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Addressing Needs: Maslow’s Motivational Theory for Presenters

Ads are everywhere—the average person is exposed to hundreds of advertisements every day, be it television or radio commercials, billboards, transportation, or social media platforms.

However, only a few of them capture our attention. We only remember appealing and interesting ones.

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Human need is the main reason advertisers continuously introduce products to convince consumers to make buying decisions. In turn, this need motivates us to act towards a desired goal.

Since people are longing for things that benefit them, they constantly search for whatever satisfies their needs.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Abraham Harold Maslow is an American Psychologist who introduced Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in 1943, a theory which illustrates the five stages of human needs: physiological, safety, love and belonging, esteem, as well as self-actualization.

Self-actualization lies at the top of the pyramid as humanity’s most advanced need. However, to reach it, one must fulfill the pyramid’s first four levels. This pyramid doesn’t only apply to general human needs. Various authors and presenters, like Deanna Sellnow, have theorized on its possible use in presentations.

To successfully engage and motivate your listeners, use Maslow’s Motivational Theory with your business or sales presentations. Focus on how your topic benefits your audience. Remember, it’s all about meeting their needs.

Understand your audience’s current situation before getting their attention to make them interested in your discussion. Once you make them believe that your proposal will help them, they’ll see a need to take action.

First Level: Physiological Needs

This phase concerns basic human needs: food, water, air, sleep, etc.

Analyze your audience before crafting your pitch so you’ll know what to include in your presentation. How will you relate your topic to your audience’s concern?

If your client has a problem related to budget, you can offer cost-effective strategies to address their concerns.

Second Level: Safety Needs

This level talks about your audience’s need for security, health, shelter, resources, etc.

Let them know that their safety and comfort are your top priorities. Use personal stories that show you understand what they’re going through, and reassure them that everything will be all right.

Third Level: Love and Belonging

Since people reject loneliness or exclusion, they constantly look for acceptance and approval.

Encourage your audience to form a small group after giving your presentation. Doing so lets them know their colleagues and to share each other’s ideas about the topic, making them feel involved.

Fourth Level: Esteem

This level involves the need for appreciation and self-respect. People want to feel that they’re valued because it boosts their self-esteem.

To satisfy this need, acknowledge their presence and show them how thankful you are for their time. Do this from time to time during your presentation to make them feel important.

Fifth Level: Self-Actualization

Motivate people by challenging them to take possible action. This feeds on their need to show that they’re capable of accomplishments.

End with a powerful call-to-action slide and statement to convince them that you believe in their potentials.


These five levels motivate your audience to learn from your presentation. Think about how your topic relates to your audience’s concerns to guide you when you start crafting your pitch. This gives you an idea how to meet their needs.

Knowing how to satisfy their physiological, safety, love and belonging, esteem and self-actualization needs let you effectively interact with your audience. If they feel like you care about them, then they’ll care about you and what you have to say.

Successfully fulfilling each need encourages your audience to take action as they realize that they’re capable of achieving particular endeavors. This becomes your edge to producing a powerful and effective presentation.

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4 Types of Audience Members You Need to Present For.” SlideGenius, Inc. Accessed June 25, 2015.
Motivating Listeners.” Boundless. Accessed June 25, 2015.
Presentation Tips: 5 Quick Steps to Audience Engagement.” SlideGenius, Inc. December 16, 2014. Accessed June 25, 2015.
Sellnow, Deanna D. Confident Public Speaking. Belmont, CA: Thomson/Wadsworth, 2005.

How Your Speech Rate Varies in Professional Presentations

How does your speech’s speed affect your professional presentations?

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Speech rate is a form of paralanguage that determines how quickly or slowly you speak in words per minute (WPM).

Six Minutes’ Andrew Dlugan gives a few guidelines to calculate this.

First, divide your speech’s total number of words by the total number of minutes you were able to say them. While the average speed is around 125 WPM, know your normal speaking rate to see how it influences your presentation’s success.

While some fast speakers are considered fluent, speed doesn’t indicate effective message delivery. Whether you talk quickly or slowly, you’re still able to convey your pitch’s main idea as long as you speak clearly.

How to Know Your Speaking Rate

Time yourself while practicing your pitch to determine your speech rhythm and adjust your tempo as necessary.

However, rehearsal still differs from the actual performance with a real audience listening to you.

Filming your entire speech lets you time yourself and count your words to figure out your speech rate.

Factors That Influence Your Speaking Rate

While there are reasons for speaking faster or slower, content, diction, tone of voice, body language, and even the audience can affect your talking speed.

  • Upbringing

The speaker’s speed is influenced by culture, family background, mannerisms, and profession.

Each person’s speech rate is based on geographical location and their perception of the world.

  • Anxiety

Nervousness makes your heart race and pushes you to deliver words quickly.

  • Time Limits

There are times when you’re forced to talk quickly as you race to finish your presentation on time.

Avoid this by carefully crafting your content and practicing before the actual performance.

  • Exhaustion

If you’re too tired to give a presentation, you’ll end up speaking slower to conserve your energy.

On the other hand, if you’re so exhausted that you can’t process your thoughts properly, you’ll end up committing mistakes during your speech.

  • Heavy Content

Complex sentences give you time to pause as it slows down your speech rate.

This also gives your audience time to absorb and digest your message.

  • Extra Pauses

Your audience’s responses are chances for you to catch extra pauses. After making your audience laugh, give them time to calm down while digesting your message at the same time.

Distractions aren’t always bad. Sometimes, if there are technical problems or latecomers, their entrance gives you an opportunity to reiterate what you were saying.

How It Varies

Changing your speed from time to time allows you to interact with your audience more naturally and conversationally.

How you do it depends on what emotions and ideas you want to focus on.

If you’re trying to make them laugh, speak faster. If you’re telling inspiring stories, speak slower.

Summing It Up

As a presenter, speaking slowly is more effective than talking too quickly. It gives your audience time to process your message in their minds.

However, there are opportunities where altering your speaking rate can benefit the point you’re trying to get across.

Want to bring high energy and humor to your speech or add drama to an emotional moment?

Know your audience first. Then, decide which approach will work best for the point you’re making.

Need more tips? Our SlideGenius experts are here to help you craft a more effective presentation.

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Be a Presentation Virtuoso with Deliberate Practice.” SlideGenius, Inc. February 26, 2015. Accessed June 18, 2015.
Rate.” Boundless. Accessed June 18, 2015.
What Is the Average Speaking Rate?Six Minutes. Accessed June 18, 2015.

How Printed Handouts Benefit Your Business Presentation

While most presenters focus on making effective PowerPoint presentations, handouts are also essential tools for clearly understanding topics.

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Handouts aren’t suited for all situations like inspirational talks, for example. Business presentations, however, require more complex information and data. In this case, provide your audience with hard copies that summarize your message.

What’s Inside?

Handouts should reflect your overall business presentation, but don’t print out all your slides. Include only what is relevant—plan what your handouts should contain and only include keywords which drive your main points.

Explaining everything in one sitting might lose your audience’s interest because they’re burdened with too much information.

At the same time, presentation trainer Olivia Mitchell encourages the use of white space in handouts to let audience members write down any important questions or ideas they have while you deliver.

Instead of separating you from them, it actually helps you engage them more.

How Is It Important?

Handouts are great for business presentations that demand detailed explanations, especially when you’re maximizing your time while presenting your ideas.

While this isn’t a prerequisite when you do a presentation, it’s one way of making it more memorable for your audience.

Though practice and preparation prevent you from forgetting some of your key points, it’s still significant to give time for making your handout to avoid leaving your audience hanging.

When Should You Give Handouts?

Give them out before, during, or after your presentation. Each time period has its pros and cons.

Providing handouts beforehand might make them think they don’t need to listen to your presentation since they already have the information. They can also be distracted reading your handouts instead of paying attention to your speech.

But if you do choose to distribute before the presentation, let your handouts serve as a guide, not a distraction.

On the other hand, giving handouts during the presentation lets you interact with your audience and makes them feel involved. People can write down their ideas and notes on these interactive handouts, making them feel more invested in what you have to say.

If you choose to distribute handouts after the presentation, advise your audience before you begin. Inform them that you’ll provide a summary, so they won’t be distracted by listing down complex data or facts.

It’s not an issue at what point in your presentation you distribute your handouts. What’s important is that you engage and capture your audience’s attention.

Knowing your handouts’ benefits makes your presentation more memorable. They can be kept for future reference since they’re printed materials, helping your audiences remember your company after your presentation.

Giving your audience something to review lets them recall your presentation’s key message. SlideGenius can help you craft printed materials containing stand-out texts and visuals.

Take a look at our portfolio, or contact us. All it takes is fifteen minutes.

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13 Best Practice Tips for Effective Presentation Handouts.” Speaking about Presenting. Accessed June 5, 2015.
A Quick Guide to Presentation Handouts.” SlideGenius PowerPoint Design & Presentation Experts. 2014. Accessed June 5, 2015.
Presentation Tips: 5 Quick Steps to Audience Engagement.” SlideGenius, Inc. December 16, 2014. Accessed June 5, 2015.
Using Handouts.” Total Communication. Accessed June 5, 2015.

4 Components for Planning Speeches Like Presentation Experts

According to communicologist Eugene White (1960), there are four interrelated components for presentations: speaker, speech, audience, and occasion. These help presentation experts plan their PowerPoint content and assist speakers with their actual discussion.

It’s hard to talk about these principles in the order you should tackle them. That’s why the concepts speak for interrelationship or connecting one to another.

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Determine as much as you can from each factor to focus your speech and make you sound more credible and convincing.

The Speaker

Think of yourself as a speaker. Do you talk fast or slow? Do you use a lot of technical terms? Do you find it easy to get along with people you’ve just met?

Before preparing a deck outline or storyboard, examine yourself. Familiarize yourself with your strengths and weaknesses; focus on finding your comfort zone to decide which parts should be best highlighted or discussed in a more in-depth manner.

Knowing yourself lets you set your presentation’s direction. If you’re more outgoing, start with a good joke. If you’re more to the point, begin with a poignant statistic.

The Speech

The language you use should fit your audience and the occasion. Imagine speaking about the common cold to a group composed only of children. Would you use terms lifted straight from a medical textbook? Your choice of words in slides and speech decides if you’ll be seen as boring and uninspired or interesting and rousing.

Once you have information on the other factors, adjust the amount of time you spend per slide. This affects your flow greatly, and also relies on what you can learn regarding the two remaining factors.

The Audience

Check up on your audience to identify important details you’ll need in your presentation.

These can include age, gender, number, educational background, group affiliation, nationality, and culture. These factors let you determine your approach’s formality and technicality.

You can determine a lot of things from simply checking up on your audience. Finding out audience size also lets you decide how intimate you should be with your presentation.

A larger audience will have to need a broader approach. Be aware of local cultural norms to avoid embarrassing situations that ruin your credibility.

The Occasion

Knowing the occasion narrows down your speech’s objectives. Know the event’s basic nature, time, and venue.  The event’s nature clues you in on the goals you’ll set for yourself.

The engagement’s actual starting and allotted time decides your speech and deck length. Be conscious of recent events, use good news, and avoid referencing recent tragedies.

Knowing the venue also clues you in on how formal your speech should be. How you dress up in a hotel function room is different from how you would in a smaller auditorium.

Interrelatedness may seem difficult, but simply writing plans on a piece of paper sets you on the right track. Getting everything down sets your presentation’s tone, purpose, formality, and its overall message.

It’s easy to understand and even easier to get right. If you’re looking for people who can get it done right away, then our PowerPoint experts are ready to help.

Contact SlideGenius now and get a free quote!

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Presentation Tips: 5 Easy Ways to Establish Your Credibility.” SlideGenius, Inc. 2014. Accessed June 3, 2015.
Public Speaking: The Basics.” Speaking in the Disciplines. Accessed June 3, 2015.
What Kind of Voice Do You Have.” SlideGenius, Inc. 2013. Accessed June 3, 2015.
White, Eugene. Practical Speech Fundamentals. New York: The McMillan Co, 1960.

How Lecterns Help or Hinder Your Marketing Presentation

Presenters have been trained to eliminate all personal anxieties in order to engage the audience. However, they rarely notice physical nonverbal speech barriers such as lecterns. These are traditionally used as stands to place your notes on. However, it can keep you from grabbing your audience’s attention and building a connection with them.

Why do most effective public speakers never use it? Can it be used effectively?

The answer is, lecterns can help or hinder your marketing presentation, depending on how and when you use it.

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Pros and Cons

Most politicians use lecterns in formal settings because it lets them project authority.

Even pastors use lecterns to hold their notes, bibles, and other sermon materials. But they don’t stay there all the time. For example, Joel Osteen, the Houston’s Lakewood Church’s famous pastor, never stays behind the lectern. He maintains eye contact and interacts with the audience, walking around the stage without looking at his notes.

For some public speakers, lecterns block them off from their viewers, preventing full engagement. This physical barrier keeps the crowd from seeing the presenter’s body language, non-verbal cues, posture and gestures.

Proper Use of Lecterns

Staying behind a lectern is different from standing behind it occasionally. Sometimes, you have to stand behind it due to its built-in mic and limited stage space. Other times, lecterns are unnecessary in venues such as conference rooms. Whether you can freely move around or are stuck in one place, involve your listeners by keeping eye contact no matter where you go.


Staying away from the lectern increases your chances of connecting with your audience. They’re also more likely to listen because they see you standing openly in front of them.

No matter where you deliver your marketing presentation, practice and prepare your pitch so you can deliver your message without looking at your notes back at the lectern.

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Donovan, J. “How To Speak Behind A Lectern.” SpeakingSherpa. 2012. Accessed July 3, 2015.
Power Your Presentations with These Body Language Tips.” SlideGenius, Inc. 2014. Accessed June 3, 2015.
Public Speaking.” Atlantic International University. Accessed June 3, 2015.

Canons of Rhetoric: Applying Invention to Presentations

Every presenter aims to craft a powerful speech that leaves the audience with lasting impact.

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The ancient Greeks and Romans were at the forefront of developing such effective speeches. Today, we’ve picked one canon of classical rhetoric to discuss how it can become the backbone of your presentation.

The History of Rhetorical Knowledge

Although the Ancient Egyptians were renowned orators, the Greeks were the first civilization to codify public speaking into what is now known as Rhetoric. It was the great philosopher, Aristotle, who introduced the basics of rhetorical knowledge. Speakers from Rome further developed the idea with further studies, which gave rise for the Five Canons of Rhetoric.

These phases were: invention, arrangement, style, memory, and delivery, these canons serve as principal outlines for designing a persuasive speech.

Let’s focus on the rhetoric of invention.

What about Invention?

Roman scholars Cicero and Quintilian described invention as the process of developing and refining your argument. In the twentieth century, researchers reinvented it, considering it the most crucial process since it sets your message’s direction.

Does science come to mind when you see the word “invention?” This canon is a presentation science that you can use for smoother speeches.

Invention controls the whole idea of your main discussion. It lets you classify your key points so you can deliver the right spin required for each idea.

Doing research streamlines your thoughts automatically.

Applying Invention

When planning your persuasive piece, the invention phase is the start of your main idea. It’s like devising a new gadget where you need to collate facts and perform research collectively.

We’ve listed a few of Aristotle’s rhetorical topics to help you form your arguments:


Comparison comes after you’ve identified a specific issue to discuss. This is the stage where you can use playful language. Get the message across by using figures of speech like metaphors, similes, and even analogy.

Cause and Effect

The cause and effect relationship has been around for decades. Use this to establish a strong stand for your arguments, while also persuading your listeners to accept the whole idea.


The great thing about circumstance is that lets your audience determine what’s possible and impossible. Complement your argument with a realistic appeal by drawing facts and testimonies from reliable sources.

The rhetorical canon of invention offers a great framework for organizing your thoughts. If applied correctly, you’ll have fewer worries about delivering your speech with a more persuasive and effective lens.

Start your presentations right by mastering invention using the rhetorical way.

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Cicero’s Classical Canons of Rhetoric: Their Relevance and Importance to the Corporate Workplace.” April 23, 2008. Accessed April 29, 2015.
How to Organize Your Ideas with a Presentation Storyboard.” SlideGenius, Inc. September 1, 2014. Accessed April 29, 2015.
Improve Your Presentations with the Power of the Metaphor.” SlideGenius, Inc. November 17, 2014. Accessed April 29, 2015.
Newbold, Curtis. “How the 5 Rhetorical Canons (Invention, Arrangement, Style, Memory, and Delivery) Will Make You More Persuasive.” The Visual Communication Guy. April 6, 2015. Accessed April 29, 2015.
McKay, Brett & Kate. “Classical Rhetoric 101: The Five Canons of Rhetoric – Invention.” The Art of Manliness. January 26, 2011. Accessed April 29, 2015.


Featured Image: “Hades and Persephone” from

4 Ways to Gain Self-Esteem Like a Presentation Expert

As a presenter, you must speak confidently no matter how large your audience is. Self-esteem is how you feel about yourself.

It not only gives higher levels of confidence, enhanced initiative, but also overall pleasant feelings—all essential for a successful marketing presentation.

If you don’t feel up to the task every time you have a pitch, here are four ways to improve your self-esteem like a presentation expert:

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Engage in Self-Affirmation

You won’t get far if you continuously bring yourself down. Instead, highlight your strengths and recall your positive qualities.

It’s healthy to remind yourself of your successes, big or small. Inevitably, you might self-criticize and blame yourself for past failures. You can’t erase these experiences, but you can learn to handle them positively.

Focus on how much you’ve changed or are willing to change to improve yourself.

Seek Out Nurturing People

Seek out people who make you feel good about yourself. Build on their optimism and ask for their constructive advice for self-improvement. Avoid people who find fault in everything.

Disassociate with people who compare themselves with others. You won’t achieve your best with unfair comparisons. Look for people who support you and appreciate your skills as a better gauge of your worth.

Set Realistic Expectations

Being successful, even with minor tasks, builds self-esteem. Holding yourself to ridiculously high standards only leads to disappointments and lowers your confidence. A project’s failure is not your failure as a person.

Treat these moments as opportunities for further self-improvement.

Even successful people have experienced failure. Look at failures positively and constructively instead of as excuses to never try again.

It’s Okay Not to Be Loved by All

It’s a common error to assume that successful people are universally loved.

It wrongly makes you pander to everyone, when not everyone can possibly like you.

There’s no person in the world who’s loved by everyone. In a large enough group of people, you’ll inevitably meet someone who thinks differently from you or dislikes you. This is perfectly acceptable.

The longer you’ve been struggling, the harder it is to kick the habit. But with enough dedication and patience, it’s perfectly doable.

A professionally-designed PowerPoint gets the best out of your marketing presentation.

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Baumeister, R. F., J. D. Campbell, J. I. Krueger, and K. D. Vohs. “Does High Self-Esteem Cause Better Performance, Interpersonal Success, Happiness, or Healthier Lifestyles?Psychological Science in the Public Interest 4, no. 1 (2003): 1-44.
Dig into Your Presentation Audience’s Key Learning Styles.” SlideGenius, Inc. May 8, 2015. Accessed May 18, 2015.