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Common Challenges in Tailoring Presentations—and Solutions

While inevitable, challenges in tailoring presentations are also great opportunities for growth and improvement. Whether you’re addressing a room full of experts or introducing complex topics to novices, the key lies in understanding and meeting the unique needs of your audience.

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Let’s delve into the challenges presenters face and explore solutions to enhance your presentation skills.

Understanding Your Audience

One of the primary challenges in tailoring presentations is the daunting task of understanding your audience. Each group possesses different expectations, interests, and knowledge levels.


Employ audience analysis techniques such as surveys, feedback forms, and pre-event communication. These tools enable you to gather valuable insights, allowing you to customize your presentation to meet the specific needs of your audience.

By taking the time to comprehend their expectations, you set the stage for a more impactful and tailored presentation.

Crafting Relevant Content

The heart of any presentation lies in its content—and the challenge is creating material that resonates with a diverse audience. Meeting this challenge involves customizing examples, incorporating relevant data, and employing storytelling techniques.


Tailor your content to align with the interests and backgrounds of your audience and create a connection that fosters engagement.

Simplicity and clarity should be your guiding principles, ensuring that even complex topics are accessible to all.

Addressing Technical Challenges

Technical challenges can pose significant hurdles in tailoring presentations. From unexpected glitches to compatibility issues, presenters must be prepared for anything.


Develop backup plans, conduct tech rehearsals, and familiarize yourself with presentation tools. Being adaptable in the face of unexpected technical difficulties is crucial.

Moreover, a calm and collected response can instill confidence in your audience, assuring them that you control the situation.

Maintaining Engagement

Maintaining audience engagement is an ongoing challenge in tailoring presentations. Audiences have varying attention spans, and monotony can quickly lead to disinterest.


Incorporate interactive elements, visuals, and varied presentation styles into your presentation. Keep your audience actively involved through questions, discussions, or multimedia content.

Adapt your approach to suit different learning preferences to create an environment that fosters engagement throughout the presentation.

Adapting to Different Learning Styles

Tailoring presentations becomes even more complex when considering the diverse learning styles of your audience. Challenges arise in catering to visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners simultaneously.


Incorporate a mix of elements that appeal to various learning preferences. Flexibility is key; be responsive to cues from your audience and adjust your delivery to ensure that everyone can grasp the information presented.

Handling Questions and Feedback

During a presentation, challenges in tailoring presentation often manifest in the form of unexpected questions and feedback.


Prepare for common questions, actively listen to your audience, and employ gracious response techniques. Embrace feedback as an opportunity for improvement, demonstrating a willingness to engage with your audience and address their concerns.

Integrating their input into future presentations enhances the tailored approach.

Time Management

Balancing content delivery within a limited time frame is a perpetual challenge in tailoring presentations.


Prioritizing key points, effective time allocation, and rigorous practice are essential strategies. Acknowledge potential time constraints and plan accordingly.

A well-managed presentation stays within the allotted time and leaves a lasting impact on the audience.

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Challenges in tailoring presentations are inevitable, but they are surmountable. Embrace these challenges as opportunities to refine your skills, and with each tailored presentation, you’ll become a more adept and impactful communicator.

Dos and Don’ts of Pre-Seed Pitch Deck Creation

As entrepreneurs navigate the challenging path of wooing potential investors, understanding the dos and don’ts of pre-seed pitch deck creation becomes paramount.

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Dos of Pre-Seed Pitch Deck Creation

Clarity and Conciseness

Crafting a pre-seed pitch deck demands a delicate balance between providing comprehensive information and maintaining clarity.

Investors often have limited time, and a convoluted message may result in lost opportunities. Entrepreneurs should focus on delivering a succinct narrative that communicates the problem, the solution, and the market opportunity.

Compelling Storytelling

Investors are not just interested in the features of your product or service; they want to understand the journey and the impact your solution can make.

Develop a narrative that resonates emotionally, emphasizing the problem your startup solves and the transformative potential of your solution.

Visual Appeal

Investors are inundated with pitch decks, and yours needs to stand out visually.

Utilize visuals such as charts, graphs, and images to make complex information digestible. Consistent branding and design not only make your pitch deck visually appealing but also convey a sense of professionalism.

Market Validation

Concrete evidence of market demand is a powerful persuader.

Include data points, user testimonials, and case studies to demonstrate that your product or service addresses a real need. Investors are more likely to commit if they see that others in the market are interested and satisfied.

Team Introduction

Investors invest in people as much as they invest in ideas.

Showcase your team’s strengths, expertise, and relevant experiences. Highlighting key achievements and demonstrating the cohesiveness of your team can instill confidence in potential investors.

Don’ts of Pre-Seed Pitch Deck Creation

Overwhelming Amount of Information

While it may be tempting to include every detail about your startup, resist the urge to overload your pitch deck with information.

Keep it focused and only present the most critical aspects. Investors should be able to grasp the essence of your business quickly.

Lack of Focus

A pitch deck should tell a coherent and concise story. Avoid going off on tangents or including information that doesn’t contribute to the main message.

Each slide should build upon the previous one, guiding the investor through a logical and compelling journey.

Unrealistic Financial Projections

Optimism is essential, but unrealistic financial projections can lead to skepticism. 

Ensure that your financial projections are grounded in market research and realistic assumptions. Transparency about your financial expectations builds trust with potential investors.

Ignoring the Competition

Acknowledging and addressing your competition head-on demonstrates a deep understanding of your market. Ignoring competitors can signal naivety or a lack of awareness.

Clearly define what sets your startup apart and why investors should choose your solution over others.

Neglecting the Ask

Clearly state your funding requirements and how the investment will be utilized. 

Failing to specify the ask can create confusion and result in missed opportunities. Be transparent about your financial needs and the milestones you plan to achieve with the funding.

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In the competitive startup fundraising landscape, a well-crafted pre-seed pitch deck is your ticket to capturing investor attention. By adhering to the dos and don’ts of pre-seed pitch deck creation, entrepreneurs can significantly enhance their chances of securing the funding needed to propel their ventures forward.

How to Write a Teaser Pitch Deck that Captivates

To write a teaser pitch deck, entrepreneurs must carefully balance brevity and impact, creating a narrative that captures attention and leaves a lasting impression.

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Know Your Audience

To write a teaser pitch deck that resonates with your audience, you must understand your audience.

Tailor your message to resonate with the specific interests, preferences, and expectations of potential investors. Research their investment portfolio, previous investments, and areas of expertise to align your pitch with their interests.

A targeted approach increases the chances of grabbing their attention from the start.

Emphasize Clarity in the Executive Summary

The executive summary is the teaser’s focal point, and clarity is paramount.

In a few concise sentences, clearly articulate your company’s mission, unique value proposition, and the problem it solves. Investors should grasp the essence of your venture effortlessly.

Avoid industry jargon or overly technical language—simplicity and clarity are your allies.

Showcase a Compelling Market Opportunity

Paint a vivid picture of the market opportunity your venture addresses.

Clearly define the target market, emphasize its growth potential, and highlight relevant trends. Investors want to see that you have a deep understanding of the market dynamics and can capitalize on emerging opportunities.

Moreover, use compelling data points and insights to support your claims.

Define the Problem and Present the Solution

Craft a succinct narrative around the problem your product or service solves.

Articulate the pain points your target audience faces, setting the stage for introducing your innovative solution. Focus on the uniqueness and effectiveness of your product, highlighting its potential to address the identified problem in a way that competitors don’t.

Showcase Traction and Milestones

Investors are drawn to ventures with a proven track record. Thus, showcase key milestones and achievements.

Highlight user growth, customer acquisitions, partnerships, or any other notable accomplishments that validate your venture’s potential. Tangible evidence of traction builds credibility and instills confidence in investors.

Introduce Your Stellar Team

Investors invest in people as much as they invest in ideas.

Introduce your team with concise and relevant bios, emphasizing their expertise and experience. Showcase how the team’s skills align with the challenges your venture faces. A strong, capable team is a reassuring factor for potential investors, demonstrating that your venture is well-positioned for success.

Craft an Engaging Narrative

Storytelling is a powerful tool for capturing and retaining attention. Use it to write a pitch deck that captures your audience’s attention.

Develop a narrative that communicates facts and creates an emotional connection. Share the journey of your venture, emphasizing key turning points, challenges, and triumphs.

A compelling story adds a memorable and relatable dimension to your pitch.

Pay Attention to Design and Visual Elements

The visual appeal of your teaser pitch deck is a silent influencer.

Choose a clean, professional layout, incorporating engaging visuals and graphics. Consistent branding, with colors and fonts aligned with your company’s image, adds a polished touch.

A well-designed deck enhances readability and leaves a positive impression.

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Follow these guidelines to write a teaser pitch deck that captivates investors, creating opportunities for your venture to thrive.

Tips for a Persuasive How It Works Slide

A persuasive How It Works Slide acts as a tool for demystifying complex concepts and engaging the audience.

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Here are some tips for crafting a power-packed How it Works Slide that leaves a lasting impact on your audience.

Understanding Your Audience

Before delving into the design and content creation process, take a moment to understand your audience.

Identify your audience’s needs, preferences, and pain points, aligning your How It Works Slide with their mindset.

Simplifying Complex Concepts

Effective communication hinges on breaking down complex ideas into easily digestible chunks.

As you build a persuasive How It Works Slide, consider your audience’s familiarity with the subject matter. Adjust the level of detail accordingly, utilizing visual aids such as charts or diagrams to enhance understanding.

Learn how to strike the perfect balance between simplicity and accuracy to create a persuasive How It Works Slide that speaks to your audience.

Storytelling Techniques

Humans are naturally drawn to stories, making storytelling a powerful technique in building a persuasive How It Works Slide.

Craft a narrative structure that guides your audience through the process, engaging them with relatable scenarios. Incorporate real-world examples to illustrate key points, transforming your presentation into a compelling story.

Use storytelling to make your How It Works Slide informative and captivating.

Visual Design and Layout

Captivate your audience at first glance with a visually appealing How It Works Slide. 

Choose a design that aligns with your brand identity, and thoughtfully use colors, fonts, and imagery to enhance the overall aesthetic. Establish a clear visual hierarchy, ensuring your How It Works Slide conveys information effectively.

Furthermore, elevate your design skills to create a presentation that informs and makes a lasting impression.

Clear and Concise Messaging

Conciseness improves persuasion when it comes to a How It Works Slide.

Craft compelling headlines and subheadings to guide your audience through the content. Use concise and impactful language, avoiding unnecessary jargon that might confuse your audience.

Ensure comprehensible messaging with every word serving a purpose to make your How It Works Slide effective.

Incorporating Social Proof

Build credibility and trust by seamlessly incorporating social proof into your How It Works Slide.

Showcase success stories, testimonials, or positive results associated with your product or service. Weave social proof into your narrative to enhance your presentation’s persuasiveness, reassuring your audience that your solution has proven benefits.

Explore strategies for incorporating social proof into your How It Works Slide to establish trust and credibility.

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Craft a persuasive How It Works Slide to stand out and ensure you influence your audience’s decision.

What Not to Do When Presenting Funding History

Presenting funding history can make or break potential partnerships. Let’s delve into the often-overlooked pitfalls entrepreneurs face when presenting their funding history and learn why steering clear of them contributes to successful investment presentations.

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Here are the mistakes to avoid when presenting funding history.

Lack of Transparency

Some companies choose to hide unsuccessful funding rounds, presenting a skewed version of their financial journey.

Investors appreciate honesty and a clear depiction of the highs and lows. Thus, failing to disclose the terms and conditions of funding rounds can lead to misunderstandings and erode trust.

Inconsistent Data Presentation

Inconsistencies in financial figures and misalignments with previous public statements can cast doubt on a company’s integrity.

Investors rely on accurate and consistent information to make informed decisions. Any discrepancies may lead to questions about the reliability of the data presented, potentially jeopardizing the funding process.

Neglecting the Storytelling Element

Numbers alone don’t tell the complete story. Neglecting the storytelling element in your funding history presentation can leave investors uninspired.

Overemphasizing financial metrics while ignoring the broader narrative of how funding has fueled business growth can result in a lackluster presentation. 

Companies should aim to strike a balance, illustrating not just the financial aspects but also the journey, challenges, and triumphs.

Overpromising and Underdelivering

Setting unrealistic expectations can lead to disappointment and erode investor confidence.

Companies often fall into the trap of overpromising during funding presentations, painting an overly optimistic picture of future achievements. Failing to subsequently demonstrate milestone achievements can have lasting repercussions, affecting future funding opportunities and tarnishing the company’s reputation.

Lack of Contextualization

Presenting funding history without providing adequate context can leave investors confused.

Companies should take the time to explain the purpose of each funding round, detailing how the capital was utilized to drive specific aspects of business growth. Without this context, investors may struggle to grasp the strategic significance of past funding events.

Ignoring Investor Concerns

Failing to address potential red flags or dismissing investor inquiries during the presentation is a significant mistake.

Investors appreciate transparency and openness to discussions. Ignoring concerns may create a sense of distrust and make it challenging to establish a healthy investor-company relationship.

Poor Timing of Information Release

Delayed disclosures of funding rounds or untimely updates on business milestones can create uncertainty.

Investors want to stay informed in real-time; delays in sharing crucial information may lead to missed opportunities or a lack of investor confidence.

Overlooking Competitive Landscape

Neglecting to highlight competitive advantages or underestimating the market position concerning competitors is a strategic error.

Investors need to understand how a company differentiates itself in a competitive landscape. Failing to provide this information may result in investors questioning the sustainability and growth potential of the business.

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By avoiding the mistakes outlined in this blog, companies can position themselves favorably in the eyes of investors, fostering trust and increasing the likelihood of securing future funding.

Why Raising Funds Without a Pitch Deck Can Backfire

Some startups think that raising funds without a pitch deck is acceptable. However, there are risks associated with the absence of a well-crafted investor presentation.

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Here are some potential consequences of raising funds without a pitch deck.

Lack of Clarity and Structure

Startups are often fueled by innovative concepts that can leave investors perplexed when not presented coherently.

The absence of a structured narrative presented through a pitch deck may hinder the understanding of the company’s mission and goals. It can make or break a potential investment.

Consider a startup with groundbreaking technology but unable to articulate its applications or market potential. Investors who seek clarity may turn away from seemingly convoluted opportunities, resulting in missed funding prospects for the startup.

Missed Opportunities for Storytelling

Human connection and relatability are key elements in attracting investment. 

Without a pitch deck, startups miss valuable opportunities for storytelling, an essential component that goes beyond mere data and statistics.

A compelling narrative provides investors with a glimpse into the startup’s journey, challenges, and aspirations, fostering a deeper emotional connection.

A startup without a pitch deck fails to weave a story that resonates with investors. This lack of emotional engagement can be a critical setback, as investors may gravitate towards ventures that promise returns and align with their values and beliefs.

Difficulty in Conveying Complex Ideas

In the intricate world of startups, where innovative technologies and complex business models abound, conveying these ideas becomes paramount.

A pitch deck serves as the canvas for illustrating intricate details, ensuring that potential investors can grasp the nuances of the business.

Startups raising funds without a pitch deck may struggle to present their groundbreaking technologies or sophisticated business models in a digestible format. This difficulty in communication can alienate potential investors who can’t comprehend the intricacies, resulting in missed opportunities for funding.

Reduced Credibility with Investors

Credibility is a currency that holds immense value in the world of investments.

When a startup opts to forgo a pitch deck, it risks being perceived as unprepared and lacking in professionalism. Investors, who are often inundated with investment opportunities, seek ventures that showcase dedication, thorough planning, and a serious commitment to success.

An unprepared presentation or the absence of a pitch deck can cast doubt on the startup’s credibility. This lack of confidence can dissuade investors from taking the leap, even if the underlying business concept holds promise.

Limited Ability to Differentiate from Competitors

In a saturated market, standing out is a competitive advantage.

A pitch deck showcases a startup’s strengths, advantages, and differentiators. Without it, a startup may struggle to distinguish itself from competitors vying for the same pool of investors.

Investors who seek innovation and potential market leaders are more likely to be drawn to startups that effectively communicate their distinct offerings. Failure to do so, due to the absence of a pitch deck, can relegate a startup to just another player in the market, limiting its appeal to investors.

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Startups aspiring to secure investments and propel their growth must recognize the indispensability of a well-structured pitch deck in navigating the competitive fundraising landscape. Embracing this document mitigates risks and enhances the likelihood of success in the challenging realm of startup finance.

The Consequences of an Inaccurate Funding Ask Slide

The Funding Ask Slide serves as a direct plea to investors, articulating the startup’s financial needs. However, the consequences of an inaccurate Funding Ask Slide can be profound, shaping the trajectory of the company’s growth and investor relations.

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Consequences of Inaccurate Funding Asks

Underestimating Funding Needs

Underestimating the financial requirements of a startup can be a grave error with multifaceted repercussions.

The most immediate consequence is the scarcity of resources for essential growth and development. Stunted product innovation and the inability to hire key talent become glaring issues, hindering the company’s competitive edge.

Moreover, this miscalculation results in missed market opportunities, creating a ripple effect that compromises scalability and market penetration. Operational challenges, including the struggle to meet production demands, further exacerbate the situation.

Overestimating Funding Needs

Conversely, overestimating funding needs can be equally detrimental.

The foremost impact is the loss of investor confidence, as it tarnishes the startup’s credibility and trustworthiness, making subsequent funding rounds significantly more challenging.

The potential for dilution of equity and control looms large, causing internal strife among founders and early investors.

The startup also risks wasting valuable resources through funds misallocation on unnecessary expenses, leading to an inefficient use of financial resources.

Impact on Investor Relations

The consequences of an inaccurate funding ask extend beyond immediate financial implications, significantly affecting investor relations. Trust and credibility issues arise, causing damage to the startup’s reputation.

Rebuilding investor trust becomes a Herculean task with potential long-term consequences. The strain on long-term relationships becomes evident, creating difficulties in maintaining positive investor rapport and securing ongoing support and partnerships.

The startup also faces increased scrutiny from future investors, heightening skepticism and necessitating extensive due diligence in subsequent funding rounds.

Rebuilding After Inaccuracies

Despite the severe consequences, startups have avenues for recovery post an inaccurate funding ask.

Transparent communication is required to regain investor trust. Acknowledging mistakes and outlining corrective actions demonstrate a commitment to rectification. 

Navigating subsequent funding rounds requires a strategic approach involving developing a realistic and well-supported funding plan. Leveraging past experiences can turn challenges into opportunities, strengthening the pitch and instilling confidence in investors.

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The consequences of an inaccurate Funding Ask Slide are far-reaching and impactful. Thus, as startups navigate the challenging funding landscape, they must ensure accuracy and transparency throughout their Funding Ask Slide.

Oscar Speech Sounds A Lot Like…..

Cue the famed actresses in overly expensive ball gowns. Cue the undeniably sarcastic and quirky host. Cue the applauses. It’s awards season in Hollywood.

The most prestigious, of the film awards, is of course the much anticipated Oscars. Every year The Academy nominates a few fortunate actors and actresses who are praised for their works in major motion pictures. It is a special award that every actor dreams of receiving. Only a few, however, are lucky enough to actually walk on stage and accept the gold statue themselves. After the nerve-wracking tearing of the envelope the winners are then presented on stage to deliver a speech. This speech defines their Oscar moments even as it is only done in less than two minutes.

So what can we compare an Oscar speech to?



An Elevator Pitch

Short. Simple. Sweet. And most of all, straight to the point. An elevator pitch presents a product or service in as less time as possible – usually under two minutes.

An Oscar speech follows the similar concept. It delivered quickly, with the winner wrapping up his speech of gratitude and thanks in a very small amount of time. There are a few similar adjectives that we can use to compare a successful elevator pitch (which is usually paired with a PowerPoint presentation and a well rounded Oscar speech:

1. Short

An elevator pitch, just like an Oscar speech, should be between 30 seconds to two minutes. You should impose a strict time limit to your pitches. Drawing out your pitch will make your audience become disinterested in your points and, worse, stop paying attention.

As much as possible, get your points across swiftly and avoid using fillers. Condense your content into the simplest form possible within your pitch. Your goal is to allow audience to understand and learn.



2. Memorable

Like many elevator pitches that investors and or potential clients hear daily, there are dozens of Oscar speeches going on throughout the night of the Academy Awards. A good pitch is one that is unique and becomes memorable over the other various pitches, one that stands out.

If your idea gets lost in a blur with the rest, it wasn’t a very successful one. You always remember the most unique speech of the night when you watch The Academy Awards. The same can be said for the most unique and successful pitch.

 85th Annual Academy Awards - Show

3. Passionate

An effective acceptance speech is one that is delivered with passion and pride. It simply draws you in. You can apply the same principles to an elevator pitch.

While a well-rounded Oscar speech ends with a riveting and memorable closing line, your pitch should end with a passionate power statement. When delivering a pitch, you want to present yourself to your audience as being as credible as possible. You can earn your credibility by pitching with plenty of passion.



Argetsinger, Amy. “Nine Oscar Speeches That Changed the World.” Washington Post. February 22, 2013. Accessed January 20, 2014.
Ums, Likes and You Knows: Avoiding Fillers in Your Presentation.” SlideGenius, Inc. August 21, 2013. Accessed January 20, 2014.

Olympians Can Teach Presenters a Thing or Two

Olympians are no ordinary athletes. They embody the qualities of an essential role model; an individual who represents their country and values in a positive and inspirational light. Not only are these characters unbelievably talented, but they are also a true description of a genuine champion.

With Sochi 2014 quickly approaching, Olympians from all corners of the globe will join together in Russia competing in various winter sports such as skiing, figure skating, snowboarding, and hockey. These athletes have devoted their months, and even years, to rigorous training and practice. Their hard work and dedication will soon pay off as the XXII Olympic Winter Games becomes their time to present.
Embracing the qualities that are associated with hardworking, well-respected Olympians will allow you to become a more effective presenter in the long run. Whether you’re speaking in front of a board of investors or pitching a sale to potential clients, perseverance and dedication will set you apart from the rest and allow your presentation to become effective and memorable.

There are a few questions to ask yourself before you step out on the ice or snow and present. These are the vital traits and questions Olympians from all backgrounds share in order to become gold medalists. Prior to your next PowerPoint presentation give yourself a few minutes to ask yourself these winning questions.

Have you trained adequately?

Olympians dedicate their entire lives in preparation for the big games. Long hours of training, dieting and exercise become their daily routine. A question to always ask yourself prior to your presentation is: How well prepared are you? Here are a few other guiding questions:

  • Will my audience be able to understand my main points?
  • Is this presentation marketable?
  • Does my pitch flow accordingly with my slides?

Do you have a strong will to win?

Olympians must have a passionate desire to go for the gold and win; take this mentality and apply it to your presentations. Though you may not necessarily, “win”, a gold medal you should have an aspiration to be the best, and be

Though you may not necessarily, “win”, a gold medal you should have an aspiration to be the best, and be your best. Your competition may not be visible at the time, but the audience will surely be comparing your presentation to other’s they’ve witnessed in the past.

Are you willing to accept the challenge?

Just as Olympic medalists overcome challenges during training and during the actual games, be prepared to accept any faults that may arise during your presentation. You might have a difficult question from an audience member or just a hard subject to tackle, in general, but going into the presentation with the mindset that things could, and may, go wrong will allow you to be better prepared.

You might have a difficult question from an audience member or just a hard subject to tackle, in general. But going into the presentation with the mindset that things could, and may, go wrong will allow you to be better prepared.

Are you Inspirational?

We’ve all be inspired by Olympic medalists such as, Gabby Douglas or Apolo Ohno, who’ve fearlessly decorated themselves with gold medals over the past years.

Learn from athletes like these, how can you inspire your audience? What makes your message different? What can you teach your audience? These concepts can push you in the right direction to be memorable, a concept that is crucial in presentation giving.



Sochi 2014.” Accessed January 15, 2014.
Why Your Presentation Needs to Be These 3 Words.SlideGenius, Inc. January 5, 2014. Accessed January 15, 2014.

The Similarities Between Presentations and Advertisments : Super Bowl Edition

With Super Bowl XLVIII in the near future, this brings the excitement millions of Americans will come to share on February 2, 2014, as two national football teams will go head to head in one of the most highly televised programs of the year.

Apart from the notoriety of the game itself, between the AFC and NFC champions battling it out for the esteemed title, the Super Bowl is also known for creative, humorous advertisements that air during game breaks. We can expect to see some of the most well-known brands putting their best foot forward in their most ingenious and creative commercial installments of the year.

These infamous advertisements share various similarities to what can be described as successful and effective PowerPoint presentations. Compiling a presentation that speaks to your audiences and engages them is a similar concept that should be applied to distinguishing an innovative commercial that markets and intrigues viewers. Below are a few shared examples that both successful Super Bowl commercials and presentations have in common.

super bowl 48

Emotion Plays a Part

A good presentation is one that is memorable, and a memorable presentation is one that evokes emotion. Audience members are always captivated by content that is presented with emotion, which can be done by sharing a story or moving visuals. The same concept is applicable to an effective commercial as the brand’s focus is to connect with the audience on an emotional level. After all, the purpose of an advertisement is to sell. Appealing to the consumer’s emotion can make them feel connected to your product or message and in turn, generate sales.

Convey a Message

Every presentation should have a definitive message and this should be clearly repeated throughout your PowerPoint presentation. Having too many themes or conflicting ideas will leave your audience confused: you should attempt to actually teach them something. It’s important to stay on the same page with your audience throughout the entire presentation. The same can be said for a successful commercial, a good Super Bowl advertisement conveys a great message that not only covers what product or service it’s selling but the story behind it.

Become Memorable

Everyone’s favorite Super Bowl commercials are the ones they remember. Your PowerPoint presentation is a compilation of several different components, including graphics, statistics, bullets and talking points. As the presenter, it’s your job to carefully select these in order to project the purposes and themes you want your audience to remember overall. The most memorable Super Bowl commercial of all time was the Apple 1984 Introduction of the Mac Computer. You can watch the commercial here

What’s your favorite Super Bowl commercial? Comment below and tell us why!



Apple 1984 Super Bowl Commercial Introducing Macintosh ComputerYouTube. Accessed January 10, 2014.
Met Life StadiumAccessed January 10, 2014.

Maintain Audience Attention With This One Technique

Catching someone’s attention is one thing. Keeping them interested is another.

So here’s your challenge: What can you do to maintain audience attention? It’s almost an unmanageable task due to different factors. For one, every audience member analyzes and processes information differently. This makes appealing to all types of thinkers quite a daunting task.

Another issue is that people have this aversion to sales talks, even if you are simply selling them a particular idea, not a product. So above everything, it’s imperative that your audience learns something interesting about your message instead. There is one rule of thumb that can help you make sure your presentation is above all, understandable….

Put Yourself in Their Shoes



When drafting up a presentation ask yourself this very simple question throughout the preparation of your PowerPoint. Will my points and train of thought be able to hold audience attention and keep them interested? Is this information useful to them? Is there too much content on this slide? Will they comprehend my message?

But placing yourself in the role of your audience will help guide you to think outside the box. Putting everything in their perspective, when you are outlining and creating your presentation, will not only help you cut down excess (and useless) information but also allow you to design a better PowerPoint.

Selfishness Hinders Audience Connections

While most of us subconsciously create our work in the mindset of thinking about us – think about them instead. Take this theory and apply this to your next presentation, you can practice it by going over your finished presentation and jot down notes at places you may think could use some editing and re-designing.

See if you are wholly interested throughout your PowerPoint presentation, and if your mind seems to wander at moments where information isn’t digestible or understandable. Take that into account because it is likely that your audience’s mind would wander at those exact same moments.


To maintain audience attention for a designated period of time does seem almost impossible. With breakthrough statistics categorizing the average adult attention span at a mere 5-12 minutes long, it makes sense for any professional presenter to panic. Sure, there are a few steps that you can take to enhance  your professional PowerPoint presentations. However, they don’t offer a real guarantee that you will be able to capture audience attention or make them comprehend your ideas completely.

Being able to communicate effectively is the single most important factor in presentation science, regardless of your topic or message, your audience needs to be on the same page as you.


4 Types of Audience Members You Need to Present For.SlideGenius, Inc. November 13, 2013.
Vidyarthi, Neil. “Attention Spans Have Dropped from 12 Minutes to 5 Minutes — How Social Media Is Ruining Our Minds [Infographic].SocialTimes. December 14, 2011.

Why Your Presentation Needs to be These 3 Words

Regardless the topic of your presentation, regardless the audience in front of you, regardless time allotted to you, and regardless the goal you have in mind; every single one of your presentations should be about these three words: Understandable, Memorable & Emotional.

Shape your presentation to concurrently fit these three categories, and you will be able to make millions! Not really, but you will definitely have a very effective presentation, which will lead to more sales.

Here is a Forbes’ breakdown of these three categories and the significance of each one:


Without clear and understandable slides, your professional PowerPoint presentation is practically useless. Simplicity is key when it comes to design. In aims to make your content and CTA’s clear to your audience, aim to keep your deck to ten slides and at a very maximum of 4 points per slide.

Bullet points are probably the most widely used form of delivery, but they aren’t necessarily the best. “In 2001 the iPod was “1,000 songs in your pocket.” In 2008, the MacBook Air was “The world’s thinnest notebook.” Steve Jobs always described his products in one sentence.” Bullet points can be effective because they are simple and quick, which makes them easy to understand, but nothing beats delivering your point in a conversational, one-sentence structure. Saying your point as if you were telling it to your mom, friend, or a random stranger is a great way to think of your delivery during your presentation.

Another useful way of thinking of understandability is the “Twitter Test.” If you can express your point in 140 characters or less, you’ll make your point in its simplest form, which is always the best form.


Memory’s magic number is 3! “Neuroscientists generally agree that the human mind can only consume anywhere from three to seven points in short-term, or “working memory” (This is why the phone number is only seven digits. Long ago scientists discovered if you ask people to remember eight digits, they forget just about the entire sequence of numbers). Incorporate this concept of 3 in your presentations. This can be done in a handful of creative ways: describe concepts in three words, divide your whole presentation into three parts (and say that you’re doing that), give the “three next steps,” or use the idea however you see fit. Rule-3 packaging makes things easier to understand, which in turn is more memorable.


Not all people are logical, but I can assure you that everyone is emotional. An emotional story will be more likely to reel in sales than a scientific finding. Ethical, unethical, right or wrong, it seems hearts and guts prove to be better salesmen than brains! Emotion can be presented in a multitude of useful venues. These include, but are not limited to photographs, videos, songs, colors schemes, the way you dress, the way you talk, and even the lighting in the room you present in. Everything around us can sway the way we feel in some way; large and small.  Knowing your audience well enough to the point that you can identify what will make them cry, laugh, scream, or sing can be the single most useful tool at your disposal. Be emotional in the way you talk; if you want your audience to be excited, talk as if you were excited!

To sum up, when you’re designing your next corporate presentation, or investor pitch, or just any PowerPoint presentation, make sure you can describe the deck as understandable, memorable, and emotional, and you will find yourself accomplishing whatever the deck was created to accomplish.



Gallo, Carmine. “The Three Basic Secrets of All Successful Presentations.” Forbes. February 22, 2013.

A Lesson from A Christmas Story: How to Build Your Credibility

Effectively gaining your audience’s trust is imperative in any presentation setting.  Building that sense of reliability can be fairly tricky but there are a few lessons we can takeaway from one of the greatest holiday movies and a certain little boy named Ralphie.


If you aren’t familiar with Jean Shepard’s, A Christmas Story, it’s the classic story of a boy who will do anything to get what he wants for Christmas. In Ralphie’s case, he fantasizes about the, “official Red Ryder carbine-action 200-shot range model BB rifle with a compass in the stock “, the one and only thing he wants for Christmas. Throughout the entire film, Ralphie is set on a determined quest to convince his “Old Man”, mother, teacher and Santa himself that he absolutely needs this gift, even though he could potentially “shoot his eye out with that thing”.

So what can we learn about a hopeful little boy who desperately wants a gun for Christmas? It’s simple, Ralphie was able to build credibility with his parents because in the end he got what he wanted when they surprised him with his beloved BB gun. Though his parents were well aware of the possible danger of shooting his eye out, Ralphie constantly assured them that he “would be careful”-  enabling their trust.

Here are a few suggestions to help you establish that credibility and trust from your audience when giving a PowerPoint presentation:

Ensure Strong Verbal Delivery and Body Language

Speak loud and clear: the more understandable you are to your audience, the more they can trust what you’re saying. Use effective body language as well: stand tall and don’t fidget nervously to assure them that you’re cool, calm and confident.

Teach More, Sell Less

The purpose of your presentation is to teach your audience your content- selling them goes simultaneously with this. The more your audience learns, the more they remember.

Engage Constantly

Ask questions and listen to their ideas. Effective communication goes along way with trust building: your audience can believe your ideas when you believe in their concerns.

Share Beneficial Content

Skip the fluff, even if your content is simplified—another important PowerPoint tip. Only provide your audience with information that is useful and relatable. Don’t project a ton of text and statistics that they will soon forget, less is more!

Design, Write and Look Professional

This is a three step process. You want your PowerPoint to look neat, clean and presentable so skip the over abundance of animation and bordered backgrounds. Grammar and spell check multiple times before presenting, even ask for a second pair of eyes for extra edits. And most importantly, look presentable! It’s better to be overdressed than under dressed.


These four tips will help you build trustworthiness with any audience  base. Whether you are presenting to a conference room full of people, or even just one person, you are building a reputation for yourself within that time period. From start to finish your audience is meticulously judging your words, content and overall appearance of your professional presentation. Capture their attention in a good way and establish that trust from beginning to end.

Though Ralphie may not be a great example in this case, because in the end his parents ended up being right when he almost shot his eye out, he successfully built his own credibility by convincing his parents that they could trust him.  In your next professional presentation consider these tips in order to effectively gain your audience’s trust, I double dog dare you.

How to Be the Best : Lessons from Brands that Changed the World

Netflix. GoPro. The iPod. 

What do all of them have in common? These are all original products and concepts that uniquely redefined their industries. They revolutionized the way we watch movies, listened to music and recorded the world around us.

It was pure originality that allowed these ideas to become the most popular name brand names of the era. Simplistic and innovative ideas combining together to create a one of the kind solution to certain problems. 10,000 songs in your pocket, a portable video camera, and a virtual Blockbuster.

So what can we learn from these very different products? Their ingenuity enabled them to become the most successful products and concepts in their markets and it is originality that allows you to create the most impactful PowerPoint presentation. There are a few concepts to utilize in your next presentation to create an innovative and unique PowerPoint.

Branded Templates: Market your way through every slide. Include customized branding and logos throughout your presentation, which gives each slide it’s own unique flair.

Simplicity: This concept goes hand in hand with originality. Minimalize your key points and make sure your content is easily understandable and memorable.

Creative Graphics, Visuals, and Animation: The most creatively designed PowerPoints are the most memorable presentations. Utilize impactful images, sensible animation, and visuals that will excite your audience.

In essence, creating an original PowerPoint doesn’t mean to go out of the standard boundaries of presentation etiquette. You should always have an organized outline with a beginning, middle and end that keeps your story flowing. Being unique is utilizing creativity as a supplementary component of something that is already structured.
An original presentation is not only an impressive one, but one that also shows your creative marketing strategy. Think of ways to use innovation and apply this to your content throughout your presentation. Tell a story, throw in some humor and ask questions throughout your presentations to engage your audience. Do what it takes to be different.



Putting Your Presentation before Your PowerPoint.SlideGenius. December 9, 2013.

Lessons from Social Media: Instagram

Whether it be taking picture of plane wings, an appetizing dinner or an artsy photo of your latte, Instagram has become one of the most prominent forms of social media to date. The application became so popular that it  was acquired by Facebook this past year in a hefty billion dollar deal. It may be the pure simplicity of photo sharing that draws so many users to the app, but there are certain steps one must partake in to get the perfect “Insta”. We’ve created a comparison between the steps of taking the perfect picture and creating the perfect powerpoint presentation. 

Step 1 : Picking the Perfect Angle 


The first step of taking any Instagram is getting a unique angle, just like picking a perfect (and direct) angle for your audience when creating a presentation idea. Your ideas and thoughts presented (simply) within your powerpoint should be original and one of a kind, the better the ideas the more these will resonate with your audience.


Step 2: Picking the Perfect Filter


No Instagram is complete without a perfect filter to give it a spruce of color and the same is said for sparking up your presentation. You can add character to any powerpoint slides with eye-opening graphics, videos and images, the more colorful and put together- the better!

Step 3: Picking the Appropriate Hashtag


After you’ve snapped your picture and added the perfect filer, tagging hashtags is necessary to make the Instagram complete.  The same step should be used in your final completion of your PowerPoints you should always review your finished slides to make sure all your ideas connect with each other and most importantly- make sense!

Avoiding a PowerPoint Penalty Flag

You can really use PowerPoint for just about anything…..

This past week’s story in the world of sports came from a man who submitted a PowerPoint presentation as his resume for an open coaching position for the University of North Dakota’s football team. Turns out he doesn’t quite have the standard credentials we were expecting to see. Christopher McComas, who currently works as an technician at Marshall University, made headlines this week as his application for the position went viral on the Internet. He listed out many his esteemed qualifications which included his many years of experience playing Madden and NCAA Football on his beloved Playstation.

The story of Christopher’s application became an Internet sensation. Between the lack of actual qualifications that are appropriate for a collegiate athletic position and his horribly put together powerpoint design, there are a few take aways we can learn from his errors.


Here are a few mistakes we noticed in Christopher’s presentation:

  • Formatting : Avoid using Comic Sans and boring templates, this shows a lack of effort and preparation.

  • Grammar/Spelling:  With bullet points people tend to think run on sentences are acceptable, but try to avoid this and utilize appropriate and professional language

  • Lack of Content: There is no significant or persuasive content within his presentations that supports his claim.

  • Organization:  There is no real structure – a presentation should have all three components: a title, a body and a takeaway.


Though we wish Christopher the best of luck in his attempts to coach football at the University of North Dakota, one thing we can guarantee is that this PowerPoint is less than impressive and maybe next time he should just stick to the normal resume format for his next  job application.

Full Story:

The Top 5 Major PowerPoint Mistakes

Save yourself from a PowerPoint disaster with SlideGenius’s top five list of major PowerPoint presentation no’s of the year. Avoiding these common mistakes will have you going from PowerPoint amateur to professional in a matter of minutes – creating your most impressive presentation yet.

5. Paragraphs on Slides

Having giant paragraphs on your slide will guarantee you two things: a disinterested audience that won’t remember your content. We tell stories with words and images, having a ton of paragraphs up on your slides will distract your audience from listening to your points. Too much text  also provides you with more of an opportunity to read directly off of your slides, which of course is another major presentation no. You can avoid this by using bullet points as your primary text formatting- this allows you to broadcast important information without causing your audience to fall asleep.

4. Sound Effects per Animation

Sound effects cause too much chaos during any presentation and will divert your audience’s attention,  prevent this mistake by eliminating sound with your transitions. You can easily do this by making sure you’ve clicked “none” in the sound options in the animation box.

3 Using Elementary Fonts

While we all we’ll admit to using our longtime favorites Comic Sans or Garamond Script (yes they are pretty and cute) avoid using these types of fonts within a professional presentation. Stick with the most basic and easily legible fonts available so your audience can actually read your text without wondering if that letter is a g…or maybe a y?

2. Unusual Color Choices and Palettes

Skip choosing awkward color schemes that don’t match well and could possibly distract your audience by let’s say, blinding them. Avoid unusual color combinations such as red and green that are bright and disruptive. Keep your color scheme consistent throughout your entire presentation utilizing the same two or three colors. Also, avoid using those tempting patterned or textured powerpoint themes that will cause your font to be lost in the midst of an chaotic background.

1. Avoiding T.M.I.

T.M.I or Too Much Information is the ultimate general mistake when drafting up any PowerPoint presentation. Too much text, too many slides, and too much content will backfire on transcribing your ideas to your audience. Remember that the average adult thinking span is only five to seven minutes long, so keep all information simple and short -less is more! Tips to avoid this are having time limits and slide maximums (this should be around 15 slides) so you aren’t going overboard with your presentation.
Works Cited:

Keeping Your Audience in Mind : The 4 Essential Questions to Ask Yourself

“A good teacher, like a good entertainer who first must hold his audience’s attention, then he can teach his lesson” – John Henrik Clarke

If you ask any author what questions they ask themselves before drafting up their next bestseller, chances are they’ll tell you the first and most foremost step is targeting a specific audience. Presentations are all universally based around an audience because they are the reason why presenters, present. Before you start gathering content or building an outline for your next PowerPoint presentation, you should ask yourself these essential questions first.

Who Are They?

Your first step is knowing the basic knowledge and understanding of who your audience is. These include aspects such as their size, prior knowledge, and expectations. Are you presenting to a small or large group? What kind of production are they expecting? What kind of company culture do they share? Reaching out and personally connecting with them will make all the difference.

What Do They Know?

You don’t want to be going over concepts that the audience is already aware of. Understand what they have prior knowledge of and exclude sounding redundant in your presentation by not utilizing this information. This may require a substantial amount of research, but knowing this background information will put you a step ahead in the game.

What Interests Them?

Losing your audience’s interest is the ultimate presentation backfire, keep them entertained with personalized facts and ideas that are tailored to them exclusively. Do a substantial amount of research on their current projects and incorporate this knowledge within your powerpoint slides.

What Do You Want Them To Learn?

Your takeaway is the most essential feature of your entire presentation. The most vital question (before starting any presentation) is what do you want your audience to remember most? You are the teacher giving your audience a lesson- they should learn from you and your ideas. When crafting your presentation make sure to emphasize these themes or points regularly so your audience can remember the key points first.



Sieber, Tina. “10 PowerPoint Tips for Preparing a Professional May 23, 2009.

Our Best PowerPoint Recommendations of 2013

The developing art of PowerPoint changes year by year; bringing forth new ideas that create all around better presentations. We’ve compiled our list of the most effective and beneficial tips from 2013.

Stay Consistent.

Consistency is key when it comes to your companies branding – the basic marketing should be universal throughout your entire presentation. This uniformity should include your companies logos, color, background, theme and graphic styling. The consistency will help reflect your company’s mission and philosophy by remaining constant on all platforms and this will create a recognizable brand to customers and audience members alike- which builds trust and loyalty.

Back to Basics.

You tell a story with your presentation slides,  so think of your PowerPoint as a high school essay that starts with an outline; organizing your introduction, your main points, counterpoints and conclusion. Your presentation should include all of these concepts and flow through accordingly.

Outline Smart.

Every substantial project starts somewhere and your powerpoint presentation should always start with a storyboard. This tool keeps your slides on point and helps you follow your persuasive argument throughout the entire presentation. A storyboard efficiently allows you to write all your points and ideas down prior to starting your powerpoint, which organizes your ideas effectively.

Images Speak Louder than Words.

A picture is worth a thousand words. The images that you place within your slides should be carefully chosen to fit your presentation. Another tip to consider is  to chose high quality images, look for HD or downloadable high-res images when searched on the Internet for your content, these will look much more polished on a large projector.

Adrian Dennis

Applying the Right Tools.

Utilizing effective outside tools can be used to enhance many components of your presentation slides. Touching back on a few we’ve covered in the past include beneficial support sites including, The PowerPoint FAQ that answers all your common day PowerPoint questions.

Putting Your Presentation Before Your PowerPoint

When drafting up any big presentation it’s easy to get caught up and forget about the vital questions that you should be asking yourself. With everything that is contributed to a PowerPoint presentation remember the key points you really want your audience to focus on.

A common misconception when giving any PowerPoint presentation is making your slides the focus, rather than your message- or actual verbiage. This is done by reading directly off your slides and reciting the text word for word. What most people don’t understand is that your PowerPoint is there as a supplementary piece that is used to solely enhance and elaborate your message.



While most of us have the urge to initially focus on getting all of our main points physically written onto a presentation- keep in mind that the PowerPoint slides are suppose to highlight takeaways and provide the content which is used accompany your story. The worst mistake you can make as a presenter is reading your slides word by word, which results in your audience completely losing interest and attention. Remember that, “communication is a transfer of emotion” and this becomes vital in getting your audience to understand your points and ideas.

Before you become caught up in dedicating your time to sprucing up your PowerPoint with tons of facts and fancy themed templates, understand that your speech is equally as important. Your story and words are just as significant as any statistic or graphics you have on your slides, so don’t forget to adequately prepare for your verbal content.

Your presentation is your message. It is the sole reason you even stand up in front of an audience and give PowerPoint in the first place. Be careful not to lose sight of the most significant details in any presentation preparation and make sure your message is portrayed in the most clear and effective way possible.

Works Cited:

Remapping the Self: A TEDx Talk with Erika Casriel

How does one define themselves? Why is it that we tend to think our judgements and ideas surpass those around us; and why do our emotions play a part in this? Psychology journalist Erika Casriel discusses new developments within the neuroscience field in a describing a new concept titled, “conciocenterism”, an idea she presented with TED, an organization that broadcasts “ideas worth sharing”.

SlideGenius developed her TEDx Presentation which you can watch here.

Some of Erika’s presentation ideas about this revolutionary notion of “conciocenterism” included concepts such as, instead of thinking of ourselves as the center of the universe we must challenge ourselves and see the more rational sides of our emotions and actions. Her theory challenges us to step outside ourselves and silence the illusion of the “little man inside our mind”. She provides a great analogy stating that instead of seeing ourselves as the lead actor in our life we should place ourselves within the audience position as well; therefore not letting irrational emotions and single minded judgments get the best of ourselves but to look at the bigger picture.

This idea of drifting away from egocentrism can also be tied back into giving a presentation, as you as the presenter must see both sides of the picture in order to connect with your audience by allowing them to see your inner thoughts as well.


Casriel, Erika. “Remapping the Self: Neuroscience Gets Personal.” Lecture, Navesink, January 1, 2013

Why Your Presentation Needs to Be These 3 Words.SlideGenius. January 5, 2014.

What Breaking Bad Can Teach Us about Closing a Presentation *No Spoilers!*

Breaking Bad, AMC’s hit crime drama we’ve all come to know, love, and mournfully wave goodbye too, ended two weeks ago in a (without giving too much away) justified, epic climax after five seasons of watching Walter White (A.K.A. Heisenberg) turn from sheepish high school chemistry teacher to roaring meth kingpin.

For those of you who haven’t seen BrBa to its bitter-sweet end, I won’t go into details. What I will say of it is that I was thoroughly pleased with its conclusion, but not altogether satisfied, which is exactly what a great ending should be.

Ending our presentations requires the same careful planning. The show’s infamously meticulous Executive Producer Vince Gilligan put a great amount of thought and effort into the show’s final chapter, and that’s because he knows what his audience is going to remember.

There’s a famous saying in the sports world: “You’re only as good as your last game.” From this, we can take away that we’ll be remembered for our most recent victory and defeat. Our significance is who we are today. For a TV show–and for a presentation–the finale, or the closing, will be what is most remembered.

Even if the first 90 percent of your presentation is brilliant, but the last 10 percent is a total wash, guess what they’ll remember from the presentation? The horrific ending. Fair? maybe not, but definitely the reality.

So how to make sure your audience is left with the perfect ending? Here’s a few things Breaking Bad executed flawlessly that we can work into our presentations.

Leave Your Audience Wanting More

I previously stated that Breaking Bad’s ending was fantastic, yet not entirely satisfying. This is because, to me, the show ended at its peak, which I believe is precisely what Gillian planned. The series had a great story arc that resolved all issues, but we all still wanted the show to go on.

You don’t want your audience counting the minutes until you stop talking by the time you’re on the later half of your presentation. In fact, you should end the presentation saying everything you need to say, but your audience wants to keep listening. This will not only have them leaving with a favorable impression of you, but it will keep you and your presentation on their minds, ultimately leading to your information being better retained.

Don’t leave loose ends

There’s a big difference between a show ending at its peak and one that ends open-ended and often confusingly (I’m looking at you, Lost).

Just like this confusing promotional poster, Lost's conclusion left watchers scratching their heads.
Just like this confusing promotional poster, Lost’s conclusion left watchers scratching their heads.

Make sure everything in your presentation is adequately addressed and all questions answered. Many presentations leave their audience almost more confused that when the presentation started. A great way of ensuring your audience understood what you had to say is to leave time at the end for a Q&A session. At SlideGenius, we recommend to allot an equal amount of time for your Q&A session as for your presentation.

Hammer home your message

Just like Bogdan's eyebrows, our endings
Just like Bogdan’s eyebrows, our presentation’s message in our conclusion should be apparent and unavoidable.

Breaking Bad brought it all back out of the wood works for the finale. Characters we hadn’t seen in a couple seasons come back to life to be part of this modern-day western, and the episode even opens with Walter White back in his early meth-cooking days, where he still lies to his wife about having to work late at the car wash for its egotistical owner Bogdan. Don’t just end, recap. Remind them of your key points and overall message. Ending on your last point will likely reinforce the idea that the last point is the oly thing to take away, when it’s usually just one of many that you made.

What Professional Athletes Can Teach Us about Preparing for a Winning Presentation

There’s a saying in the sports world that 90 percent of performance is mental.

This isn’t to say that all the intense physical preparation, practice, and training for the big game won’t have a huge effect on an athlete’s performance, but none of that hard work will matter without being mentally prepared for the pressures of high-level competition.

Similarly, while it’s obviously vital to practice, obtain the best professional PowerPoint possible and plan all aspects of your presentation carefully, to avoid stress and pressure affecting you at the moment of your presentation. If you’re not mentally prepared then that presentation you worked so hard to perfect might never come to fruition. Look at some of today’s top athletes, like Peyton Manning and Lebron James, prepare themselves physically and mentally before any big game and have this down to an exact science.

Visualize Success

There was a study conducted by Dr. Judd Blaslotto at the University of Chicago in which the subjects were divided into three groups. At the beginning of the study, he tested each group on how many free throws they could make.

After this, he had the first group practice free throws every day for an hour, the second group just visualized making free throws successfully for an hour, and the third group didn’t do diddly squat.

After 30 days, the groups were retested. The third group didn’t improve. The first group improved by 24 percent and the second—the ones who did nothing but sit around all day thinking about shooting free throws—they improved by 23 percent.

young boy thinking
Success can look as easy as this. Simply imagining the success of your presentation can help ensure it.

Visualizing success is imperative to that success manifesting itself. If you are continually thinking about all the terrible things that could go wrong during a speech, this negative reinforcement may result in a poor performance. However, if you make it a point in your preparation to picture yourself giving a winning presentation, studies show that this will have a discernible positive impact.

Golfing and Grace Under Pressure

When pro female golfer Inbee Park won the U.S. Female Open earlier this summer, she credited her success to two things: her experience and her mental health coach.

This reiterates the two-part recipe for success in both sports and presenting to an audience. Preparation, practice, and experience are the foundation for success, but mental toughness is the final ingredient to a winning presentation.

Champion golfer Inbee Park employs a mental health coach to help keep her cool on the course.
Champion golfer Inbee Park employs a mental health coach to help keep her cool on the course.

Many golfers now use a mental coach to learn how to embrace anxiety before a tournament in order to use it to their advantage. The right amount of anxiety can heighten our awareness and sharpen our senses. The trick is to stay on top of your anxieties, controlling them rather than letting them control you.

While obviously this post can’t do what a mental coach can, some important lessons a mental coach often provides are:

Don’t carry mistakes from the previous hole through the rest of the round. When giving a presentation, don’t let past flubs haunt you. View each presentation as a unique opportunity to prove yourself.

Deep breaths can go a long way. It will lower your heart rate and allow you to think clearly and rationally about the situation.

Enjoy yourself. When you’re having fun, you won’t be weighed down by the pressure of the situation. Realize that people just want to enjoy your speech and have fun with it.

Maintain a Positive Outlook

Psychology today analyzed endurance sports such as marathon running and found that a key part of enduring these grueling races is mental outlook. While there isn’t as much crossover between presentation and endurance sports, there is a good lesson to learn about maintaining a positive attitude in the face of unexpected challenges, which is important when things don’t go as planned during our presentations.

“The key is how people respond to the stressful conditions,” writes psychologist Jim Taylor, Ph.D. “If you have two athletes of equal ability and one sees, for example, rain and wind as a threat that scares and intimidates them and the other as a challenge that they know they can overcome, the latter athlete will be more successful.”

This guy might be enjoying the rain a little too much, but he's certainly a good example of not letting misfortunes bog you down.
This guy might be enjoying the rain a little too much, but he’s certainly a good example of not letting misfortunes bog you down.

So if there’s a technology malfunction, an unruly crowd , or any of the unforeseeable flubs that tend to arise, remember to view them not as a death sentence to your presentation, but as another challenge to overcome and prove yourself with.

Check out our Webinar for ON24 :Teaching the Importance of Simplicity



SlideGenius Founder and CEO Rick Enrico spoke last Thursday on the importance of simplicity in presentation design as a part of ON24’s very first installment of its Webinar Academy.

To view the webinar, titled, “Avoiding Information Overload: The Importance of Simplicity in Presentation Design,” do the quick, 1-minute registration here and view the entire webinar series created by ON24, a leading virtual communications company. Along with Rick’s, you’ll find several other Webinars that have a lot to teach about presenting in the digital age.


While most presentations designed by SildeGenius are given in person, the attention ON24 is giving to Webinars is indicative of a growing trend toward Internet-based presenting and how this is expanding our scope of how we can reach an audience. By viewing our webinar, you’ll see that all the key elements of an effective PowerPoint presentation are still there, but coupled with it is the ability to reach millions of people at the click of a button by creating your presentation online.

How to Think Like $5.99 and Not Like $6.00

Imagine you own a clothing store. Now you decide to begin a sale for that store. Let’s say a particular type of shorts usually costs $20 per short, but for the purposes of the sale you’re going to mark them down to $15 a piece.

There are two ways you could present that discount. The first would be as a percentage. Going from $20 to $15 would be 25% off. The second would be as an absolute number with $5 off. Which way is better?

Both discounts amount to the same final price. 25% off $20 and $5 off $20 both result in the customer paying $15 for the shorts. So both representations of the discount should have the same effect, right?

Wrong. Jonah Berger, author of Contagion, explains to us that the consumers find the 25% discount more attractive than the 5$ off. While the two discounts are the same economically, they don’t trigger the same psychological effect. One feels like a larger discount than the other.

Accordingly, the next time you’re reporting numerical information, pay attention to how you are presenting it. The way changes are represented can have a big impact on how they’re perceived.

Focus on the final number.

Like the story above, most people seemed to be more enticed by the offer when the discount number was larger. Rule of thumb would be whenever you are offering a discount under $100 display it as a percentage, and when the offer is greater than $100 display it as an absolute number. This will make sure you are always maximizing your psychological impact. Simpler is better. No one cares about a page of numbers and figures that look like the green screen display from the matrix. You need to simplify your results, and then simplify them again. Think of your raw data as a pile of freshly picked vegetables. People don’t want to eat them when they still have dirt and leave stems on them. People want a quick and painless way to stay healthy, so what do you do? You take those vegetables, clean them, cut them, put them in a blender and make a smoothie. Then you take that smoothie and turn it into a wheatgrass shot. Quick and to the point. So yes, your data should be reduced to the size of a wheatgrass shot! After all, the simpler your can represent your findings, the easier it will be for your audience to understand you, which will in turn make your call-to-action more successful.

Tell a story.

Everyone knows the best stories are the ones told with pictures, so use them. Portraying data graphically reveals patterns in the data that are hard to notice otherwise Visual depictions of data are almost universally understood without requiring knowledge of a language. It is also useful to alter your tone and speed as you approach the finding of any given graph. Much like when telling a story, the storyteller tends to get really excited toward the climax or “best part” of the story; it is not only useful but critical to draw attention to the most important features of the data.

I’ll leave you with Hans Rosling’s fascinating TED talk revolved around displaying data effectively, which you can watch here



Berger, Jonah. “Fuzzy Math: What Makes Something Seem Like A Good Deal?linkedin. August 28, 2013.

Kakutani, Michiko. “Mapping Out the Path to Viral Fame.The New York Times. February 25, 2013.

Rosling, Hans. “The Best Stats You’ve Ever February 2006.

3 Ways to Overcome Presentation Failures [Infographic]

Nobody wants to make decisions that’ll endanger not only their lives but also others’. Similarly, no presenter wants to come short of an audience’s expectations. Still, we’ve all made poor choices in the past, encountered unexpected stumbling blocks, or messed up our performances. These incidents may be humiliating, but nevertheless, the journey continues.

When faced with a difficult and life-altering decision, how do you respond? Will you look backward, or will you choose to move forward?

Presentation trainer Ellen Finklestein identifies decision-making as an important factor in presentations. You won’t be able to achieve your objectives and reach a conclusive decision without assessing the situation. So before you act, you need to analyze the current circumstances to figure out your next move.

Picture the ProblemPicture the Problem, walking dead: scared

Failures are like zombies that eat up your courage, draining your energy, and sapping away all hope. They may end up killing you from the inside out, but you shouldn’t give in to panic. You should view danger from a different perspective and overcome your nerves.

If your previous pitch has left you disappointed, it’s for you to decide whether you want to look at it positively or negatively. Problems may continue to arise if you let panic and anxiety take over. This is why you need to identify these possible challenges before you set out. With preparation, you’ll devise a solution that’ll lead you to fulfilling your goals decisively.

Once you’ve made the decision to continue, don’t get distracted by your surroundings and start focusing on what lies ahead. Drive out the negative emotions and motivate yourself with these three tips: Start psyching yourself up for your pitch minutes before you start. Do some breathing exercises and other warm-ups that will calm you down and let you collect your thoughts.

1. Gather Your Couragewalking dead: Show courage

Thinking or speaking negatively about yourself isn’t helpful. This sabotages not only your own self-esteem but also your audience’s perception of you. Positive self-talk reveals your worth and boosts your confidence. A positive outlook gives you the strength to come up with the best results despite all of the challenges you’re facing. Boost your self-esteem through positive self-talk and awareness. Redirect your attention from internal fears to your outer responsibilities. Doing so will distract you from presentation anxiety.

Remind yourself constantly that you can do all things you set your mind on.

2. Keep Movingsetting your goal

There will always be some audience members that won’t agree with your sales presentation. However, this shouldn’t discourage you from going out there and gutting it out with grit and determination. Remember, once you’re in, there’s no turning back.

Instead of thinking about where you would go wrong, focus on organizing your content’s points from the most to the least important. Then convince yourself that you can pull off a better pitch this time around. Also consider the possibility that even if you present your ideas well, disagreement between you and some of your audience will happen. Don’t shut out your critics entirely and deflect feedback that goes against your own opinions. Encourage comments, whether good or bad, to identify what areas you’re doing well in and what you need to work on. Answer any inappropriate remarks calmly without losing your cool. Ask them to expound and clarify their questions so you can come up with a better response. As the speaker, it’s your job to keep a professional and credible image throughout your presentation.

As a professional speaker, you need to stay focused to survive your pitch and avoid delaying your success. Drop what’s holding you back and face everything with courage.

3. Focus on Your Goalwalking dead: braveness, eagerness self motivated

Shake off any doubt you may still have and start concentrating on what you want to achieve. Plan ahead to avoid distracting the crowd with unnecessary and unrelated ideas during your pitch. Aside from prompting audience feedback, establish your credibility by sticking to your main points. Avoid telling unrelated anecdotes or elaborating on unnecessary information.

Failure isn’t an option. When you stumble, stand up and keep moving forward. Exert even more effort to improve your chances and excel at what you do best. Concentrate on the key reasons why you went onstage in the first place to stay on topic.

Never Give Up!walking dead: fight back

These points explain why it’s important to prepare before your presentation. Finish your deck and content a few days early so you can practice how you’ll be presenting them.

A presentation mishap can take a toll on your confidence, but don’t let it eat you up forever. Bounce back from past errors and handle yourself gracefully when facing a new pitch. Mistakes are there to help you grow, so don’t be too bent on being perfect. Even the best speakers had their slip-ups.

Your future as a presenter depends on the seed of decisions that you choose to plant now. Make a decisive effort to gather your courage,  keep moving, and focus on your goal to guide you along the way.

When failures haunt you, overpower them with positive thoughts, telling them that you’re a great and professional presenter.

Failure is a frame of mind. Don’t let it get the best of you. Check out our infographic to overcome and combat these presentation failures.

Check out and share our infographic about moving on from presentation failures!


Finkelstein, Ellen. “Using Presentations for Decision-Making.” Ellen Finkelstein,
“The Four Keys to Overcoming Negative Thinking…For Good.” Mrs. Mindfulness.

Why is Your Pitch Deck’s Use of Funds Slide Important?

Among the most crucial slides that make up a pitch is the Use of Funds Slide.

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The Use of Funds Slide goes beyond mere financial details; it serves as a strategic tool for shaping investor perceptions and building a foundation of trust and confidence.

Transparency and Accountability

The Use of Funds Slide provides a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs to showcase transparency and accountability.

By clearly outlining the intended use of capital, entrepreneurs demonstrate a commitment to open communication. In turn, the transparency builds trust among potential investors, setting the stage for a positive and collaborative partnership.

Strategic Allocation of Resources

Investors are not merely interested in how much money a startup is seeking; they want to know how that capital will be strategically deployed.

The Use of Funds Slide allows entrepreneurs to articulate their strategic vision for resource allocation.

By delineating how funds will be distributed across different business areas, entrepreneurs can align their financial strategy with overall business objectives. The alignment not only provides clarity but also assures investors that every dollar is earmarked for maximum impact.

Risk Mitigation

Entrepreneurship inherently involves risks, and investors are well aware of this fact. However, the Use of Funds Slide serves as a platform to address potential concerns and mitigate perceived risks.

By proactively illustrating how funds will be used to navigate and overcome challenges, entrepreneurs showcase a thoughtful and risk-conscious approach. This not only reassures investors but also positions the startup as a resilient and forward-thinking venture.

Long-Term Growth and Development

Beyond immediate needs, investors are keen to understand how their capital will contribute to the long-term success and growth of a company. The Use of Funds Slide is an ideal space to articulate this vision.

Entrepreneurs can showcase how the allocated funds will drive sustainable growth, development, and innovation. This forward-looking perspective helps investors see beyond the immediate funding round, aligning their interests with the company’s long-term trajectory.

Investor Understanding and Buy-In

Investors, whether seasoned venture capitalists or angel investors, come from diverse backgrounds and perspectives.

The Use of Funds Slide acts as a bridge, ensuring that the financial strategy is not only communicated clearly but also understood by a varied audience.

Crafting a compelling narrative around fund utilization not only fosters understanding but also encourages investor buy-in. It aligns their expectations with the company’s financial roadmap, fostering a sense of partnership.

Competitive Advantage

The Use of Funds Slide provides an opportunity to showcase how the allocated capital will be used to gain a competitive edge.

Whether through strategic marketing initiatives, technological advancements, or talent acquisition, the slide allows entrepreneurs to communicate how their financial strategy positions the company as a frontrunner in the industry.

Realistic Financial Projections

The Use of Funds Slide should not only outline the allocation but also present realistic financial projections.

By grounding expectations and aligning projections with industry standards and market trends, entrepreneurs build credibility. Realism in financial projections demonstrates a deep understanding of the market and instills confidence in potential investors.

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The Use of Funds Slide in a pitch deck is far more than a mere breakdown of financial details. It is a strategic narrative that, when crafted thoughtfully, can instill confidence, showcase transparency, and align investor expectations with the company’s trajectory.

Series A and Series B Pitch Decks: What’s Their Difference?

In startup funding, the journey from a promising idea to a successful business often involves multiple rounds of fundraising. Among these, Series A and Series B funding stages act as critical milestones for startups seeking to scale their operations.

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Let’s explore the distinct characteristics of Series A and Series B pitch decks, understanding how these presentations evolve to meet the shifting needs of investors as startups progress.

Series A Pitch Decks

Series A pitch decks serve as the launchpad for startups, propelling them from initial seed funding to a more robust financial standing.

These decks typically focus on painting a compelling narrative around the problem the startup aims to solve, the uniqueness of its solution, and the vast market opportunity waiting to be tapped.

Key Components

  • Problem Statement: The pain point the startup addresses.
  • Solution: The product’s or service’s introduction and how it solves the identified problem.
  • Market Opportunity: The target market’s size and growth potential.
  • Traction and Milestones: Early successes, user adoption, and key achievements.
  • Team Introduction: The core team’s introduction and each member’s expertise and capabilities.
  • Financials and Projections: The startup’s financial health and projections.

At the Series A stage, investors are not just looking at numbers; they want to be captivated by the startup’s vision. The pitch deck should tell a compelling story, emphasizing the long-term impact the startup aims to make.

Series B Pitch Decks

As startups evolve and achieve significant milestones, they often find themselves at the Series B funding stage. Series B pitch decks differ significantly from their Series A counterparts, reflecting the maturity and growth the startup has experienced.

Distinctive Features

  • Focus on Scaling: The potential for significant scaling.
  • Market Validation and Customer Acquisition: Validated market demand and strategies for customer acquisition.
  • Competitive Landscape: A comprehensive analysis of the competitive landscape and the startup’s unique positioning.
  • Expansion Plans: Expansion into new markets or product lines.
  • Updated Financials and Metrics: A more detailed and realistic financial model, incorporating the lessons learned from Series A.

While Series A is about vision and potential, Series B is about proven execution. Investors expect to see a well-established business model and tangible evidence of the startup’s ability to generate revenue.

Key Differences Between Series A and Series B Pitch Decks

Understanding the distinctions between Series A and Series B pitch decks is fundamental for entrepreneurs navigating the fundraising landscape.

These differences go beyond just the funding stage and delve into the specific expectations and requirements investors have at each phase of a startup’s development.

Funding Objectives

The primary goal of Series A funding is to prove the viability of the startup’s concept. Investors at this stage are often more focused on the idea’s potential, the market it addresses, and the team behind it.

In contrast, Series B is about scaling a proven model. Investors expect to see that the startup has successfully executed its initial plans from Series A and is now ready to take the business to the next level.

Level of Detail in Financial Projections

Financial projections in Series A pitch decks can be more high-level and speculative. Investors understand startups are still in their early stages and may lack a fully validated business model.

Series B pitch decks should offer more detailed and realistic financial projections. Investors at this stage expect to see how the startup has learned from its Series A experience and refined its financial model accordingly.

Traction and Market Validation

While traction is essential in a Series A pitch deck, investors understand that startups might have limited user numbers or revenue. The emphasis is on proving the concept and demonstrating potential market interest.

Investors in Series B want to see substantial traction and market validation, including proof of concept and evidence that there is a significant demand for the product or service. Case studies and success stories become critical components of Series B pitch decks.

Shift in Focus from Vision to Execution

Series A pitch decks often focus on the grand vision of the startup. Investors are looking for a compelling story showcasing the potential long-term impact of the business.

The focus shifts from vision to execution. Investors want to see that the startup has successfully executed its plans from Series A, demonstrating a well-established business model and the ability to generate revenue.

Inclusion of Case Studies in Series B Decks

While storytelling is crucial in Series A, case studies are not readily available. Investors are more interested in the idea’s potential and the team’s ability to bring it to fruition.

Case studies and success stories become integral in Series B pitch decks. Investors want to see real-world examples of how the startup’s product or service has made an impact, providing concrete evidence of its value proposition.

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The journey from Series A to Series B funding stages marks a significant transformation for startups. Crafting pitch decks that align with the specific expectations of each stage is essential for success.