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PowerPoint Insight: Reconsidering the No Bullet Points Rule

You’ve heard it before. It’s probably the one presentation tip that gets repeated time and again: bullet points do nothing to help you get your point across. Some bloggers have even gone as far to say that it’s actually harming your presentations. Do a quick Google search on bullet points in presentations and you will get results like these:

bullet point in presentation : search engine result page

For presentation expert Seth Godin, bullet points hold a status of notoriety. The general consensus is to get rid of them altogether and make use of images instead. While this is definitely good advice, is there still room to reconsider the value of bullet points in PowerPoint presentations?

Bullet points and death by PowerPoint

Bullet points are often cited as the main culprit for the “Death by PowerPoint” phenomena, and it’s pretty clear why. Some presenters like to bore their audiences with tiny bullet that correspond to a disproportionate amount of text. This is a scenario almost everyone has experienced, regardless of field or industry.

bullet point filled slide

Outside of presentations, bullet points are used to enumerate key information in a document. They help readers draw out and remember the most important points. On a resume, for example, a candidate will use bullet points to list down achievements or awards. And unlike most PowerPoint decks, bullet points are written in short phrases or sentences.

It seems that ‘PowerPoint death’ isn’t caused by bullet points, but by our constant misuse of them. Instead of insisting on the “no bullet points” rule, it’s better to take a step back and review the proper way to use them.

How to use bullet points properly

If you’re willing to give bullet points another shot, try these tips to make sure you’re using them correctly:

SlideGenius Homeclick PowerPoint Slide
More examples in the SlideGenius portfolio

1.) Key Points: Use bullet points to enumerate key points and important details. As the presenter, it’s your job to explain these points further to your audience. Your PowerPoint deck is a visual aid. They will list down a few key words they need to remember, but the bulk of it should be explained in your delivery.

2.) Consistency: Make sure you use the same writing style for all bullet points throughout. Be consistent in your capitalization, use of verbs, and whether to use simple sentences or phrases.

3.) 6 X 6 Guideline: Maintain a professional look to your slides by following the 6 x 6 Guideline. You should have six words per bullets and only six points per slide. While this isn’t a hard and fast rule, always aim to have slides that look neat and concise.

4.) Variety: Even if you follow these rules, your PowerPoint deck will look monotonous if you use bullet points on every slide. Add a bit of variety by integrating pictures, videos, graphs, and other visual elements. Remember that bullets are used to enumerate key information. If your content doesn’t call for that, use something else on your slides.



“Bullet Points.” Oxford Dictionaries. Accessed August 22, 2014.
Most presentations aren’t bullet proof.” Seth’s Blog. Accessed August 22, 2014.


Featured Image: s_p_a_c_e_m_a_n via Flickr

PowerPoint Tools and Tutorials for Audience Interaction

Audience interaction is important to any presentation. Audiences like to feel involved in the discussion, especially in an age where technology allows everyone a platform to share their voice. Don’t be afraid to open the proverbial floor and let your audience speak their minds. You will find that their input can take your presentations to a new level. Here are just a few PowerPoint tools and tutorials to help you out.

Add audience insight to your slides

Your former teachers can serve as a great example for audience interaction. As you go along your presentation, ask your audience a few questions here and there. But don’t stop there. Listen carefully to what they have to say and try to integrate it to your discussion. A teacher would usually write her students’ answers on the blackboard. You can do the same thing with your slides.

Step One: Go to the slide where you want to be able to add text during the presentation and head to the Developer tab. If you don’t have it enabled yet, simply click File, head to Options, and choose Customize Ribbon.

developer text box 01

Step Two: Add a Text Box to your slide by choosing developer text box 02 from the Controls group. This text box isn’t like the regular one you’d add when building your slides. This specific function will allow you to type in text even as your presentation plays.

developer text box example

Using this trick will allow you to refer back to your audience’s response. The text you input on a slide won’t disappear even if you jump to the next one.

Get comments, questions, and measure differences in opinion

It’s also important to provide a platform for your audience to share their questions and opinions. While this is an easy task for smaller presentations, it gets difficult when you’re facing a room of 50 people. Luckily, technology now allows you to breach the so-called fourth wall. You can get comments and questions from the audience without picking out each person who raises their hand.

Another way to increase audience interaction is through the use of polls. Your audience is composed of unique individuals and they will have their own viewpoints about certain things. If you want to see how diverse your audience is, or how many of them agree with your discussion, you can ask them to vote in a poll.

There are plenty of third-party PowerPoint tools that will allow your audience to conveniently take part in a fruitful discussion. These are just a few of them:

IQPolls: This tool allows you to ask your audience questions that they can immediately answer using the web browser on their mobile devices. You can ask them to simply write down their thoughts or choose from a voting scale you created. Embedding your poll to Microsoft PowerPoint is easy and you will be able to see real-time results.

audience interaction tool 01

EverySlide: This tool has similar features, but supports presentations made using Keynote and Prezi as well. All you have to do is upload  your deck to the and you will get a link that everyone in your audience can access.

audience interaction tool 03

Presentain: Aside from allowing your audience to take a poll and send in their inquiries, Presentain also allows you to utilize your phone for a number of things. Most notably, you can use it to record your presentation. You can then share the recording online and increase your audience even more.

audience interaction tool 02

SlideKlowd: This program utilizes cloud technology to allow you to conduct polls, receive questions, and even check for attendance. More importantly, it also helps you gather data so you can measure audience interaction.

audience interaction tool 04

Use related videos to enhance PowerPoint deck

Everyone loves a good show. You can keep people interested by showing a few video clips. Videos are a great way to add soft breaks in your presentation, so the people watching you won’t feel overwhelmed by the information you’re sharing. By building interest, you can guarantee that audience interaction is a sure outcome.

Here are a few more tutorials for your PowerPoint-related video needs:


What do you do to increase audience interaction in your presentations? You can utilize technology, or stick with more traditional methods. All that really matters is that you make your presentations as inclusive and discursive as possible.


Featured Image: Cydcor Offices via Flickr

Presentation Software: Adobe Voice for iPad

Thanks to Adobe’s presentation software, you can create a video pitch in just a few easy steps. In fact, you can even do it right on your iPad.

Adobe Voice for iPad is pretty straightforward. Through combining images, animations, music, and voice overs, you can easily create video presentations to be shared online. Adobe calls it a “storytelling app” that encourages people to use visuals to share their stories.

Templates and customization options

Upon opening Adobe Voice, you will be prompted to choose a template that will help give your video presentation structure. Most presenters forget to give their deck a concrete beginning, middle, and end, which just leads them to ramble through their pitch.

However, by maintaining a clear structure in your deck, your slides can prompt you as you go along.

Begin building your slides by adding icons and images from the app’s library, or from your own Camera Roll. Adobe also gives you access to licensed music that you can use for your presentations. All of this is pretty easy to do because the app’s interface is simple and user-friendly.

Voice recording

The attractive thing about Adobe Voice is the fact that you can easily add voiceovers to any of your slides. For some presentation software, this step can get quite tedious. For Adobe Voice, all you have to do is hold a button and talk into your iPad.

This makes it convenient to share video presentations that you won’t be able to guide with your physical presence. While the slides aren’t made to replace you, instances like uploading your presentation online need a deck that can stand on its own.

Online sharing

When you’re done, the app allows you to share your presentation through e-mail or social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Since the app is connected to Adobe’s Creative Cloud, you can also retrieve a link to view your presentation in any device.

All in all, Adobe’s new presentation software can be a great addition to your arsenal. Adobe Voice for iPad makes all the steps of creating a presentation easier. It gives you a template to outline your ideas and provides plenty of choices for design. Most importantly, it allows you easily distribute your video presentation for others to see.

Adobe Voice for iPad is free at the Apple store, but requires a subscription to Creative Cloud. Download the app here.


Featured Image: Adobe Voice Website

The Case for Videos in Presentations

How important are videos in presentations? In an age where 19% of online traffic comes from YouTube, it can definitely help.


videos in presentations - tips

The biggest hurdle you have to face as a presenter is engaging your audience. People are a fickle bunch, and you can never tell how your audience will react. It’s up to you make sure you’ve prepared as much as you can to keep them focused and attentive. Otherwise, your presentation will likely fall on deaf ears.

This is where videos in presentations can make a huge difference. Videos are a great format that engage both sight and hearing. Because of that, there’s plenty of opportunity to share a huge chunk of information in just a short amount of time. Think about it this way: In a novel, an author will probably spend a full chapter to introduce the setting of a story.

For a movie adaptation, this can be cut to just a few scenes. Instead of vivid and lengthy descriptions, you get to see the real thing. Considering that the average attention span lasts for only a couple of minutes, videos are an effective way to get your point across.

The Catch

Despite this advantage, videos in presentations can also prove to be harmful. As Christian Heilmann puts it, videos are very engaging. So engaging that they can become distractions. If you’re not careful, the information you’re sharing could fall to the background. In order to avoid this scenario, you have to learn how to strike a balance.

These are a few things to keep in mind about videos in presentations:

What videos to include

Keep your audience focused on your presentation by showing them videos that contribute to your discussion. In other words, videos in presentations should always drive a point and serve a purpose. You can go ahead and add funny clips in your slides, just as long as it’s connected to your overall message.

If you’re pitching a product or service, adding a video demonstration is a must. Another thing you can include are videos from your ad campaigns or content marketing strategy.

Video length

In order to stop your audience from getting too distracted by videos in presentations, use clips that are just a few minutes long. If the video you want to share is runs for more than five minutes, trim out some parts that aren’t too important to the main message.

You can use a video-editing software to cut your clips shorter. Here are a few user-friendly options for beginners:

Placement in presentation

You should also know where to place videos in presentations. It needs to come out at a strategic time so you can make the most out of it. According to brand communications expert, Carmine Gallo, videos can serve as a soft break for your presentations. Most people tend to tune out every 10 minutes or so. To reel them back in, trying placing videos after an in-depth discussion. For example, you can show a video demonstration after you explain the features of the new app you’re launching.

Videos can also serve as a good starting point. To immediately catch the attention of your audience, start with a short clip. Make sure the clip you choose has great impact, and can elicit shock or curiosity.

Engaging your audience can be a difficult task. Adding videos to your presentations can make that task easier.

To learn how you can add videos to your PowerPoint deck, read our previous tutorials: 


Featured Image: woodleywonderworks via Flickr

PowerPoint Animation Trick: Photos from Colored to Black & White

PowerPoint animations can be a good way to enhance your slides, especially if you plan to share your deck online. You’ve probably read a lot about how you shouldn’t put animations on your slide. It’s true that if you use too much, your PowerPoint deck can look sloppy and unprofessional. However, if you know how to use it the right way, you can get interesting effects.

There’s a PowerPoint animation trick you can do to generate drama or nostalgia in your slides. If it suits the topic of your online presentation, try animating a picture to slowly turn into black and white. Here’s how it would look like:

powerpoint animation sample 1


This PowerPoint animation mimics some transition effects you’d see on TV. As Ellen Finkelstein points out, you see this in the TV show NCIS. In order to add some drama to a heightened scene, a still shot would turn into black and white before fading into the next frame.

If you want the same effect for your online presentation, follow these steps:

Step One

On a blank slide, add the picture you want to use. Place it and make a copy by either hitting CTRL + C or right clicking and choosing powerpoint animation copy. Paste the duplicate image, select it, go to the Picture Tools Format tab and apply the gray scale effect under Color. If you don’t want to turn the picture into black and white, you can add a different effect. For this tutorial, I decided to give the second image a sepia tone.

powerpoint animation step 1


Step Two

Place the duplicate image directly above the original one. PowerPoint can give you grids and guide lines to make this part easier for you. To do that, just right click on the slide and choose Grid and Guides. When a dialogue box appears, choose Snap objects to grid and Snap objects to other objects.

powerpoint animation step 2

When you have the duplicate picture perfectly placed, select it, right click and choose Send to Back.

powerpoint animation step 3

Step Three

Add the PowerPoint animation to the original colored image by selecting it and going to the Animations tab. To achieve the effect we want, you need to apply only the animations illustrated using red stars, particularly Fade, Split, Wipe, Shape, Wheel, and Random Bars.

powerpoint animation step 3.1

For this tutorial, I chose the Shape effect.

When you add a PowerPoint animation, you’re given a preview of what it looks like. If it seems too fast or too slow for you, you can adjust the timing by adjusting the settings under Timing. Here, I slowed down the animation to 3 seconds.

powerpoint animation step 3.2

Step Four

You can now add text to the slide if you need to. You can also add a PowerPoint animation to the text. Just be sure you’re aware of how you want each animation to progress. If you want to change anything, just go to Reorder Animation under Timing.

powerpoint animation step 4


There you have it!

You can now work on the rest of your deck. You can use this PowerPoint animation trick in Section Headers or if you want to emphasize a point. When you’re done, don’t forget to turn your PowerPoint presentation into a video so you can share online. Go to the Slide Show tab and choose Record Slide Show. Learn the specifics by checking out a previous tutorial we made called “How to Make a Trade Show Video Loop Using PowerPoint“.

Here’s how the PowerPoint animation I made turned out:

powerpoint animation sample 2




Featured Image: Cristian Bortes via Flickr
Image used for tutorial via Death to the Stock Photo

Enhance Your Sales Presentations with the AIDA Method

Did your last sales presentation end with blank stares from the audience? If your answer is a loud and desperate ‘yes’, it’s time to consider a new strategy. Luckily, there’s a classic marketing trick that will help sustain audience engagement throughout your presentation. It’s called the AIDA method.

The AIDA method was first developed in 1898. It proves its longevity as it continues to provide an effective framework for marketing efforts. Utilize it for your next sales presentation.

What is AIDA?

AIDA is an acronym that stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action. Basically, it serves as a framework for any type of content that aims to persuade, engage, and convert readers or viewers. For presentations, you start by grabbing the attention of your audience then move to building their interest.

When that’s done, you strive to make an emotional connection. This will eventually lead to positive response.

How exactly does AIDA work? Let’s break down each component of the method to see how it can improve your sales pitch:

A – Attention

Set up your presentation by introducing the problem your product or service can solve. Be creative with your approach. You can do it by describing a hypothetical scenario your audience can relate with. You can also start with shocking statistics. If you’re feeling brave, try integrating humor through a short anecdote. Another thing you can do is to ask your audience a thought-provoking question.

I – Interest

With your audience hooked, it’s time to dig a little bit deeper. Talk about the special features of your product or service. Provide them with information that’s backed by proof. If your product allows it, give your audience a short demonstration. This is your chance to impress your audience with case studies and facts gathered through research. The key is to build a strong case.

D – Desire

This step of the AIDA method is closely related to the previous one. After you sustain interest with hard facts, you have to generate a strong emotional connection. You want your audience to realize that you have the best solution to their problems. Continue explaining the features of your product or service, but frame the discussion in a way that’s a bit more personalized for your audience. Explain the advantages of your offer, and how that could benefit them. You can also show them a video of testimonials from relatable clients and customers.

A – Action

If you were able to sustain interest and create an emotional connection, the last step of the AIDA method will be easy to accomplish. After you’ve convinced your audience that your product/service is something they need, persuade them to take action. Take inspiration from advertisers who use a sense of urgency in their commercials. For your presentation, give the audience a call to action that’s straight to the point.



What Is AIDA? Money. Accessed August 19, 2014.


Featured Image: Flazingo Photos via Flickr

Presentation Ideas from Great SlideShare Uploads

Are you currently stuck on a blank PowerPoint screen? Don’t know how to begin the daunting task of creating an engaging presentation? It’s hard to move forward when inspiration is running low, so we’ve compiled 6 SlideShare uploads that can help you out of your predicament. Try and source some great presentation ideas from this list.

Steal This Presentation by Jesse Desjardins

presentation ideas - steal this presentation
(Click image to view full presentation)

This slide show covers some useful info on presentation design. It gives a bit of insight about which colors to use for your deck, what kind of images can go with your presentation, and how to create a more interesting layout for each slide. It also includes a list of websites where you can download images and fonts. The main objective of Desjardins’ catchy post is to show that not every presentation needs to end with a Death by PowerPoint — not even yours.


Speaking Tips from Popular TED Talks by Dell

presentation ideas - tips from ted talks

The TED Conference has seen some of the best presentations in recent history. Get some presentation ideas from the techniques that make the best TED Talks stand out. The appeal of the TED talk is its inspiring and engaging speech. Audiences not only sit and listen to a speaker, they also relate to the presenter. Learn to move and inspire people with your words.


13 Steve Jobs Quotes About Design by Steve Young

presentation ideas - steve jobs design

Steve Jobs gave some of the most memorable presentations. He created a fun and engaging experience for audiences watching his product launches. What he was best known for in presentations was his ability to incorporate effective storytelling into his product pitch. Other than that, he’s a respected leader in innovating the tech industry. Learn more about his thoughts on design to inspire your own presentation.


Pixar’s 22 Rules to Phenomenal Storytelling by Gavin McMahon

presentation ideas - pixar storytelling

Pixar has been making films that are simple yet profound. If you’re feeling stuck, even after several brainstorming sessions, this can be a great source for presentation ideas. The animation company’s ability to reach out and relate to their audience through their storytelling is deeply rooted in a combination of fleshed out characters and organized narrative construction. Learn more about their storytelling technique and try applying it to your presentation content.

7 Rules of Content Marketing Design That Convert Customers by Uberflip

presentation ideas - content marketing design

Presentations can make a great addition to your content marketing strategy. In this SlideShare presentation, take note of the different design tips that can help you earn and engage a larger audience. Consistency and an engaging CTA are among the things you need to include in your design in order to get noticed.

How to Get Picked for the SlideShare Homepage by SlideShare

presentation ideas - slideshare feature

If you do decide to use presentations for content marketing, you need to upload them to a site like SlideShare. In this presentation, SlideShare offers advice to help you create eye-catching and memorable slides. The key to getting the most ‘views’ is effective PowerPoint design.


Presentation ideas still not coming to you? Keep browsing through SlideShare’s featured presentations until you find something that clicks. You can also visit our SlideShare profile for more inspiration.


Featured Image: Andrés Nieto Porras via Flickr

9 Trade Show Tips for a Flawless Outcome

Trade shows, conventions, and other similar industry events offer countless opportunities for your business. These events allow you to learn current trends in your field and outdo your competitors.

But more than that, they’re a great venue to showcase the best of your brand. As startup CEO David Adelman pointed out, a few days in an industry event allows you to achieve what could take months of cold calls and emails. To get the same results, we’ve compiled 9 trade show tips to help you out.

Pre-Show Planning

Success comes from careful planning. Our first three trade show tips will help you smooth out details before the big event.

trade show tips: planning

1.) Set your goals. Participating at trade shows is an investment, so you need to be aware of what you want to achieve. Are you looking to promote a product you’re launching? Are you hoping to meet industry professional and potential clients? List down the outcome you want to achieve and this will help guide you make decisions along the way.

2.) Do some research. Not all trade shows are created equal. Make sure the trade show you’re signing up for is the best match for your brand. Before you commit to anything, look through websites and past programs to help you determine which event matches your goals. Choose shows that can help you reach out to key decision makers to get the best ROI.

3.) Prep your team. Gather your team and have regular meetings to plan and prepare for the trade show. Trade show exhibits are a lot like presentations. Aside from the visuals, you need to be able to engage the crowd with good delivery.  This won’t happen unless all of you are on the same page. Discuss your goals and train your team long before you’re slated to attend the event.

Exhibit Set-Up

Once everything has been set in place, it’s time to prepare your visuals and display. Here are trade show tips to guide your exhibit set-up.

trade show tips: exhibit set-up

4.) Don’t be caught unaware. Get in touch with the organizers and learn the specific details about your exhibition space. Learn more about the layout and technical requirements to avoid any unpleasant surprises. You don’t want to be setting up your booth only to find out that there are no electrical outlets near your assigned space.

5.) Make a trade show loop. Aside from decorating your booth in subtle colors that match your brand logo, you should also have a trade show loop set up. Crowds at industry events won’t spend more than a few minutes in each booth. A trade show loop can quickly show those just passing by what your exhibit is about. You can use PowerPoint to make one. You can read our tutorial here or ask the help of our professional PowerPoint designers.

6.) Be organized and creative. Draw the crowd’s attention by keeping your booth organized, but with an element of fun. Your display will be easier on the eyes if you arrange your materials in levels. Place smaller items up front and larger objects at the back. Arrange your flyers and brochures in a place where people can easily reach for them. You can also display a portfolio so others can learn about your past projects. These are usual things for a trade show booth, so don’t forget to integrate something new. It’s common to offer giveaways at a booth. Most exhibitors like to give office supplies. Deviate by coming up with something more creative with a care package, or food.


Engage the crowd by giving them a pleasant experience. These trade show tips are useful for networking with prospects.

trade show tips: networking

7.) Utilize social media. Most big industry events will have a strong online presence.  Even for smaller shows, organizers will likely integrate the use of social media. If this is the case, tweet about your involvement using the trade show’s official hashtag. This will serve you two ways. You can draw attendees to your booth if they see your tweet in the event’s live feed. It will also give your followers a chance to get a glimpse of your exhibit, even if they’re far away.

8.) Make conversation.  It’s important to strike up a conversation with those visiting your booth. It doesn’t have to be too long. Chat up people who stop by your exhibit, using the opportunity to introduce others to your brand. Don’t forget to exchange business cards. You should also have some press kits prepared, just in case someone from the media stops by.

9.) Don’t forget to follow up. Connect with contacts you’ve made right after the trade show. Write an email with a personalized message. Use the opportunity to re-introduce  them to your company. Frame it in a way that relates to their own interests. Learn more about making follow-ups here.

Industry events are the perfect venue to introduce your brand to potential customers or clients. Make sure you put the best foot forward. Follow these trade show tips and you’ll meet a successful outcome.




Adelman, David. “10 Simple Tricks For Getting More Out Of Conventions And Trade Shows.” Forbes. Accessed August 18, 2014.


Featured Image: Think Geo Energy via Flickr

Improve Your Presentation Skills with Deliberate Practice

deliberate practice for presentations

Public speaking is a skill that needs to be developed. No one is born a great presenter. While some are more inclined to it than others, excellent presentation skills come from exerting constant effort. Just like musicians and athletes, there’s no shortcut to improving your presentation skills. You need to put in hard work. Luckily, Coursera co-founder and Stanford University professor Andrew Ng recently wrote about a method that could help you out. Ng calls the process Deliberate Practice.

Athletes improved their skills in this way. A gymnast, for example, would master an entire routine by focusing on individual parts first. As Ng had put it, “[it’s] hard work—you focus in every attempt, try to figure out what you’re doing wrong, and tweak your performance to make it better.”

Follow these three steps to improve your presentation skills with deliberate practice:

Step One: Select a 60-second portion from your presentation

Review a presentation you made recently and select a 60-second portion. Choose a portion where you might have stuttered or failed to expound your points perfectly.

Step Two: Record yourself

Record yourself echoing the 60-second portion you chose. You don’t have to set up a fancy camera to do it. You can just use a webcam or a phone camera set up in a way that helps you see and hear much of yourself.

Step Three: Watch your recording and take notes

Watch the recording of your 60-second presentation and take note of the parts you’d like to change. Note how you say certain words and move in certain parts. If it looks awkward in camera, think of how you can improve it.

Step Four: Adjust according to your observations

Once you’ve reviewed the notes you made, you can repeat the presentation with your own feedback in mind. Record the whole thing again.

Step Five: Repeat cycle until you’re satisfied

Keep recording and taking note of your 60-second presentation until you’re satisfied with your performance. Try adjusting your presentation for 8 to 10 times. The whole process might go faster if you have someone else with you who can also give you feedback.


Like a concert pianist or an Olympic gymnast, you should use deliberate practice to improve your presentation skills. Public speaking and presentations are crucial in the corporate world. It plays a significant role in sales, marketing, investment, and decision-making. In order to ensure that your presentations meet success, you have to make sure that you’re constantly doing better than the last time.

And while Ng’s method sounds like it would be a bit time consuming, it’s actually pretty convenient for those with 9 to 5 schedules. All it takes is thirty minutes.



Ng, Andrew. “Learn to Speak or Teach Better in 30 Minutes.” LinkedIn. March 20, 2014. Accessed August 18, 2014.


Featured Image: Paula Cristina via Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Three Presentation Lessons from the Big Screen

Film is a powerful medium. We’ve all seen a movie that kept us at the edge of our seats long after the credits have rolled. Just like other methods of storytelling, it can offer audiences new information and fresh perspectives in a manner that’s engaging for them.

Now, why does that sound familiar? Because your presentations should do the same thing. Here are the top three presentation lessons you can learn from the big screen. Keep your audiences engaged and involved with a few key points.

Don’t be a Drag

The_Hobbit_-_The_Desolation_of_Smaug_theatrical_posterOne of the most important presentation lessons you need to learn is to be as concise as possible. Most movies run for a little less than two hours. In the same way, presentations vary in length, but it’s important that you keep it clear and straight to the point. Keep in mind your key points and main goals, then trim out the unnecessary details.

Take a lesson from the adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit. The adaptation is three movies long, while the source material is only a single, 310-page book. This leaves the director, some pretty big narrative spaces to fill.

In order to keep your presentation focused, start your preparation by asking yourself some important questions.


  • What is the purpose of your presentation? What do you want to achieve with the information you’re sharing?
  • What is your presentation truly about? What is the main message you want your audience to take away?

Upon answering these questions, you can begin drafting an outline of your presentation. You’ll have a framework to keep your PowerPoint deck from ballooning to, say, 50 slides.

Always give a fresh perspective

similar themes - presentation lessons

There are movies that have pretty formulaic plots. Despite that, some of them still go on to become big blockbuster hits. The themes that James Cameron tackles in the movie Avatar are similar to those in the timeless classics Pocahontas and Tarzan, However, because he gives the movie a sci-fi setting and interesting new characters, he was able to add something that audiences haven’t seen before.

The same should be true for your presentation. Even if you’re set to report about your company’s finances, there’s still a way to give new life to the same old presentations people are used to seeing. Keep your audience engaged with good content and interesting visuals. Add a bit of personality to your presentation with some anecdotes.

Use metaphors and analogies to explain concepts your audience unfamiliar with. You can even add humor, if the situation allows it. Lastly, show your audience a PowerPoint deck that’s more than just bullet points and bad clip art. Read up on some of our past presentation lessons on how you can give your audience a great experience.

Focus on delivery just as much as you focus on content

Troy2004PosterThere are some movies that suffer from sloppy editing. While the original premise and the plot may seem interesting, the technical side of the movie keeps it from clicking with viewers.

Similarly, your delivery can make or break your presentation. You can have the best PowerPoint deck, coupled with interesting content. But if you mumble through your presentation and just read your slides, the attention of your audience will wander.

Practice your body language to show that you are full of energy. You should also make sure your voice sounds equally alive and engaged. Break monotonous sentences with voice inflection.

Always know that there’s inspiration to be found everywhere when it comes to improving your presentation.

The next time you’re seeing a movie with friends, take note of some presentation lessons you can apply to the board room.


Featured Image: John Drake via Flickr