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How to Tame the Bullet Points in Presentations

The brain is efficient at discarding useless chunks of memories, but the most embarrassing and boring ones never leave the brain. Flashbacks from a long, drawn out lecture enter the mind out of nowhere. Most of the time, the boring lectures come with a hail of bullet points. Then another flashback sets in… and it turns out you were giving that presentation riddled with bullet points.

There are no set rules for using the bullet point, which makes it difficult to know how to use it successfully. Technically, bulleted lists are only a matter of format. They should contain key points that will be discussed during the presentation.

Let’s take a look at this example:

Tame Bullet Points

  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Bread

The above is a simple grocery list. It’s composed of three distinct items, which are then separated from each other through bullet points. Even without writing these items down in a list again, they’re easy to understand and recall. Now, compare it with this bullet list:

Wild Bullet Points

  • Milk
  • The eggs should be brown.
  • Bread
    • Sandwich
    • Toast
    • Banana bread

The latter looks disjointed and confusing for different reasons: inconsistent formatting, too many bullet points, and difficult recall. The first two items nested under “bread” are different ways to prepare bread, while the last item is a type of bread. Eliminate the three items under bread to maintain the general idea of the list, since the three sub-bullets are specific.

The list is more difficult to recall than the former because the general and specific ideas are mixed together. A specific list will have different kinds of bread, and other types of milk and eggs. Ideas need to be refined further and follow consistent formatting.


If a bulleted list looks too much like the latter example, there are several ways to simplify it and make it look more like the former.

1. Don’t play mind games

In the context of creating a deck, if the bullet points only make sense in the mind of the speaker, then the audience takes the burden of trying to understand the information. A presentation has new information for the audience, therefore it’s wrong to assume that they possess this information beforehand.

2. Hold their hand

The poorly made bullet list in the latter example branches off wildly in all directions, completely disregarding the audience. According to Think Outside the Slide‘s Dave Paradi, a consistent style is necessary to avoid confusion. Hold their attention by showing bullet points of the main topics, then explaining each topic.

3. Prevent a bullet point tragedy

The most boring kind of bullet list is the kind that pretends to be a bullet list. A group of sentences is called a paragraph, but a bullet list of sentences is a paragraph formatted unnecessarily. Be careful not to mislead the audience into thinking that the bullet-list-paragraph is a bullet list.

4. Maintain harmony

Ideas get along well with each other through formatting and style. Format the topics as a sentence, phrase, or a single word for a bulleted list. If the bullet point begins with the first word capitalized, then the rest of the list should follow the same format. Consistency is important since discrepancies are distracting from the flow of thought and information.

5. Use Bullet Points Sparingly

Bullet points are key points for the audience, not a series of cue cards for the speaker. Use as few bullet points as possible to break up a presentation visually and to avoid overloading the audience with information. Insert an image between slides, and make sure to break up big chunks of information down for the audience.

The Verdict

It’s important not to accidentally play a game of PowerPoint-Karaoke by reading bullet-list-paragraphs throughout the presentation. Break up information by using a bulleted list with proper formatting and just enough information for easier recall. The proper usage of the bullet list is important to successfully get a point, or several points, across.

Finally, free yourself of the flashbacks of bullet list tragedies and exercise the responsible use and control of bullet points.


Paradi, Dave. “How to Write Powerful Bullet Points.” ThinkOutsideTheSlide. Accessed on October 2, 2015.

Featured Image: Bearpit Karaoke” by sfreimark from

3 Ways Simplicity Gives Better PowerPoint Presentation Ideas

We’ve mentioned before that giving a presentation is similar to marketing and advertising. This is why you need a simplistic deck for better PowerPoint presentation ideas.

But what exactly makes what Cutting Edge Advertising author Jim Aitchison calls the “less is more” principle effective enough to make ad agency gurus and professional presenters rely on them? Why do professional presenters like those who give the TED Talks make better impressions?

There are three reasons why simplicity gives better presentations.

According to ad veteran Luke Sullivan, all of them rely on a principle made by one of the founders of the ad agency behind the famous Volkswagen ads: “…they won’t listen to you if you’re not interesting, and you won’t be interesting unless you say things imaginatively, originally, freshly.”

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1. Simplicity Gets Your Point Across

Aside from being able to sell effectively, Aitchison suggests that an ad needs to be understandable. This is the same requirement that every professional PowerPoint presentation needs in order to sell.

With simplicity, your sales pitch becomes more understandable, accurate and concise, letting you state your main point and tell your clients what they get out of your proposed product from the start.

2. Simplicity Cuts Through The Competition

Everyday, people are being bombarded with a clutter of advertisements. Clients face a similar situation with presenters. With all the other pitches to sit through, they need to sort through every potential partner’s gimmicks and extra bells and whistles.

With simplicity, you get to state what you can do, what clients get out of your offer and what advantages you have to outsell the competition.

3. Simplicity Gives More Creativity

With a simplistic strategy, you have more room to be creative and interesting. Once you know your product and your position in the market (be it an industry leader, an upstart underdog or a company playing second fiddle), start crafting your PowerPoint slide designs and your speech around highlighting your current strengths.

For example, do you want to highlight your achievements as the best company in the industry? Do you want to feature your advantages over the top companies? Do you want to introduce a new product’s advantages and benefits to the client?

It all depends on how you want to present your company to your client. One effective way to do this is to keep it simple enough to be interesting.

The Main Ingredient: Look To Your Product

Those questions are simple strategies that give room to let your presentation visual design ideas do the talking, a specialty of PowerPoint design professionals. The answer to doing all this lies in finding that one thing that makes your product interesting.

To know more about how to highlight your best ideas, take a few minutes to get in touch with us, all for free!


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Ad Agency Tricks: Outsell Competitors in Sales Presentations.” SlideGenius, Inc. 2015. Accessed August 21, 2015.
Aitchison, Jim. Cutting Edge Advertising: How to Create the World’s Best Print for Brands in the 21st Century. 2nd ed. Singapore: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2004.
Great Volkswagen AdsAccessed August 21, 2015.
Sullivan, Luke. Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This: A Guide to Creating Great Ads. 3rd ed. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons, 2008.

Put Your Best Foot Forward: BLUF Presentations

We’ve talked much about how effective presentations rely on time-tested and expert-recommended ways, techniques, and structures.

However, we still get questions on whether there could be an easier, simpler way to plan your slides. There is one such thing: the BLUF Model.

Keeping It Short and Simple

BLUF is an acronym often used in communication. It stands for “Bottom-Line Up Front.” The BLUF model’s main purpose is to keep things clear and concise. It sets your best foot forward right out of the gate, putting the most vital parts of your talk into your introduction.

Here, all the conclusions, recommendations, and sometimes even the call-to-action is presented in the very beginning. All of the supporting information is kept to a minimum and placed after. According to McMillion Leadership Associates president, Mark McMillion, this approach drives the pitch straight to the point, making things more streamlined and economical.

Having a cohesive story or adjective tension can build interest. However, there are some instances when you just need to roll in and say what you need to say. Afterwards, simply reap the rewards of a job well done.

Where What Works

If you’re giving a presentation just to keep your bosses updated on pending or ongoing work, using the BLUF model lets you do it quickly and efficiently.

This approach is also ideal to use with strong USP’s (Unique Selling Propositions). This is the perfect structure especially if you’re confident about what you’re trying to sell. It fits in occasions where you know you only have a short amount of time to pitch.

With this, there’s no need for narratives, stories, build-ups, or any of the other fancy skills. If you expect to be done quickly, then why bother prepping your audience for a long haul? Instead, use this format to get right down to the core message and the key benefits.


This doesn’t mean that we should start all of our decks from scratch. Presentations needing more time might be better suited with your standard presentation fare.

To engage and prepare your audience for a lot of necessary information, data, and arguments, a narrative structure will do. The standards are there for a reason. For most occasions, they work brilliantly – acting as all-around solutions for a wide array of visual communication problems.

You need a tried and tested framework to make your message flow if you have lot of details and data to explain.


Most of the time, you’ll still need a well-planned and designed deck. It’s still worth considering alternate ways of designing your PowerPoints, including the BLUF Model.

It keeps your pitch simple and straight to the point, putting all the information you need right at the beginning instead of wasting time building up to your big reveal.

However, the BLUF method isn’t always the answer to your presentation problems. There are times when a narrative structure would work better. Test for yourself whether the BLUF method works for your particular presentation or not. This increases your flexibility and gives you an extra ace in the hole for when you might need it.



Angeles, Sara. “36 Ways to Make a Killer Business Presentation.” Business News Daily. June 27, 2014.
Advertisers’ PowerPoint Visual Design Tips: Calls to Action.SlideGenius, Inc. May 28, 2015.
BLUFing Your Communication at Work.The Managers Resource Handbook. February 17, 2014.


Featured Image: “Best Foot Forward” by Jason Rogers on

Advertising PowerPoint Design Tips: Make Your Visuals Talk

In simple PowerPoint design, images visually support your words, creating a memorable image in your audience’s minds. However, you can play with this basic structure and create something more engaging. In Cutting Edge Advertising, Jim Aitchison suggests the use of metaphors, adjusting your text and images’ placement, or making a bent headline or visual.

Center your messages on a clear, specific idea by making an interesting image and supporting it with a straightforward tagline (and vice versa). Once your listeners can picture your message for themselves, your product or service will stick in their minds long after you finish the sales presentation.

Sell more effectively by combining this factor with clear-cut messages.

Bent Images with Straight Headlines

Apply the twist here to represent your idea in the image. Show a metaphor, a comparison or a dominant image.

The Business Times and The Economist print ads both talk about giving you the whole picture when you read their news. The images—the text cut in half, the binocular-shaped magazines and the Rubix cube— are all twisted to prove their points.

Keep your message, font, and text size simple so your clients focus on the image without distractions.

Bent Headlines with Straight Images

You can also show your idea in the headline and support it with a normal image. Clever word puns and verbal metaphors all come in handy as seen in the Cigarillos and Timberland print ads.

The text needs to be interesting or provocative enough to get your audience thinking. Otherwise, you’ll get a bland and uninteresting overall visual.

The Secret: Be Consistent

Choosing between the two approaches depends on how you want to emphasize your idea. Once you decide to either bend your text or image, be consistent with your messages.

The Business Times and The Economist had one main idea, similar to how Timberland emphasized their durability.

Emphasize one main idea, stick to it and support it with relevant facts. Making a striking visual impact ensures that audiences remember you long enough to contact you for a business deal.


Aitchison, J. Cutting Edge Advertising: How to Create the World’s Best Print for Brands in the 21st Century. Singapore; New York: Prentice Hall, 2004.
Diaz, Ann-Christine. “The Economist’s New Campaign Dishes Out Real — and Metaphorical — Hot Potatoes.” Advertising Age News. November 11, 2013. Accessed August 3, 2015.
Fine-tuning Your Presentation’s Core Message.” SlideGenius, Inc. November 11, 2014. Accessed August 3, 2015.
PowerPoint Visual Design Tips From Ads: Text & Image Balance.” SlideGenius, Inc. July 22, 2015. Accessed August 3, 2015.

Presentation Skill: Improving Your Authentic Speaking Style

There’s no fixed formula when it comes to public speaking.

Presenters are concerned with following a set of rules and are often focused on what you should and should not do.

However, applying a few standards isn’t bad. In fact, learning and mastering the basics will help them acquire presentation skills to make them successful.

As a presenter, you need to understand that your presentation’s success isn’t determined just by how engaging you are, how powerful you speak, how you deliver your words, or how effective you project your voice in front of your audience.

It’s about being authentic when you present.

Show them that you’re trustworthy and sincere to bring them to a real human connection.

Being Perfect vs. Being Genuine

Every public speaker wants to be excellent in their field. Even professionals still strive to be the best presenters.

However, you can’t achieve this without knowing how to connect with your audience.

Doing it lets you draw them to your message. Emotions help us recall how a certain story can make us feel.

Since practice precedes perfection, consider these ways to improve your presentation skill in speaking:

Embrace Your Natural Qualities

List your strengths and potentials, then apply it to your performance. Avoid imitating someone else’s speech and delivery style. Doing so allows your audience to see that you’re similar to them.

Be Unique

Never compare yourself with others’ behavior or capabilities. Know how to value your own abilities to let your audience see that like them, you’re unique.

Let Your Style Flow Naturally

If you’re an introvert, don’t force yourself to act as an extrovert. Don’t let this instance manipulate you and push you to become someone you’re not.

Everyone has unique personalities and has different ways of expressing themselves, especially when it comes to presenting in public.

Speak Naturally

Think about how you will deliver your message to your audience.

Act as if you’re communicating with your friends or colleagues. Doing so helps you pitch more authentic and conversational.

Don’t Try To Be Perfect

Aiming for perfection can sometimes disappoint you. Perfectionism differs from excellence.

While the former can’t accept rejections or any failures, the latter strives to make their joy complete by doing their best.

Tell the truth and don’t be too focused on speaking perfectly. After all, not all effective presentations are perfect. They become successful once you engage your audience passionately and genuinely.


Your presentation’s success can be determined by how you authentically engage your audience.

Deliver your message naturally to make it sound conversational.

Understanding these ways will lessen the negative thoughts which convince you to become someone you’re not.

Start using your own authentic style of speaking and see how you become a successful presenter.

To craft an effective and powerful presentation, SlideGenius can help you out!


Adapting Elevator Pitches Into Your Sales Presentation

The idea of adapting a sales presentation into a 30-second elevator pitch is to deliver a clear and concise speech that makes a good impression in a short amount of time.

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When the elevator door opens and a potential client stands near you, you want to catch his attention and, hopefully, get his business card.

Stay ahead of the competition. Consider every presentation as the chance of a lifetime, so make a speech that sells more than it tells.

Here’s how you can plot your message similar to a well-crafted elevator pitch:

Establish Credibility

How can you earn someone’s trust in the span of an elevator ride?

The key is to establish credibility.

Reel your audience in at the very start and build a positive mental picture in their minds.

A short yet concise self-introduction makes you sound credible. According to presentation trainer Gavin Meikle, you can also literally walk the talk and exude credibility through confident body language.

Stating your specialization and longevity on the field, as well as your manner of speaking, are essential. Convince your audience that you’re worth listening to.

Build Curiosity

Eagle Venture CEO Mel Pirchesky’s famously quoted line summarizes the essence of an elevator pitch: “The objective of the first ten or fifteen seconds is to make your prospective investors want to listen to the next forty-five or fifty seconds differently, more intently than they would have otherwise.”

That’s why most elevator pitches build upon curiosity. They want to make the impression last until the last second.

Though short, elevator pitches shouldn’t reveal your entire offer right off the bat. It’s more of a prelude to the bigger pitch coming up once you’ve hooked your listener into paying attention.

For presentations, giving your audience a glimpse of your product’s benefits is great for hooking in a new lead. This suggests involvement and creates the right atmosphere for persuasion.

Express Spontaneity

Elevator speeches express spontaneity.

They sound like a story being told out of impulse, often in a conversational tone. This adds a greater sense of sincerity to your pitch.

When doing a sales presentation, avoid sounding like you’re reading a script.

Practice delivering your speech naturally while sharing your main idea and purpose. Asking a relatable question can also increase audience participation.

Summing It Up

Your sales presentation is your gateway for new leads. Craft an elevator pitch to hook your audience in the most concise and fastest manner possible.

Having problems creating presentations that sell? Contact SlideGenius and we’ll help you design a PowerPoint presentation that gets you the sales you deserve!


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Cameron, Chris. “Going Up! How to Ride An Elevator Pitch to New Heights.” ReadWrite. January 11, 2010. Accessed July 01, 2015.
How Not to Depend on Your PowerPoint Presentation Scripts.” SlideGenius, Inc. 2015. Accessed July 01, 2015.
Meikle, Gavin. “How to Come Across as Credible With Your Audience.” InterActiv Presenting and Influencing. July 16, 2013. Accessed July 01, 2015.
Why Conversational Tones Work for Corporate Presentations.” SlideGenius, Inc. 2015. Accessed July 01, 2015.


Featured Image: “Elevator” by Gideon Tsang on

3 Acronyms to Attack Business Investment Presentations

So you’ve founded a start-up and are looking for investors to keep the ball rolling. You’re filled with confidence at this new, ground-breaking business proposal.

They just can’t say no.


Underestimating how much you need to prepare to ace investment preparations means you’ll fail. You can’t simply stroll in and blow people’s minds with your brilliant idea.

Starting to feel nervous?

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Here are three easy-to-remember acronyms to sail through that pitch.


T.A. stands for Target Audience. Getting a beat on your potential investors should be the first thing on your to-do list.

We’ve previously discussed the importance of having good objectives that guide your presentation. For effective objectives, have a well-defined target audience.

Preparing an investment pitch doesn’t only mean narrowing down who benefits from your product or service. Zero in on who your investors could be.

Granted, you may not have easily-accessible information on who they are. Don’t be afraid to make educated guesses when your standard search engine results turn up with nil.

Take some tips from Sticky Marketing Club CEO, Grant Leboff, and examine your company and the market you want to enter before casting out the net.

Look for possible needs and wants they may have, then formulate questions or concerns they might bring up. This allows you to plan ahead with answers to best alleviate their worries. This also lets you highlight positives that they can relate with while spinning negatives that can turn them off.

Planning your pitch without even knowing who you’ll be talking to seals your start-up in a coffin.


Now that you know who you’re selling to, define a specific niche your proposed solution intends to fill.

Before you write your speech, define your U.S.P. – Unique Selling Proposition. This idea was first developed by ad expert Rosser Reeves in his book “Reality in Advertising (1961),” stating that its uses were:

  1. to offer a valuable proposition.
  2. to demonstrate a quality that can’t be offered by a competitor, and
  3. be a strong and catchy “hook” to draw in new customers or investors.

It also helps to have a U.S.P. that can afford you a competitive advantage that’s sustainable for the near future – a characteristic that’s not easily copied or improved upon.

Don’t make these benefits up, as unsubstantiated claims can get you in trouble, or even make you lose investors.

Whatever the case, knowing your U.S.P. easily tells your audience two things: why they should care and how you can make their life easier.


Be confident, assertive, and passionate. These three are all important virtues in any presentation that are your linchpin to success.

Dressing the part and proper body language gives you the confidence to win the crowd over.

Having firm and specific objectives allows you to focus your pitch, imparting a more assertive and persuasive tone.

Relay memorable personal stories that tie into your message to make for an impassioned speech.

Go beyond describing a business model with limitless potential. Why would an audience trust a presenter lacking in conviction? Believing in your product makes you sell your product.

Your audience is looking for an investment that’s poised profit financially.  Be worthy of their time, money, and trust.

Summing It Up

Investment presentations can be the most nerve-wracking of all the business opportunities.

Keep those fears in check with a proven three-pronged approach to get the best result from your pitch. All you need are three simple acronyms: T.A., U.S.P., and C.A.P.

Know who you’re selling to, what unique benefit you’re selling, and pitch with the confidence of a master presenter.

Are you in need of a deck to match your business proposal? Boost your chances by contacting our presentation experts for a free quote!

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Belch, G., & Michael A. Belch. Advertising and Promotion: An Integrated Marketing Communications Perspective. 5th ed. Boston, Mass.: Irwin/McGraw-Hill, 2001.
Leboff, Grant. “Six Steps to Defining Your Target Market.” Marketing Donut. Accessed June 16, 2015.
Making S.M.A.R.T. PowerPoint Presentation Goals.” SlideGenius, Inc. 2015. Accessed June 16, 2015.
Reeves, R. Reality in Advertising. New York: Knopf, 1961.


Featured Image: “Wallis046 Fish Fork” by Gordon McDowell on Wikimedia Commons

3 Building Blocks for More Convincing Presentations

A solid structure makes a presentation memorable and effective. From narrating the details of the simplest report to introducing your big idea for a client pitch, this helps you create your PowerPoint’s content and design.

In fact, one of the techniques discussed by brand communications expert Carmine Gallo (2010) in his book, The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs, involves a three-step process: 1) focusing on a specific premise; 2) expounding on it; and 3) driving your idea home when you finish your speech.

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In order to capitalize on this technique, there are three important parts you need to have:

The Foundation: Your Main Idea

Just like how any house needs a solid foundation, your core message will define your presentation’s overall look and feel. It needs to be specific, short, and relevant, but compelling all at the same time.

One example that Gallo cites in his book was when Steve Jobs presented the MacBook Air in 2008, introducing it as the world’s thinnest notebook. To establish his claim, Jobs pulled the new laptop out of a Manila envelope.

It was so thin, he could pull it out of an envelope.

He could have easily gone straight into the product specs and demonstrated what programs it could run. Instead, this short description set the mood more effectively than barraging the audience with jargon.

In just one sentence, he summarized exactly what the MacBook Air was and what it had to offer. From there, every other additional feature, such as the size, weight, display, processors etc., smoothly followed.

The Pillars: Your Supporting Points

Once the foundations have been set, you can use the presentation’s supporting points. These are the facts used to prove your claim.

Let’s go back to the previous example of the MacBook Air. After giving his audience a quick review of the main competitor, all Jobs had to do was elaborate on what made the device unique (i.e. exactly how thin it was compared to the Sony TZ and other leading laptops in the field). By using clear-cut graphs and tables to compare the numbers, he made sure that his additional details were enough to validate that fact.

The human brain can only recall a limited amount of information, up to seven items at most. To prevent information overload, limit your content to at least three main facts for easier recall. This is the same technique employed by Steve Jobs and many successful speakers around the globe.

The Conclusion

Leaving a lasting impression is what makes presenters like Jobs effective. Not only does he know his topic well enough to summarize it in one descriptive sentence and three main points, but he can also explain what it means for everyone.

If the main idea is the foundation and the facts are the pillars, then the conclusion is a roof that protects the presentation’s overall structure. It helps reinforce the main premise that you establish as well as generate a reaction from them.

When wrapping up your pitches, quickly summarize what you’ve discussed and remind your listeners why they should care about what you show them.

An example of this was in 2005, when Jobs introduced the iPod Nano. Not only was it smaller than their then-current iPod, it was fully compatible with Apple’s iPod accessories. It had some new nifty extras, but most importantly, it offered the storage capacity everyone expected of an iPod. In short, it was the next-generation replacement at that time.

Think of presentations in a general 1-3-1 format:

  • One main idea
  • Three supporting points
  • What all these points mean for your audience.

Following this pattern allows for a smoother, more understandable flow of information when showcasing your ideas.

Since your time is limited onstage, state only the most crucial parts and explain what’s in it for your listeners.

If you build your argument using solid, undeniable facts, you’ll have a strong beginning, middle, and end, much like a sturdy house that won’t be easily blown away by any rebuttals. Effectively cement your argument and close that business deal with this method.

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Apple unveils new super-slim Air laptop computer Steve Jobs. YouTube, 2008.
Apple Music Special Event 2005-The iPod Nano Introduction. YouTube, 2005.
Fine-tuning Your Presentation’s Core Message.” SlideGenius, Inc.. November 11, 2014. Accessed May 4, 2015.
Gallo, Carmine. The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to be Insanely Great in Front of any Audience. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2010.
Understanding Information Overload.” Infogineering. Accessed May 4, 2015.
Applying the Rule of Three to Your Presentations.” SlideGenius, Inc. May 5, 2014. Accessed May 4, 2015.

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Using Common Values in PowerPoint Presentations

Chances are, just about every person you’ve met has their own standards. This could be about the food they eat, the brand of clothing they wear or the gadgets that they purchase for work or for leisure.

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What makes these standards so important? They define almost everything people do, from the decisions they make to the things they believe in. For effective presenters, challenging or reinforcing these beliefs can make their speeches all the more convincing. This is because they can easily identify the values that their audiences live by, and use these to refine their presentation’s main message.

Shared Beliefs Establish Trust

Using shared beliefs to make your argument credible isn’t a new technique. Marketing professor Lisa Fortini-Campbell’s book, Hitting the Sweet Spot (1992), recommends an ethics-based marketing method to form a level of empathy with customers. This involves knowing what values your customers live by and reinforcing those beliefs when advertising your products.

For example, you can show how a particular brand of SUVs can make family road trips more enjoyable and, more importantly, safe. Another example was when Kraft Foods, Inc. stopped advertising junk food to children to keep a credible relationship with its customers, most of whom were parents concerned for their family’s health.

As long as brands can show that they believe in the same things that we do, they can maintain a healthy relationship with customers. However, brands have to back this up by delivering with their marketing, products, and services, instead of simply speaking of these values.

Presentation as a Form of Marketing

Some may argue that making a presentation has nothing to do with marketing. But consider this: if you were to pitch your company’s health insurance, how would you convince your client to make that investment if they prefer to keep costs at a minimum? Would you compare your package to cheaper but less comprehensive offerings? Or would you appeal to their sense of responsibility by proposing that investing in their employees’ health could deliver long-term benefits?

If you think about it, giving a presentation can be considered a form of marketing; planning what to pitch, how to propose it, and how to design the PowerPoint all follow a similar process. In the end, they all rely on establishing connections to effectively sell themselves. This allows for easier time forming their content around certain beliefs to justify proposals and ideas.

Having a Common Ground

To use this marketing method properly, ask yourself if your company’s core values are aligned with your client’s.

In the above scenario of selling an insurance package, you can determine if there any common morals that you both practice in your respective companies. For instance, you would focus on a construction company’s belief in optimal safety and healthcare when selling insurance products. You could also focus on a finance company’s belief in making the most out of their money.

Find out which beliefs can you capitalize on when making your PowerPoint presentations content. Once you have this information, you’ll have an easier time applying values-based messages to your proposals or recommendations. Your slide designs can also be attuned on those shared moral values that you both bank on.

Taking this approach means you should keep in mind that your clients are humans too. Each client has their own set of ethics that influences their decision-making. In the same way that brands and advertising can use shared beliefs to encourage customer purchase, a properly designed PowerPoint presentation can use this approach to gain client approval.

By utilizing the power of belief to establish a common ground with your clients, this can be an effective tool to get the business results you need.

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Cross, Vanessa. “The Goals of Values-Based Marketing.” Chron. Accessed April 21, 2015.
Fortini-Campbell, Lisa. Hitting the Sweet Spot. Chicago: Copy Workshop, 1992

Be a Presentation Virtuoso with Deliberate Practice

Delivering an effective presentation requires skills that you need to work on and develop. While some might seem to have a natural knack for it, no one is immediately born a great presenter. Your colleague might be more inclined to it than yourself, but excellent presentation skills still come from constantly exerting effort to improve. Just like musicians playing in concert halls and orchestras, you can’t skip steps if you really want to improve presentation skills.

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There are no shortcuts to becoming a better presenter, but there’s a way you can hone your skills and become an expert. Andrew Ng, a professor from Stanford University, wrote about this in LinkedIn Pulse. He borrowed a term called “deliberate practice,” from the field of music and sports, and elaborated how you can do the same to improve your presentation techniques.

What is deliberate practice? 

Have you seen a pianist or gymnast in practice to improve their skills? When preparing for a big rehearsal, a pianist would focus on perfecting challenging passages from his score. He will play these parts repeatedly until he can play the entire piece perfectly. A gymnast will practice her routine the same way. She will repeat specific parts of her routine until she can do the whole thing flawlessly. This is deliberate practice. You focus on the most difficult and challenging parts.

As Ng had put it in his brief article, “[deliberate practice is] hard work—you focus in every attempt, try to figure out what you’re doing wrong, and tweak your performance to make it better.”

For professionals looking to improve their public speaking, deliberate practice means setting aside time to rehearse presentations and focusing on areas that they need to improve. It could be your body language or your ability to project your voice and speak clearly. Whatever these pain points might be, you should spend at least 30 minutes in rehearsal to iron out the kinks. Do it even if you’re not preparing for a big presentation. After all, these skills play a vital role in the professional world. Whether you’re in sales, marketing, or looking for investors, improving your ability to communicate and share a message will help you go a long way. All you have to do is dedicate a few minutes of your day.

Improve your presentation skills with deliberate practice

Now that you’re familiar with deliberate practice, it’s time to put it into action. Take note of the following steps to make sure your next presentation comes out flawlessly. Repeat this process over a course of several days until you see results and are satisfied with your improvement.

Step One: Select a portion in a presentation you had difficulty with

Go over the presentation you just finished preparing or review an old you made recently. Select a short, 60-second portion that you’re having trouble with. It can be a part where you just can’t pronounce the words right, or hold yourself right on stage. It can also be a part where you’re having a hard time expounding some points eloquently.

Step Two: Record your practice

After you’ve decided, record yourself rehearsing the particular portion you chose. You can use the webcam on your laptop or the camera on your phone. Just make sure the set-up is arranged in a way that you can see and hear much of yourself in the recording.

Step Three: Take down notes

After you finish rehearsing the 60-second portion, watch your recording and take note of the parts you’d like to change. List down comments about how you would want to change how you say certain words or move in a certain way. If you think you look awkward in the recording, try to figure out why that’s so and think of ways you can improve.

Step Four: Adjust your performance

Review the notes you made and adjust your performance accordingly. Repeat your performance with the feedback you gave yourself and record the whole thing again.

Step Five: Repeat steps until you see results

Keep rehearsing the 60-second portion of your presentation until you’ve improved on all the points you took note of. Once you’re satisfied with the results, move on to a different 60-second portion that you think also needs work. Stick to this routine until you’ve covered the entire length of your presentation. If it’s possible, you can enlist the help of a friend or family member so you can receive feedback from them. This will make the whole process go a lot faster.

You can be a virtuoso in the field of presentations with some deliberate practice. Just set aside a few minutes in a day to fix the pain points you encounter when facing an audience. Follow this routine and see a marked improvement in your delivery and performance. All it takes is some hard work and determination.

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


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