources for you to grab your next PowerPoint design ideas:
People are more likely to engage in a given behavior the less effort it requires (Source)
For free and creative font options, check out:
In her awesome guide book on creating great presentations, Nancy Duarte explains the principle of grid systems to design presentations like a professional designer:
There are not a hundred but one principle of design that I want you to get under your belt.
The CRAP principle: Contrast, Repetition, Alignment, Proximity.
Contrast is all about making things stand out. It can be achieved using three major tactics: manipulation of space (near / far, empty / filled), color choices (dark vs. light / cool vs. warm) and text (typography style / bold vs. narrow).
Repetition, for instance making a headline and a sub-message the same color, makes scanning your deck much easier. Repetition helps you create a cohesive look to your presentation.
Alignment. Newspapers use this to great effect. Aligning a whole bunch of elements with one another makes them scan faster. Alignment makes things easier to read.
Proximity means that things are associated with one another. Let me explain that for you: the closer things are, the more they are associated The farther they are away from one another, the less they are associated.
It’s very simple:
The more dominant element of your slide will attract the eye and get noticed first.
For each slide you design, always think, which element do I want my audience to notice FIRST?
Begin by asking yourself:
“What would I like them to remember about this data?”
“What is it I want your audience to get from your data?”
“What’s the message I want them to take away?”
Repeat your agenda AKA your deck’s plan to remind the audience of what they just got.
In the final slide confirms that the presentation is over.
[Tweet “Your audience recalls only 10 to 30% of what they hear.”]
“Two years ago, my life changed forever. My wife Kalcy and I welcomed our daughter Leila to the world”.
“Hey are you excited to be here? Are you ready to learn some stuff? Are you ready to get humped up and get excited, motivated?
If that’s you…you came to the wrong place because we’re not doing any of that today.
We’re gonna learn actual stuff, usable, in the real word.
And you’re gonna come away from here with things you can use, make money with”.
“46% of US small businesses feel they are being “sold to” instead of “spoken to” by other businesses “.
To find reliable statistics or quotes, head over to Google and try these search strings:
Use the GTS (give them something) formula to get your audience’s excited about what they’ll be able to do or know by the end of your speech:
Today, I’m going to show you how you can use conversion optimization to triple your sales in less than 6 months.
A plan makes it super easy for your audience to follow through. The point is for them to SEE where you are at in your speech , at any time.
“5 little known techniques to rock at conversion optimization”
And you’re taking about technique # 3.
They instantly know you’re at the middle of the speech
According to Harvard Business School professor Amy J.C. Cuddy, high-power poses decrease cortisol (AKA “the stress hormone”) by about 25% and increase testosterone by about 19% for both men and women.
Which means you’ll feel better (AKA more confident) JUST by adopting these poses.
To do that, make sure to stretch out, open up and make yourself taller.
Eye contact is crucial to keep you and your audience engaged:
Spend just a few seconds with each person you’re looking at
For bigger lecture halls, make sure to use an “M” or a “W” pattern to spread eye contact throughout (source).
“Human beings are drawn to movement. If you move when you speak, you’ll get people’s attention”.
Move toward the audience before making a point. Move away when you want to signal a break or a change of subject.
You can also use space to reinforce your ideas. For example, if you’re presenting three issues, talk about each of them from a different physical position”. Carole Kinsey Goman (via Forbes).
[Tweet “Pausing is to speaking as punctuation is to writing.”]
Look, pauses are super important because they reduce the overall rate of speaking, give the audience time to reflect + absorb what you’re saying and tell your listeners you are moving from one thought to the next. Here are a few tips from the presentation coach Diane Windingland:
pause before and after important/difficult words or concepts
pause after changing visual or slide
Verbal presentation skills are crucial to your success and there are two things you should do to increase engagement with your audience:
First, use the words “you” and “I” so your audience relates with what you’re telling them.
You know that feeling when… [SITUATION]. I think it’s amazing, don’t you?
You’re stuck in [PROBLEM], you’re dealing with… [PAIN POINT]… You know what? I feel your pain.
Let me be completely blunt with you, if you’re serious about [BENEFIT THEY WANT]…
Using sensory phrases while you’re presenting will help you get your audience to feel something:
Here’s the problem with reading presentations:
People KNOW you’re reading.
And as soon as they know it, the way they receive your talk will shift because your intimate connection with them will evaporates, and everything will feel a lot more formal (did I say boring?).
Since being kids, we’ve been conditioned to answer questions immediately. And that’s why we’re using filler words such as “uh”, “um”, “well”, “like”… that make us look super dumb and unprepared.
Pause, Think, Answer
The SDT (aka Show Don’t Tell) principle has one purpose: enable your audience to experience the story through action, words, senses, and feelings.
Here’s an example from Zendesk customer service software:
“For the first 5-10 minutes of a typical 50 minute lecture a student remembers a high proportion of the information presented, after which the proportion of information preserved rapidly declines. Students typically retain 70% from the first 10 minutes of lecture, and 20% from the last 10 minutes . Source.
Here are two real effective ways to rehearse your speech:
Audio record yourself to help you assess which phrases sound good and which just look weird.
Get feedback. grab a friend or a colleague and ask him: What can I improve? What’s your favorite element of the speech?
Toastmaster clubs are groups across the world dedicated to helping members improve their public speaking skills. Groups get together during lunch or after work to take turns delivering short talks on a chosen topic.
The more you present, the better you’ll be, so consider joining a Toastmaster club to become a top-notch orator. They’re literally everywhere.
Watch TED talks and then ask yourself:
Which one did I prefer? Why?
What can I learn form this speaker and apply myself when I get to speak as well?
Hope you liked and learned !
[Tweet “Presentation Tips: The Complete List (+100 Actionable Techniques)”]