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6 Presentation Techniques You Can Learn from 13-Year-Old Carter Cohen

Who said presentations are only for grown-ups? Kids can do them too, and they can do them just as well.

Meet thirteen-year-old Carter Cohen, a boy from Coronado, California, who convinced his parents to let him buy a hedgehog by preparing a slide presentation. Complete with the details about his dream pet’s name, home, and medical expenses, Carter’s presentation is something that even professionals and businessmen can learn from. Here are six takeaways from Carter’s simple presentation called, “Everything About Hedgehogs.”

1. Use a minimalistic design that sends a clear message

If your presentation purely consists of text, don’t attempt to dress it up with a myriad of colors. Unnecessary design elements are just that—unnecessary. Two font colors should suffice to make your slides more visually interesting.

Just look at how Carter employed the power of simple design on his Google Slide show. He used a striking orange for the headings and a subtle gray for the body of each slide. The result was a neat and comprehensible presentation.

2. Present the cons alongside the pros of your pitch

Your audience will naturally expect to hear good words from your pitch. The pros are, after all, the point of the presentation.

Still, you should state the cons to gain your audience’s trust. It doesn’t matter what angle you’re coming from. If you really want to hit a home run with the audience, don’t hide any vital information from them. If they need to know it, let them hear it.

Carter did the same on his presentation. He let his parents know exactly what they’d be getting themselves into once they agree to allow him to buy his own hedgehog. He gave an estimation of expenses to prepare his parents for the possible hassle that getting a pet may bring.

3. Lead your audience carefully to your point

Wise presenters don’t assume that their audience understand them from the get-go. If you want to get your message across, guide your audience throughout the presentation.

When giving away something that’s not common knowledge, make sure to couple it with explanations—but do so without sounding condescending. Be the right kind of informative and courteous—the same way Carter was. Carter explained everything that might concern his parents, and he did it with the natural grace of a child.

4. Use interesting titles and headings as kickstarters

There are a few easy ways to write compelling titles and headings for presentations. Carter used interrogative headings in some slides before proceeding to his rationales.

For most, starting with intriguing questions is the way to go when opening discussions.

Interrogative titles or headings stimulate the audience to answer the question. It encourages them to dig deeper into the content and read them in a linear manner.

Candid headings like “What is Fleece” and “Why I Can’t Wait” make you think of two things. First, Carter’s innocence and wit is adorable and second, that interrogative headings are simple yet thought-provoking.

If you’re having trouble typing in your thoughts, start a slide with any of the five W’s, then write your points constructively. Lastly, ask yourself, “Did I answer my question?” This strategy will ease your customers from strenuous thought-processing.

Carter Cohen and his hedgehog

5. Emphasize value over cost

Carter wanted to convince his parents to allow him to purchase a $350 pet. And indeed, there are no better ways to say the words than to write “Why I Want My Ollie” and “Why I Can’t Wait” as headings.

He had a ready answer to his own questions when he tried to persuade his parents to allow him to invest his own money into a new pet.

Carter had three reasons for getting a hedgehog: 1) it provides a sense of companionship, 2) it will make him more responsible, and 3) it meets his requirements.

Additionally, he informed his parents that having a hedgehog will make him a responsible pet owner since it will obligate him to provide his pet with clean shelter, food and company.

When convincing people, it’s always important to know the value of their efforts and the resources they will invest.

Just like Carter, show what else your audience can get besides owning what they expended on.

6. Express urgency if needed

One principle to follow when effectively influencing and persuading is using scarcity as an edge.

Under the subheading “Why I Can’t Wait,” Carter explained that he needed a hedgehog soon, even though his parents asked him to wait until November 5, which was 30 days after his birthday.

Scarcity, which is sixth in Dr. Robert Cialdini’s list of principles of persuasion, suggests that the lesser there is of something, the more people will want it.

The day Carter wanted to take home his “Ollie” was the time the hedgehogs wouldn’t sell out yet and would receive treatments for mites.

Always indicate if there’s a demand for your products. This will be your gauge when convincing an audience to act sooner.

Without a doubt, Carter’s parents were impressed by their son’s creative act. How could they say no to a presentation that ends with a “thank you” and an “I love you”? After all, those two statements are among the most powerful in the English language.

Did you find the aforementioned lessons helpful, too? Did Carter’s techniques convince you that kids can make compelling presentations just as well as adults? If there’s anything you can learn from this post, it should be this: Never underestimate the power of kids.

Carter Cohen, a boy from Coronado, California, who convinced his parents to let him buy a hedgehog by preparing a slide presentation



Porter, Jeremy. “Five Ws and One H: The Secret to Complete News Stories.” Journalistics. August 5, 2010.

Polanski, Tom. “Dr. Robert Cialdini and 6 Principles of Persuasion.” EBiZine.

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Helpful Infographics for Your Online Marketing Plan

Anytime you browse through different social media channels, you probably always come across graphics that detail facts you probably never knew before. These images usually have cute and eye-catching drawings or designs. As we mentioned in the past, infographics are a growing trend. They offer an element of fun while conveying key facts and data. A good infographic can condense useful stats and information without overwhelming viewers.

To illustrate how effective they really are, we looked around the Internet to find some infographics that can help your online marketing strategy. Here are 5 that we think are particularly well-designed and informative:

How to Sell Without Selling

This infographic by Stride shares details and statistics you’ll need to improve your online marketing strategy. As its title suggests, it offers useful information on how to connect with consumers that are looking to be engaged, rather than to hear sales talk.

by Stride via Daily Infographic
20 Captivating Marketing Statistics

Here’s another set of enlightening data for entrepreneurs. These statistics were gathered by WebDAM.

WebDAM via BufferApp
A Well-Balanced Blog 

In this infographic, LinkedIn breaks down the different components you need for a successful blog.

LinkedIn Marketing Solutions via HubSpot
Email Cheatsheet

Email marketing is one of the best ways to engage with your target audience. As Marketo points out in this infographic, a majority of consumers prefer receiving marketing communications through their inbox. Don’t waste a good opportunity by keeping in mind some useful tips they offer.

Marketo via BufferApp
It’s All About the Images 

We all know how powerful visuals can be. In fact, an image can make a huge difference in how your content is perceived and received by consumers. In this infographic, MDG Advertising offers great advice on how you can get the most mileage from your image-based content.

MDG Advertising via
The Ridiculously Exhaustive Social Media Design Blueprint 

And since images are important to online marketing, Tent Social created a cheat sheet to tell you the perfect dimensions to use when sharing pictures in different social media platform:

Tent Social via BufferApp

How to Prepare for an Interview Presentation

First impressions are extremely important, especially in the world of business. Whether you’re a fresh graduate looking to score your first job, or an experienced employee looking to land your big break, interview presentations are among those crucial moments. Recruiters often request an interview presentation to test your ability to communicate in a clear and confident manner. In doing so, you’re expected to do more than just talk about your experience and qualifications. When you’re given an opportunity to present to potential employers, you’ll need to show the best version of yourself.

An interview presentation is a rare chance to showcase your personality, capability, and professionalism. In order to leave the best impression, you will have to bravely face your interviewers and knock them off their feet.To help in that task, here are some tips you can use to guide your interview presentation:

1.) Ask the right questions 

Before starting your preparations, gather crucial details asking the hiring manager some key questions. Find out as much as you can about the topic you will be presenting on, and determine the technical requirements of your presentation. Most importantly, you should also ask about the people expected to sit in your audience. The audience will be the most crucial part of your interview presentation. They will be the ones to determine whether or not you’re fit for the role you’re eyeing. If you can, try to find the answer to these questions:

  • What is their professional background?
  • What is their knowledge or level of expertise?
  • What roles do they play in the company?
  • What questions might they ask based on their expertise?

2.) Develop well-structured content

Once you’ve set a clear direction for your presentation, you can start building a strong foundation. Plan your presentation following a structure that connects your ideas in a logical and compelling manner. Research has proven that a specific, story-driven structure is effective in eliciting powerful emotional response. However, you can also go for a more traditional structure: a fascinating introduction, an engrossing in-depth discussion, ending with an insightful conclusion.

3.) Work on your visuals 

If the presentation calls for it, you should also spend time building an effective PowerPoint deck. Visuals have the power to make your arguments more memorable and compelling. Use your PowerPoint deck to highlight the main points in your speech. Emphasize the most important parts by using images and illustrations.

4.) Plan what you’re going to wear 

Another thing to keep in mind is the importance of appearance. Like it or not, first impressions are largely formed based on physical characteristics. In an interview presentation, there is absolutely no excuse for careless grooming. Take the time to plan your outfit accordingly. Again, it will help if you do some research to learn more about company culture. This will help you determine the dress code that’s appropriate for the occasion.

5.) Practice your presentation skills

Lastly, take the time to rehearse your entire presentation. As the old adage says, “practice makes perfect.” Try to practice in the same way that a concert pianist would. Focus on specific parts of your presentation. Practice how to deliver each passage and how you plan to move around the stage. Rehearse your presentation in clusters until you get everything right.

The stakes are high for an interview presentation, and it’s normal to feel nervous going into a room of potential employers. Think of it as an opportunity to flaunt your skills and show that you’re the perfect person for the job.


Featured Image: Alex France via Flickr

What Great Ideas Have in Common

A big idea is only the first step to achieving success in the world of business. The real challenge lies in convincing others to consider your plans and take you up on your offer. In other words, “ideas are a dime a dozen.” If you really want to make a difference, what matters is your execution.

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How do you plan to take your idea to the next level?

In 1962, sociologist Everett Rodgers conducted a large-scale research on how and why certain ideas spread. The results, published in a book called Diffusion of Innovations, were gathered from hundreds of case studies showing why some ideas are successful while others fail and fall into obscurity. In particular, Rodgers outlined particular factors that influence people’s decision to accept or reject ideas. If you want to see your big idea turn into a success story, ponder on these five important questions:

1.) Does your idea have relative advantage?

How does your idea compare to what is currently available in today’s market? To have relative advantage, your new product should be perceived as a step above existing standards. Think of how the iPhone completely changed how we use smartphones in 2007. In the same way, the idea you’re introducing should also push beyond the boundaries.

2.) Does it evoke a sense of familiarity?

Apart from innovation, people are also looking for ideas they can easily relate to. They’re wondering if they can use past ideas and experiences to understand your proposal.

Psychologists have long determined people tend to prefer things that are already familiar with them. Even as you push the boundaries, you also have to consider what the target audiences have become accustomed to.

3.) How simple is your new idea?

Another factor that comes into play is simplicity. To achieve success, a new idea should be easy to understand. The people you’re hoping to convince should easily make out the logic and system behind. They should also be able to tell how it would benefit their lives. An idea that’s too complex can be intimidating, and therefore harder to sell.

4.) Can your target audience easily try it out?

Something else you should consider is how effortless the target audience can interact with the new concept or product that you’re introducing. Will they be able to try it out easily?  The more individuals can test the new idea, the more likely they’ll adopt to it. As an example, think of how most musicians publish their music on YouTube for free. The video sharing platform allows users to trial their material. If the viewers happen to like what they hear, they can opt to buy the entire album. In other words, the more people can try out your idea, the more certain they’ll feel about committing to it.

5.) Can they easily observe and share it with others?

Another factor that helps an idea succeed is its observability or the noticeable results that come from trying out an idea. The more users are able to observe your product or concept, the more noticeable it becomes. This will increase the likelihood that people will share your idea to others, introducing it to a wider audience. Set your idea up in avenues that are popular and highly visible.

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Featured Image: Adam Troman via Flickr

PowerPoint Inspiration: Sample Slides That Will Blow You Away 

You have a big presentation coming up and, as it always is, the stakes are unbelievably high. You’ve prepared your content and talking points. It’s time to build an amazing and memorable PowerPoint deck. You’ve read all the tips and tricks you can find. You know that you want your deck to be a far cry from the usual ones you see in business meetings. You open PowerPoint and a blank slide stares back at you. After a few minutes, you realize you’re stuck. All the ideas you formed earlier seems cliche and boring now.

So how do you solve this PowerPoint design block? Kendra Haines of Web Designer Depot compiled a bunch of PowerPoint slides that could be useful for inspiration. We narrowed down her list to 5 PowerPoint inspiration sources for your big business presentation:

1.) Designing the Business Experience – Matthew Smith 
(Click image to view PowerPoint presentation)

This PowerPoint makes use of bold images and minimal text to get the point across. It strategically makes use of color. Some slides pop out with a bright dominant green, while others are more subdued with a simple black and white palette.

2.) For a Future-Friendly Web – Brad Frost 

This PowerPoint deck is the best example for how you can turn any discussion into a visual experience. It makes use of original illustrations, high-quality images, and screencaps for a more engaging presentation.

3.) Data, Design, Meaning – Idan Gazit 

Speaking of visuals, the designer of this PowerPoint deck offers up some advice on how you can visualize data. It’s easier to digest information if it comes in charts that people can easily decipher.

4.) It’s Worth the Effort – Ian Collins 

This is a visually-stunning presentation that can inspire anyone suffering from creative block. Take note of how it allows the pictures to tell  a story. The filtered look to the photos also add to the emotions the presentation is trying to convey.

5.) Customer Satisfaction by the Numbers – Zendesk

PowerPoint Inspiration 5 - Zendesk Customer Satisfaction

This PowerPoint report outlines Zendesk’s global customer satisfaction scores, as well as some ideas on how to improve the customer service experience. It’s data-heavy but visually engaging slides can be a great source of inspiration for a high-stake business presentation.


You can also try to look for PowerPoint inspiration by checking out our portfolio. Better yet, how about stepping away from your computer for a while. Take a walk around your neighborhood and you might come across something that interests you. Take a camera with you and take pictures. You might be able to use some of them in your PowerPoint deck when you return.


Featured Image: Tsahi Levent-Levi 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

PowerPoint as Narrative Tool: Jennifer Egan’s ‘A Visit from the Goon Squad’

powerpoint as narrative tool as featured in eganPresentations are all about sharing stories. It doesn’t matter what the content is about, or what the specific goals are. You could be pitching a business plan or leading a seminar. At the very core, they’re truly all the same. In all presentations, you share knowledge and information in a way that your audience can easily understand. In other words, you tell a story.

Since stories are in the nature of all presentations, the same should follow for your PowerPoint decks. It’s hard to think of PowerPoint as a narrative tool, especially in the corporate setting. Most of the time, we fill our slides with charts and numbers and all the important points in our presentations without much thought. But if you take the time to familiarize yourself with its functions, you’ll be surprised how PowerPoint can become a narrative tool. It can easily turn your information into a story that’s easy to follow.

As an example, let’s take a look at how a piece of fiction is told through PowerPoint slides. In Jennifer Egan’s Pulitzer Prize winning book ‘A Visit from the Goon Squad,’ there’s an entire chapter that’s written using PowerPoint. You’ll be surprised to see the PowerPoint charts and graphics we’ve discussed in the past used as a literary medium.

In “Great Rock and Roll Pauses”, you can see just how flexible the most iconic presentation software is. Observe how Jennifer Egan fashions PowerPoint as a narrative tool by viewing the full presentation here.Try to get inspiration from Egan’s work for the next time you have to make use of charts and graphs in your PowerPoint presentation.

powerpoint narrative tool jennifer egan




Featured Image: fly via Flickr

Presentation Storyboarding: How to Create Solid Content

Walt Dinsey-inspiration for presentation storyboarding
Walt Disney refers to storyboards during a meeting. (Image from Keys to the Kingdom)

As we mentioned previously, the secret to great content is storytelling. Once you’ve identified the story behind your core message, you can move on to the next step: Presentation Storyboarding.

We’re taking a cue from one of the greatest storytellers in history. In his own article on storyboarding, presentation expert Garr Reynolds cites Walt Disney as someone who perfected the art of storyboarding to create and pitch some of our most beloved stories.

The quirky and funny adventures of Mickey Mouse all started as pieces of paper with rough drawings posted on a wall.

In filmmaking, storyboards are an essential step before movies go into production. Similarly, you can’t begin to build your presentation deck or practice your delivery if you haven’t properly organized your ideas into a comprehensive and structured narrative.

Through storyboards, you can easily visualize your presentation and draft how you want your PowerPoint slides to look. It also allows you to see your presentation as a whole, allowing you to see unnecessary details you can trim out.

Before you begin your presentation storyboard, you need to have a basic idea of where you want your presentation to go. The very first step is to create a working outline and try to identify your main points. Once you have it, you can begin with the storyboarding process.

Here’s the rest of what you need to know about presentation storyboarding:

1. Bring out your post-its

You don’t need fancy tools to create a presentation storyboard. All you need is a pen and a few sheets of paper. The idea is to draft each of your points into a piece of paper and tape them to a wall. In technical terms, each piece of paper is called a panel. If you remember your presentation design lessons, it’s important to limit yourself to one concept per slide.

While you don’t have to stick your storyboard on a wall, we still suggest you do it. It’s a great way to see how your presentation is progressing. And if you’re not happy with something, you can easily move some parts around. You’ll save a lot of time if you use post-its.

2. Don’t hold back

Create as much storyboard panels as you think you need. In this initial stage, you can easily cut out the things you’re not happy with. If you’re collaborating with someone else, presentation storyboarding is also a great way to help you work out each other’s ideas.

3. Keep your core message in mind

While you shouldn’t stop your ideas from flowing freely at this point, it’s also important to keep in mind the core message that you want to share. This is why creating an outline before you start storyboarding. It’s a guide to help you maintain focus on the story your presentation is trying to tell.

The important thing to remember during the presentation storyboarding process is to keep an open mind. Let your creativity flow naturally. Let your collaborates comment on your ideas, and bounce off from theirs. It’s all about swimming through different concepts to find the ones that tell your core message best.

If you need more information about creating custom storyboards for your big presentation, we’ll be happy to help. Contact us for a consultation and we can make solid content for your presentations.


Featured Image: Death to the Stock Photo 

5 Simple Rules for Mobile-Friendly PowerPoint Designs

Sites like SlideShare and Brainshark enable you to share your PowerPoint decks online, helping you gain a larger audience.

Sharing your content online is an effective marketing technique and it’s something that you should definitely consider. However, your message could easily get garbled if your PowerPoint designs are not optimized for mobile viewing.

Here are some reasons on why you should optimize your layout for mobile, and how to do it:

Why Design Matters

According to a study conducted by Statista Dossier, worldwide mobile internet usage was at 73.4 percent in 2013. If their figures stand, 90 percent of people will be accessing online content through mobile devices by 2017.

Judging by these numbers, and perhaps your own fast-paced lifestyle, it’s likely that your presentation will be viewed through screens a lot smaller than you prepared it on. As a visual aid, your deck should always complement your key points.

Don’t get left behind on the trend. Leverage this to your advantage with mobile-friendly PowerPoint designs.

How to Ensure Mobile-friendly PowerPoint Designs

It doesn’t take a lot of work to make sure that your PowerPoint designs are presentable on mobile devices. All you have to do is follow these five simple rules:

1. Readability

The average screen size of mobile phones is 3.3 inches. That’s significantly less room than the screen on your laptop where you first built your PowerPoint presentation. Keep this in mind while building presentations that you intend to share online. Make sure that the font type and size that you use is extremely readable. You don’t want to have your target audience to squint just to read what you’re trying to say.

2. High-Contrast Colors

Another way to increase the readability of your PowerPoint designs for smaller screens is by using high-contrast colors. Use either a dark background with light-colored text or vice versa. Similarly, avoid using colors that are too bright unless you’re planning to use it as an accent color.

3. Minimal text

Don’t overwhelm your target audience with too much text. Don’t try to discuss too many concepts in one go. Explaining complicated concepts will require more sentences and paragraphs. If you feel like there’s something in your content that needs further explanation, simply link to other resources instead.

4. Powerful images

Visualize your key points with powerful images, but remember to limit yourself to using only 1-2 per slide. Too many images might cause your presentation to lag.

5. Simplicity

Likewise, don’t complicate your PowerPoint designs with too many graphics and animation. You can still add some animations and transitions, but keep them to a minimum. Aim for a seamless viewing experience.


Keep your discussion simple and straight forward. You might as well make an eBook instead of a PowerPoint presentation if you’re planning on a drawn out deck.

Make sure your content is visually appealing and readable, for a better mobile experience. Not sure how to start on your deck’s mobile-friendly layout? Contact our SlideGenius experts today for a free quote!



Mobile Internet.” Statista. Accessed July 23, 2014.

Making the Most of Professional PowerPoint Services

There are occasions that call for professional help. For such moments, you’ll need PowerPoint slides that can give you a competitive edge.

PowerPoint services can give you great and effective designs that will connect with your audience. It’s important that your presentation leads to affirmative action.

Channel your resources and energy in the right direction by making the most out of your investment in PowerPoint services.

What situations need the skills of a professional?

We’ve previously made a case for why you should seek professional PowerPoint services, but it’s also crucial for you to learn when. There are times when doing things on your own can be just as effective.

If you have a lot of leeway in your schedule to research and prepare, DIY is the way to go. On the other hand, if you’re presenting a message that’s crucial to your company image, it might be time to consider investing in PowerPoint services.

These can benefit you if you’re:

  • Giving a keynote address
  • Presenting at a conference or a huge industry event
  • Pitching to clients or investors

Outsourcing professionals doesn’t just guarantee a stellar design that makes use of engaging visuals and colors that evoke the right type of emotions you need. They can even give you advice on how you content organization to leverage your pitch.

These professionals know that your pitch needs a winning deck to back it up, not slides you’ll be relying on as your crutch. Putting your faith in them during crucial presentations can boost your speech, not detract it.

What else can benefit from PowerPoint services aside from good design?

You should also consider what you’re getting from the PowerPoint services you seek. When choosing where to go, take note of the other services offered aside from effective design. Your presentation can highly benefit from a flexible and well-rounded treatment.

If you want the full experience for your next big presentation, don’t hesitate to contact us for a free consultation.

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