Slidegenius, Inc.

How to Make Your First Impression Count in the Business World

You don’t get a redo with a flubbed first impression, especially in the modern business world defined by a hyper-fast pace and short attention span.

We meet new faces every day, and you can’t downplay the importance of these first impressions, especially with an important contact or a corporate presentation. Because of the pressure and importance associated with first impressions, it’s easy to become nervous or over think the situation, but paying attention to a few basic concerns about your behavior and physical appearance can help you relax and make a memorable impression.

Whether you’re meeting someone face to face or engaging a group of people, knowing what cues will cause others to form opinions about you in less than 10 seconds can be the difference between success and failure.

Physical appearance

first impression

This may seem shallow, but your physical appearance and your body language will be the two key factors in how you will first be perceived by others, and keep in mind that the bulk of the first impression will be made in seven seconds, and that impression is unlikely to ever change.

Dress with care, it’s a sign of competency and attention to detail to others, but be wary not to overdress for the occasion. That can also show incompetency–even insensitivity. Furthermore, while it’s important to show individuality, creativity, and originality through your appearance, don’t go overboard, especially in a professional setting. Find out the appropriate dress code (i.e. casual, formal) and craft your creativity within that context. Also, making sure you’re well groomed and appropriately dressed can give you the boost of confidence you need if you’re walking into a situation that may make you a little apprehensive.

Remain open, confident, and relaxed

Your body language can say a lot about your personality and attitude as well, so it’s important to give off a positive, open vibe through your gestures, posture, and body language.

Good posture and a firm handshake will show confidence and assertiveness, which are too highly valued qualities in the business world. Conversely, slouching can be a sign of lack of self esteem and low energy.

Confidence is key to being taken seriously, but appearing open and friendly can’t be undervalued. Your body should face the person you’re speaking to. To ensure the person that you’re giving them your full attention, maintain eye contact, and don’t glance at your watch, phone, or what other people in the room might be doing.

Knowing what not to do is just as important. We all have nervous habits that we begin doing unconsciously. While we may not even be aware of these habits, such as biting our fingernails, crossing and uncrossing our legs, or touching our hair and face, others are, and becoming aware of and controlling these habits is imperative in order to present yourself effectively.

While this may seem like a hefty list of things to be conscious of, the most important tip is simply to be confident, because the majority of these techniques of good-impression making are just symptoms of confidence.

Crafting Your Company Narrative: The Power of The Core Four

The business world moves lightning fast in our internet-driven environment, which often makes it a struggle to keep anyone’s attention for too long. When pitching your company’s story, you may only have minutes to entice potential clients.

The challenge here is to draw them in with an original, effective idea and a compelling story that will stand out, but at the same time, the presentation needs to be concise enough to keep the interest of potential clients.

SlideGenius uses what we’ve dubbed the “Core Four” method, where you can tell  potential clients all they need to know about a company in just four easy-to-understand slides.

As you can see, we’ve divided the four slides up very deliberately, and the Core Four slides: Who We Are, The Problem, the Solution, and The Result, can be customized and tailored to any company. Here’s how to create your Core Four to display your guaranteed success.

Who We Are

Use this to explain your company in the simplest terms possible. Simplicity is the key here. The late Apple mastermind Steve Jobs was a favorite of the Twitter-headline method, which was apparent in the presentation of each of his products. The basic idea behind this is that if you can’t compress your business or product idea into a tweet (140 characters) then it’s too complex to be presented effectively. This is apparent in some of his product descriptions, such as introducing the MacBook Air in 2008 simply as “The world’s thinnest notebook.” Or the iCloud last year as, “The iCloud stores your content and wirelessly pushes it to all your devices.”

Jobs sought to make each product or idea as simplistic and easily digestible as possible, which is an excellent strategy when presenting your business.

The Problem

This slide is vital for identifying why your business is necessary. Identify the need for your service or product and the troubles one encounters without it. If this slide isn’t strong and convincing, your business may be perceived as an unneeded luxury.

The Solution

Now that you’ve identified the problem, in SlideGenius’s case, this is that most businesses and corporations do not have the time, personnel, and expertise to create dynamic, impactful presentations, it’s time to define how your company will solve this.

This seems like a no brainer: “Duh, they’ll make great PowerPoints.” But it’s much more than this. You must explain how you will go about doing this. This may involve outlining your process, detailing your expertise, or even showcasing your professional staff. Get creative. You’ve shown there’s a problem, now you need to prove that you’re the solution.

The Result

Talk about past successes with clients. Show them tangible results–something that gives them confidence. SlideGenius simply showed the vast list of corporate clients who have successfully outsourced for a professional presentation. The impressive list of recognizable company logos should assure potential clients of SlideGenius’s reliability.

Presentation Lessons from the Fed; Intentional Vagueness & Ambiguity

“I know you think you understand what you thought I said but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.”

Ladies and gentlemen, Alan Greenspan.

In 1987, Alan Greenspan famously said this and confused the crap out of a reporter questioning him about his plans for the Federal Reserve’s position on some matter, which for the sake of this article, is no longer important. Understanding the coded financial jargon, known as “Fedspeak” (a deliberate parallel to “Newspeak” of George Orwell’s novel, “1984”), used by U.S. Federal Reserve officials, is quite the challenge.

Greenspan, much like every other Fed board chairman in history, intentionally uses this vague and ambiguous dialect to answer questions about their monetary policy. In doing this, they can prevent financial markets from overreacting to their remarks. According to Alan Greenspan, the recognized chief in “Fedspeak,” using the coded dialect involves, “purposeful obfuscation to avoid certain questions coming up, which you know you can’t answer.” Here’s an example:

The Fed originally said: “The Committee will maintain the target range for the federal funds rate at 0 to 1/4 percent and continues to anticipate that economic conditions, including low rates of resource utilization, subdued inflation trends, and stable inflation expectations, are likely to warrant exceptionally low levels for the federal funds rate for an extended period.”

The Fed’s official explanation of this “Fedspeak” phrase reads: “Extended period is conditioned on resource slack, on subdued inflation and on stable inflation expectations.”

Nevertheless, some observers think the phrase actually means something closer to: “the U.S. economy is still doing pretty poorly, and so we really have no clue as to how long the economy will take to recover enough for the Fed to start raising interest rates.”


Although “Fedspeak” may be useful in political, economic, or governmental situations, a corporate presentation should be exactly the opposite. Any presentation expert will agree with the fact that clear, concise, and tangible information is necessary for a successful and effective PowerPoint presentation.

Have a story to tell before you start creating your PowerPoint presentation. Once you can clearly define your beginning, middle and end, you are ready to begin the presentation design and sequence.

The best way to avoid ambiguity and confusion in your audience can be found in a “three-act story” structure. This structure revolves around these three questions that your audience will ask themselves:

  1. Why should I care?
  2. How will your product make my life better?
  3. What action would I need to take?

Instead of using 30 different statistics, 4 slides of technical data or long background stories, focus on simple, clear, direct language. Make your content easy to understand, easy to remember, and better yet, easy to share. Make your content into universal converter (those big bulky blocks you take on trips to Europe to charge you phone or camera) .

Your content should be universally transferable from Facebook statuses, to Tweets, to text messages. The easier it is for people to share, the more they will.

Ill leave you with Leonardo Da Vinci’s philosophy that Steve Jobs often quoted: “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”



Alkalay, Leo. “Understanding Fedspeak.eToro Blog. June 17, 2011.

Body Movement in your Presentation; How to Make it or Break it

Would you deem it appropriate for Obama to give his State of the Union address while sitting in a “chris-cross-applesauce” position? No, you would not. That is because you know that he would look childish, immature, unprofessional, and similar to how I sat in elementary school.  Body language dictates how we are perceived in any situation. On a very base, subconscious level, and this goes double when we’re in front of an audience, body language can make or break what people think of us and what we are saying in a matter of seconds. When all eyes are on you, your movements, posture and body language carry more gravity than usual, so each requires even more attention on your part.

Most studies find that verbal communication makes up less than 10 percent of all human communication, while nonverbal communication (i.e. body language, eye contact, etc.) makes up roughly 55 percent of communications. Here are a few tips to guarantee your body is portraying the message that aligns with your professional presentation.


Face your audience head on

Take a power stance: Square your shoulders to the direction of the audience and plant your feet far enough apart to be sturdy and balanced. However, if you’ve ample space when presenting, utilize it. Facing your audience head on doesn’t mean becoming a statue. Make it a deliberate point to move from point to point while you speak. This will give you a more vibrant, commanding presence that will demand attention from your audience.

Steve Jobs at an Apple presentation
Apple co-founder Steve Jobs utilizes his large floor space while remaining open to the audience.

Eye contact

Eye contact is a pivotal part of communication in Western culture. The unspoken understanding is that when a person avoids eye contact, it’s because they’re lying or nervous. When presenting, eye contact is vital in order to ensure your audience trusts the validity of what you’re saying.

A good trick is to pick out three people in the audience: one in the center of the audience, one in the left corner, and one in the right corner; Alternate between them.

Some will tell you all you need to do is pick a few spots on the back wall of the room, but the problem here is that you’re not actually connecting with anyone, and that can make the presentation feel insincere or inhuman. Eye contact is vital for making a connection with your audience.

Never underestimate the importance of good posture

Superman having great posture wearing a cape
Superman, the epitome of cape wearers and good posture, has the puffed-out chest and arched back.

An upright, open posture can signify success, confidence, honesty, positivity, vibrancy—the list is practically endless. The point is: have good posture. If you often catch yourself slouching, try standing and walking as if you were wearing a cape; that’ll give you a good idea of how you should be standing.

Posture is especially important when presenting, because it’s directly correlated to being perceived as confident. Your audience doesn’t want to listen to someone who doesn’t appear to be resolute in the message he or she is presenting.

While having a well-designed PowerPoint presentation from a PowerPoint specialist can go a long way in creating a clear, convincing professional presentation, there’s no substitute for confidence. Body language can reveal a lot about a person, and when correctly mastered, can do a great deal to ensure a lasting impression on others. The most important thing is to relax, remain open, and be comfortable in your own skin.

3 Tips for an Effective Investor Presentation

There’s nothing to it, just walk in the room full of potential investors—don’t worry about your appearance, you’re probably fine just wearing a t-shirt—and say, “My idea is great. Trust me, just fork over the dough.” That’s always worked for us.

Okay, maybe there’s a little more to it than that.

Obviously a huge amount of time and effort is required for the formation of your business model, building resources, and the plethora of other milestones before one gets in a room full of angel investors. We won’t spend time on that vital aspect of the process, instead, we’ve got a few often overlooked tips for when you’re in the room with the investors.

Know Your Audience

Walking into an angel investor presentation blind will not only diminish from your presentation, it’s a huge risk. Know the people you’ll be presenting to: their educational background, what fields they’ve worked in, what businesses they’ve been a part of. Identify the ones that you feel your pitch will resonate closely with and cater your presentation to them.

The Q&A session that will follow your presentation will play a key part in gaining the trust of potential investors. Anticipating what questions you may be asked will go a long way in putting their collective mind at ease. Predicting what questions you’ll be asked ties back to knowing your audience. Rehearse your responses to potential questions just as you would your actual presentation.

Be confident, Assertive, and Passionate

These are important qualities when giving any presentation, but especially in an investor presentation, where the sell is often difficult. Presenting an assured front is imperative to show that you truly believe your pitch.

But you need to go further than just showing the likely success of your business model, you need to be passionate about your idea, about your product. Don’t forget that your investors are investing in the financial viability of your idea, not the idea itself; still, don’t underestimate the selling power of visibly caring about what you’re doing. It can go a long way in building confidence in potential investors.

Be particularly assertive with those you’ve researched and identified as likely to resonate with your idea. They deserve extra attention because of the higher probability of investing.

Prove that your idea is unique

It’s vital to identify a specific problem and your proposed solution to it (i.e. your business idea.) And remember to show, not tell. Rather than saying, “this is a unique idea and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity;” it’s much more impactful to present concrete examples and evidence showing why that’s true.

Explain why your business model will succeed where others have failed, what makes your management team distinguished and capable, and tell a compelling story. Focus on the who, what, and why.

Investor presentations may seem daunting, but if you’ve put in the adequate time and effort (and followed these tips on crafting a professional presentation) then showing the merits of your pitch should be a walk in the park.

Lessons from The Godfather: How to Make Them an Offer They Can’t Refuse

“Italians have a little joke, that the world is so hard a man must have two fathers to look after him, and that’s why they have godfathers.”

-Tom Hagen, the Godfather’s consigliore

Well in our boundless affinity for Mario Puzo’s trilogy, we’ve found that the Don’s wisdom reaches all the way into the world of presentation consulting!

It seems as though sometimes, the best advice comes from where you least expect it. Though he may not be a presentation expert, here are 4 lessons Don Corleone can teach you about making an offer your audience can’t refuse, which can be applied immediately to any corporate presentation:

  1. Have a clear message and tangible vision. Michael Corleone makes it clear that he has a plan to evolve his illicit family dealings into a completely legal and officially recognized business.  In the beginning of the second film, Michael describes this dream to Kay, his wife, claiming how “in 5 years our [his] family business will be completely legitimate.” While he never achieves this goal, the Don pushes himself and those around him in its direction throughout the three films. It’s crucial to make clear to the people you work with, or want to work with, what your goals are (quantify everything), what you want for your company in the short and long term, and what your overarching focus is on. If your presentation can say all of this, and leave your audience on the same page as you are and earn the respect and approval you deserve.
  2. Know your competition. “Never let anyone outside the family know what you are thinking.” Michael Corleone, and practically every mobster shown in the trilogy seems to know that competition in any industry is tough, and one has to think and act a very specific way in order to come out on top (or alive). Vito Corleone educates us about competition in saying, “never hate your enemies. It affects your judgment.” While presenting, it is actually a good tactic to use your competition to show how you’re different or better than they are. Don’t blatantly insult or undermine them, simply come up with rational and objective facts that support your reasoning.
  3. You’re always building your community. The Godfather is recognized for knowing not only how to do a favor, but how to ask for others to repay it. He shows us that community building and networking is a 24/7 job. Business can be made anywhere from a conference room to a birthday party, to even a flight to San Francisco. With that in mind, use your presentation to reel in new friends into your family. Know who you’re speaking in front of, what interests they might have, and most importantly, show them what unique qualities you can offer them. Also, don’t be afraid or too lazy to do a favor. After all, you might even get lucky enough to repeat Marlon Brando’s iconic statement:Someday, and that day may never come, I’ll call upon you to do a service for me.”
  4. Show decisiveness. The Godfather is both loved and feared for his decisive, and sometimes ruthless, character. Both Vito and Michael knew that protecting their family, and expanding their influence was necessary for survival and success. When circumstance called for it, both Vito and Michael were willing to kill or die for what they believed in. While you may not have to kill anyone to prove your point, it’s imperative to think logically and act quickly. Specifically to your presentation, if you’re asked a question, know the answer! Anticipate everything by practicing a lot and in front of varied audiences. Hesitation leads to regret. Additionally, don’t come off as ambiguous in any aspect of the content you present. Know your position.

While I don’t endorse crime or the mafia, it would be foolish to oversee the valuable lessons they share, applicable to all presentation designers. And finally, always remember, “Great men aren’t born great, they grow great.”  

Work Cited:

The Art of Non-Verbal Comedy: Decoding Stand-Up Comedians’ Body Language

Despite often appearing to be the least serious people on the planet, stand-up comedians have a lot to teach us about the visual aspect of presenting. Stand-up comedy blends performance art and public speaking, and these comedians must work tirelessly to perfect their presentation skills in order to not make a fool of themselves on stage.

These comedians incorporate drastic body language, visual aids and creative nonverbal communication to get their “message” across. Here are a few impressive examples that can teach anyone giving a professional presentation a lot about how to wow an audience.


Here is an excellent display of nonverbal communication by one of the most vibrant comedians around at the very start of his career. His entire joke, which lasts more than three minutes, consists of just a couple sentences wrapped up by a three-word punchline. If you take a look at our previous post discussing how to use body language to improve your presenting skills, you’ll see that the majority of how we communicate is nonverbal. Though it may seem ludicrous, Jim Carrey uses his body language as a powerful communication tool, and relies almost exclusively on it during his performance.


Creating a unique persona for yourself is a highly effective way to make a lasting impression on people you encounter. While in the business world, especially when giving a professional presentation, a positive, confident persona will most likely be the best strategy, comedian Zach Galifianakis has mastered the art of creating a whole persona–an easily recognizable character–in so subtle a way that he can seemingly stand there, say practically nothing, and have people rolling on the ground laughing.

Syncing your talking points with your presentation tool (your PowerPoint presentation) is vital in order to get your message across clearly and concisely. Dimitri Martin is a master of visual comedy, and here he is showing something very similar to a slide-by-slide presentation. Pay careful attention to Martin’s timing and momentum, especially the way he builds anticipation for the point he’s about to make.

When giving a professional presentation, we always recommend having a professionally designed PowerPoint in your arsenal. Simply showing up to the presentation with a PowerPoint presentation (no matter how good it is) will be quite enough. Knowing how to blend your talking points, body movements and your visual accompaniment is the key to a seamless presentation.

When crafting your presentation to compliment your PowerPoint–or the other way around–it’s important to practice and coordinate carefully. Think about timing, simplicity, and highlighting your key points so that they’ll make an impact on your audience.

If You Don’t Want To Spend Money On Yourself, Why Would Others?

In early 2004, when I was 19 or 20, I came up with this crazy idea to create a website where people would essentially log in to a virtual version of their real lives. People would’ve uploaded their own profiles with their own bio and interests. They’d choose to connect or not connect with other users in the network. They’d upload pictures they took on their recent trips or parties and then tag their friends. People would have been able to play games, watch videos, or read articles and then share them with the world with one simple click! I honestly think that idea could’ve changed the world like never before. The problem was that the cost to incorporate my idea was around $1000. As a student I really didn’t have much to live off of, so I decided not to go through with it.

Imagine if that was Mark Zuckerberg’s story. Imagine if he decided not to spend that initial $1000 in Facebook (or “thefacebook” as it was called back then). Zuckerberg knew that $1000 wasn’t a cost, but an investment. Knowing the difference between the two is one of the most useful tools in any business.

Investing in the way your company presents itself is one of the most tactical ploys of investment as a whole. Whether you are pitching to a client, raising capital or presenting to a group of your peers and employees, a well-crafted presentation will make your message more memorable. When people remember your name or company, they will reference you when they need expertise in your field. It really comes down to simple math: Better presentation = Increase in sales.

At SlideGenius, our presentation experts see on average over 200 PRESENTATIONS PER MONTH and have years of professional experience creating captivating PowerPoint presentations for a wide variety of clients. We can update an existing presentation or build one from scratch, leveraging your brand. We work with you to ensure that the message you want to get across to your audience is communicated as effectively as possible.

If you do’t have a professionally designed PowerPoint Presentation you’re undeniably leaving business on the table. Many sales people have reported an increase of up to 25-50% in closed sales simply by providing a highly visual presentation.

With SlideGenius custom PowerPoint development services you will immediately:

  • Enhance your reputation.
  • Increase the customer’s confidence and trust.
  • Maximize your conversion ratio.
  • Increase your sales leads.
  • Raise Capital.
  • Increase your sales volume.
  • Decrease your operating costs.
  • Get the right message across.

According to a survey by Accenture, nearly 90 percent of sales executives said that they are not as good at PowerPoint as they should be and that they would sell more products if their message was more effectively conveyed. Stop looking at enhancing your presentations as a cost, and start investing in yourself. If you don’t want to spend money on yourself, why would others?

The Many Faces of President Obama as a Public Speaker

President Barack Obama speaks at Cairo University in Cairo, Thursday, June 4, 2009. In his speech, President Obama called for a 'new beginning between the United States and Muslims', declaring that 'this cycle of suspicion and discord must end'. Official White House Photo by Chuck KennedyA great public speaker is versatile. Despite one’s personal feelings about the 44th president, it’s hard to deny Barack Obama‘s prowess as a public speaker. The ability to have his range, seamlessly transitioning from humbly grave in the face of tragedy to the lighthearted performer at the White House Correspondents Dinner is a pivotal reason for his popularity and perhaps his greatest strength as an effective leader.

The New York Observer did an excellent analysis of Obama as a public speaker in February of 2008, when he was a candidate vying for the office he now holds. Many professors interviewed about the president’s oratory skills liken him to past famous speech makers, such as John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr.

Linguist Geoff Nunberg credits much of the president’s excellent speaking skills to controlling his hand and body movements in a way that accentuates what he is saying without going overboard. Nunberg also cites Obama’s controlled, limited vocal range, which allows him to “convey passion without exhibiting it.”

Another excellent piece appeared on titled “Barack Obama: A Master Class in Public Speaking.” Writer Carmine Gallo outlines three tools Obama uses in nearly every one of his speeches that makes him one of the most effective public speakers in modern American history.


The ability to tell a compelling anecdote and have audience members feel as though they’ve been transported to an entirely different place is a very effective skill for drawing out an emotional response in those you’re presenting to. If, for instance, you’re giving an investor presentation, and you have a powerful (or even mildly interesting) personal story about how your business or idea was formulated, tell it. This can foster a strong connection with audience members or potential investors, and can help them establish a sense of trust with you.


The classic example of repetition is in Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, but Obama also incorporates this into his speeches very well. Great public speaking has a rhythm to it, and it’s often likened to songwriting. This aspect of public speaking, the art behind it, can appear abstract, but all the great speakers have this almost poetic quality to their speeches that enable their presentations to inspire.

Gestures and Voice

As stated above, Obama’s voice and movements are very controlled and deliberate. He doesn’t shy away from communicating with body language, and he frequently gets visibly emotional during speeches, but he always does so in a very meaningful manner. He appears to be a master of manipulating his mannerisms and emotions in order to elicit a response from an audience, which can take lengthy practice in speaking in public.

Personally, what impresses me about Obama as a public speaker is his ability to work a room. To read exactly how to approach each audience and to cater himself to them accordingly. This video starts near the end of his comedic speech at the 2013 correspondents dinner, where after a hilarious speech that had the whole crowd going, he abruptly transitioned to a grave, heartfelt speech about the recent Boston bombings. This stark change of pace could only be done in such a natural way by a truly deft presenter.

Using Statistics and Metaphors Effectively in Your PowerPoints

Did you know that every person recorded in history that has been able to lick their elbow has had an IQ characterized as that of a genius?  While the previous statement is a complete fabrication of my imagination, it doesn’t negate the fact that you just thought of licking your elbow to see if you were a genius.

Statistics, metaphors, pictures, videos they all make us think in very specific and useful ways. Knowing how to manage these presentational aids can be what makes your next presentation sound like if you have been taking private classes with Tony Robins.

Presentations bogged down by statistics, overwhelming data, and technical topics can send your audience dozing off in minutes, but never fear, there are a few techniques that can help you convey the true significance of what you’re presenting.

When it comes to data, simplify and get creative.

If you’re presenting your data with a table, you might as well be force feeding sleeping pills to your audience. Instead of cramming all your data on to one page, give each statistic its own page, accompany each with a visual, and present them as individual, easy-to-digest morsels. If you have a slide crammed full with numbers, chances are nobody is going to take anything away from it.

Why should we care?

Statistics can captivate when presented effectively, they just need to be framed in such a way that makes your audience understand their significance. Paint a picture that depicts their relevancy. An excellent example of this was done during the 2012 presidential race when there was much to-do over the net worth of President Obama and of Governor Romney.

Adjusting for inflation, George Washington was the United States' richest president of all time.Obama

While it was revealed that Obama was among the poorest presidents ever elected and Romney was among the most wealthy, their combined wealth didn’t even come close to that of George Washington’s, when adjusting for inflation. Framing statistics in this way helps to give life to numbers that can often be monotonous and sedating, because practical application and historical context can make them much more relatable.

Metaphors, metaphors, metaphors.

If you’ve got a tough sell or a hard point to make, a metaphor can often help paint a picture for your audience to wrap their heads around. Metaphors can evoke an emotional response, which is very desirable when presenting potentially dry information, such as an investment opportunity.

Even better, Visual metaphors

When we listen to something, only 3 percent of our brain neurons are engaged, but when we see an image, that number jumps up to 30 percent. As far as engaging an audience on a chemical level, and ensuring that they retain the information you wish to convey, a visual representation of the conclusion your presentation seeks to reach will be, literally, 10 times more effective.

What you talk about is meaningless unless you know how to express it. It all comes down to two factors: how you say it and how you show it. Whether the topic is stem cell research or peanut butter protein bars, the audience will only care based off of how you present what you are presenting.

Harness the power of these presentational aids, and you will rule the world. Not really, but you will definitely have captivated your audience.