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3 Business PowerPoint Building Lessons from IKEA Furniture

IKEA furniture can be one of the most stressful things to assemble, especially when collaborating with others. In fact, California State University professor and therapist Dr. Ramani Durvasula observed that couples end up arguing during two phases.

The first is while picking which items to buy, the second, while they assemble the items. Strangely enough, even presenters can learn a few things from building them. After all, Dr. Durvasula even said that the assembly process is about communication, collaboration, and respect.

It just so happens that these three are important components for building a convincing business PowerPoint presentation.

Let’s take a look at how these three presentation techniques can help you with your next pitch:

1. Communication Clarifies Confusing Instructions

Manuals are there for a reason.

After all, furniture needs to be assembled in a certain way to be useable. There will be times when IKEA’s instructions aren’t understandable.

This is no different from building a business PowerPoint presentation. Every presentation needs a solid idea, supporting points, and a call to action. To complicate things, clients will always want your pitch presented in a certain way. Some may want you to focus on the benefits of your proposal, others may prefer you emphasize costs.

Communicating with them in a clear and proper manner will clarify what they expect from your pitch. That way, you learn to filter the most relevant content to include in your business presentation and give clients exactly what they want.

2. Collaboration Gives Better Ideas

There are some pieces of IKEA furniture that need two people to assemble, similar to how business presentations often require a team effort.

Your market share info could come from your researchers, the slide templates from your creative team, and product information from your sales managers. This is where most of the arguments take place.

If someone simply gives orders to the team without understanding what the client expects, this can come off as unprofessional and disrespectful. Try to be more open to ideas that other members of your sales team could pitch in. It could be just the right fit for your presentation and give you what you need to outsell the competition.

3. Respect Helps Reduce Stress

It’s no secret that couples end up fighting whenever they build an IKEA piece. Some would just give instructions and leave the assembly to the other person, others would end up insulting each other.

These are all indicative of a lack of respect, which severely affects teamwork and builds stress. In building a PowerPoint, a certain amount of respect is needed, especially when a team is making it.

By understanding what each person can do, you enjoy a better team dynamic in building your pitch.

With respect, ideas flow faster from one person to another, making the collaboration more fun, especially if you are familiar with what your team can do. The most confident person could be assigned as the main speaker. A tech-savvy person could take care of getting the information your pitch needs. Meanwhile, a design-oriented person can take charge of assembling the slide deck.

Collaborating with each other and understanding what your client needs will keep your PowerPoint simple and effective without unneeded distractions.

Bonus Tip: Know When to Ask For Help

Stress will always be a part of assembling anything, from a piece of IKEA furniture to a business PowerPoint presentation.

Communicating with your clients and team members can clarify exactly what your pitch needs. The extra legwork even has the potential to make your ideas more relevant and convincing.

Collaborating with your team defines what each one will need to do, from getting information, to making the deck and presenting it. Respecting each other’s capabilities will make the whole process faster and less stressful. Of course, there will also be times when you need to ask for help.

When it comes to taking your PowerPoint to a professional level, consulting with a professional presentation designer will always be a wise investment.



Potkewitz, Hilary. “Can Your Relationship Handle a Trip to IKEA?” WSJ. April 22, 2015. Accessed August 13, 2015.

Willett, Megan. “Assembling IKEA Furniture Is Apparently a Unique Form of Couples Therapy.” Business Insider. May 4, 2015. Accessed August 13, 2015.


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Improve Your Presentation with Dan Pink’s Types of Pitches (Part 1)

Pitching isn’t just about selling – at least not directly. Our daily conversations during work, and personal matters all involve communicating. We try to influence others with our opinions, sentiments, and preferences everyday.

This means that delivering a pitch involves getting your message across to your listeners.

In his book, To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others, author and speaker Daniel Pink introduced the six successors to the elevator pitch: the one-word pitch, the question pitch, the rhyming pitch, the subject line pitch, the twitter pitch, and the Pixar pitch.

These modernized types of pitches can be used by sales professionals to communicate with the audience better. This achieves a clearer, more convincing sales presentation.

In this post, we’ll cover the first three types of pitches that you can use to enhance your content.

1. The One-word Pitch

The idea of one-word pitch or “one-word equity” was conceptualized by Maurice and Charles Saatchi, founders of Saatchi & Saatchi, one of the world’s top advertising agencies. By condensing your brand in one word, it can help your audience remember what you’re planning to convey.

Nowadays, people have limited attention spans. Microsoft‘s study explains that the human attention span has declined from eight seconds to twelve in 2013. Given this limited timespan, presentations become more effective when they’re shorter.

This means every presenter’s message needs to be clear and more direct, if only because clients will have an easier time remembering your main points.

Some large firms incorporate this to their slogans to promote a more comprehensive way of presenting their brands to customers. For example, the word “search” is often associated with Google.

How to Get Started:

Pink advises presenters: “Write a 50-word pitch. Reduce it to 25 words. Then to six words. One of those remaining half-dozen is almost certainly your one-word pitch.”

Ask yourself: If there’s one word you can use to describe your brand, what is it? Identify your objectives to guide you in crafting a more focused pitch. Decide what you want your audience to remember after hearing your brand name, or after letting them visualize your marketing campaign.

This will help you come up with a powerful word that fits your desired plan. It can also instill a catchier, more memorable name you can associate with your business or brand.

2. The Question Pitch

There’s nothing more effective than questions that’ll motivate audiences to take action. Though you shouldn’t rely on this all the time, Pink’s research suggests certain questions become more persuasive when they possess a strong argument.

For example, when Ronald Reagan was running for president in 1980, he chose to ask: “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?”, instead of mentioning America’s then-current economic recession and proving his point with numbers.

Rhetorical questions like these are used to compelling the audience to resolve the point being discussed, while letting them absorb the message you want to deliver.

Probing questions are also effective when convincing your listeners to share their stories and experiences, while voicing their concerns. Asking “Does this product interest you?” is way too open-ended from “Will this product provide convenience and solution to your concern?” The latter emphasizes the benefit and convinces your prospect to consider the offer.

How to Get Started:

Pink suggests: Use this if your arguments are strong. If they’re weak, make a statement. Or better yet, find some new arguments.”

If a statement won’t work, add a question to your pitch. This will prompt your listeners to answer it silently in their minds.

When crafting your pitch, gather all the facts and resources needed, and organize relatable details or information to prioritize them. This lets you pinpoint what particular argument is more effective in a question form. It also ensures your listeners or prospects will understand the entire topic to make it more convincing.

3. The Rhyming Pitch

Pink states that “pitches that rhyme increase processing fluency.” This makes the message easier to digest and internalize.

The following example shows how rhyming and non-rhyming words differ:

  • Woes unite foes. (original rhyming version)

  • Woes unite enemies. (modified non-rhyming version)

You’ll notice that the first sentence is much more interesting to hear than the second one. Incorporating rhyming words in your speech also improves audience recall as it produces a pleasant sound when they’re pronounced.

Another example would be: “Videos can sustain what text can’t explain” has more impact than plainly saying it as “Videos can sustain text that lacks explanation.”

How to Get Started:

Pink states: Don’t rack your brain for rhymes. Go online and find a rhyming dictionary.” Use the Internet to look for a rhyming dictionary. This will help you restructure plain and simple statements into rhyming sentences.

Before applying it to your presentation, start by identifying your main points. Try out rhyming words to see if they’d work well together in one statement. You can also ask one of your colleagues for his opinion towards your pitch and give you his feedback.

Be careful not to overdo it. Choose among and focus only on the ideas relevant to your subject for greater emphasis and easier retention. This will generate more interest among your listeners and draw attention to your performance.


Pink’s first three techniques not only offer a new approach in making your pitch more powerful and memorable. Applying these types can guide you in presenting your ideas creatively.

Think of a word that’ll give your brand or business much exposure, and make it catchier enough to increase audience recall.

For greater impact, make sure to deliver a strong argument. Ask questions that convince them to take action. Turn simple sentences into rhyming statements to let your listeners be more attentive to what you’re conveying.

Try it yourself and you’ll be amazed by how it positively affects the way people better understand your message. Master these three approaches to allow for a better and more focused presentation that your audience will remember.

To craft a more direct presentation, contact our team of professional designers today and ask for a free quote!



“3 Ways to Pitch Your Idea.” April 11, 2013. Accessed January 19, 2016.
Gabrielsen, Jonas, and Tanja Juul Christiansen. The Power of Speech. Copenhagen: Hans Reitzel, 2010.
“How does digital affect Canadian attention spans?” Microsoft. n.d. Accessed February 1, 2016.
Pink, Daniel H. To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth about Moving Others. New York: Riverhead Books, 2012.
“Practice Your 6 Pitches.” To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth about Moving Others, 2012. Accessed January 19, 2016.
Snider, Emma. “6 Types of Sales Pitches Every Seller Should Know.” HubSpot. January 6, 2015. Accessed January 19, 2016.


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4 Steps for Audience-Focused Professional Presentations

Have you ever attended a presentation where the speaker wouldn’t stop talking? Ever encountered a professor back in college who kept telling irrelevant stories without considering if it would benefit his students? How did they make you feel? Your audience experiences these situations, too.

As a presenter, your goal is to meet their expectations and satisfy their needs, one of which is getting something that’ll benefit them after discussing your message. To achieve this, you need to ask yourself how you’ll develop an audience-focused performance.

Here are some tips to ensure that your professional presentations are focused on your audience:

1. Know Your Audience

Do you have an idea for your pitch but don’t know where to begin? Think of your audience first. Knowing your audience can help you recognize what ideas or stories to tell. This is where planning comes in. Careful preparation requires thorough knowledge about what to include and what to remove, providing your audience with a more meaningful and relevant presentation.

Establishing a more engaging approach captures their interest better, ensuring they aren’t preoccupied with distractions like their smartphone apps. Be familiar with what they want and need so you can easily prepare your script.

In order to gauge what to discuss, research your audience and look up what they know versus what you have to offer. Don’t use difficult language that they won’t understand. If you want to be memorable and efficient, always address your listeners in terms that they’re familiar with.

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2. Identify Your Objectives

Knowing your audience involves finding your presentation’s purpose. Do you want them to take action? Do you want them to accept your ideas? Do you want them to talk about your message with their colleagues?

This lets you know where you’re heading and helps you organize your thoughts, preventing you from confusing your audience. Keep these questions in mind as you prepare the structure of your presentation to serve as a guiding outline when you finally face the crowd.

3. Familiarize Yourself with Your Audience’s Profile

Knowing what language and tone of voice to use will help you in addressing your listeners. Understanding their background, on the other hand, helps you properly manage your script and develop a more effective message that best suit your audience’s concerns.

While it’s essential not to overdo the jargon, it’s also important to offer something new. Figure out what part of your subject matter your audience already knows so you won’t reiterate points they’re already familiar with.

4. Spot the Benefits

Your audience should be the center, the main reason that you’re pitching. If they stop listening to you, you’ve defeated your presentation’s purpose. Your message should be relevant to engage them and bring them satisfaction.

Remember that people aren’t initially interested in how they can help you. They want to know what you can give them. With this thought in mind, always present audience benefits first to pique their interest and keep their attention.


Understanding how an audience-focused approach benefits you and your audience lets you easily capture their attention, leading you to a more effective and engaging performance.

To help you craft a more effective PowerPoint presentation, let SlideGenius experts assist you!


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A Presentation Expert’s Guide to Knowing the Audience.” SlideGenius, Inc. April 28, 2015. Accessed August 12, 2015.
Communication Skills: Persuasion, Audience Analysis.” The Total Communicator. Accessed August 12, 2015.

3 Reasons You Should Be an Effective Presentation Listener

You can’t be a good speaker if you’re not an effective listener. There’s an old adage that says “We have two ears and one mouth, so we can listen twice as we speak.” It’s important to listen not only during daily conversations but also in the context of presentations. How does listening make you a better presenter?

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We’ve listed the top three benefits you’ll get when you harness this skill into a presentation tool:

Your Audience Feels Respected

Listening is the simplest form of audience respect. Giving them undivided attention shows that you value their thoughts on your presentation.

When listening, use silence as a strategic pause to prove that you’re paying attention. Also, using facial expressions, nodding, and maintaining eye contact make your audiences feel significant and like they have a place and say in your pitch.

Your Audience Connects with You

Showing that you’re interested in listening to your audience keeps them engaged throughout your discussion. This enables them to ask questions and freely express their views on your material—it lets you clarify possible misconceptions and respond correctly.

Listening doesn’t only encourage you to elaborate on and define solutions to your audience’s problems, but also builds better rapport and understanding.

Your Audience Reciprocates and Listens Back

Attention is the greatest gift that any speaker can get from their audience. Effective listening habits trigger reciprocity and make them listen to you, too. Why would you expect your participants to listen if you don’t listen to them?

Make sure your audience has a place in your presentation. They need to be acknowledged and involved in your entire speech. Whether you respond to their feedback, call them by name, or entertain their idea, you’re allowing them to make their stand and receive the information you’re saying.

It’s been said that listening is the key to understanding. Be an effective listener to show your audience respect, connect with them, and allow them to get involved.

Got a presentation requirement you need to work on? SlideGenius is pleased to help you. Contact us now for a free quote!

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4 Things to Avoid in Order to Gain Respect During a Presentation.” SlideGenius, Inc. 2013. Accessed June 17, 2015.
A Presenter’s Guide to Building Audience Rapport.” SlideGenius, Inc. 2015. Accessed June 17, 2015.
Nemko, Marty. “How to Become a Better Listener.” Psychology Today. Accessed June 17, 2015.

Using Statistics and Metaphors Effectively in Your PowerPoints

Did you know that every person recorded in history that has been able to lick their elbow has had an IQ characterized as that of a genius?  While the previous statement is a complete fabrication of my imagination, it doesn’t negate the fact that you just thought of licking your elbow to see if you were a genius.

Statistics, metaphors, pictures, videos they all make us think in very specific and useful ways. Knowing how to manage these presentational aids can be what makes your next presentation sound like if you have been taking private classes with Tony Robins.

Presentations bogged down by statistics, overwhelming data, and technical topics can send your audience dozing off in minutes, but never fear, there are a few techniques that can help you convey the true significance of what you’re presenting.

When it comes to data, simplify and get creative.

If you’re presenting your data with a table, you might as well be force feeding sleeping pills to your audience. Instead of cramming all your data on to one page, give each statistic its own page, accompany each with a visual, and present them as individual, easy-to-digest morsels. If you have a slide crammed full with numbers, chances are nobody is going to take anything away from it.

Why should we care?

Statistics can captivate when presented effectively, they just need to be framed in such a way that makes your audience understand their significance. Paint a picture that depicts their relevancy. An excellent example of this was done during the 2012 presidential race when there was much to-do over the net worth of President Obama and of Governor Romney.

Adjusting for inflation, George Washington was the United States' richest president of all time.Obama

While it was revealed that Obama was among the poorest presidents ever elected and Romney was among the most wealthy, their combined wealth didn’t even come close to that of George Washington’s, when adjusting for inflation. Framing statistics in this way helps to give life to numbers that can often be monotonous and sedating, because practical application and historical context can make them much more relatable.

Metaphors, metaphors, metaphors.

If you’ve got a tough sell or a hard point to make, a metaphor can often help paint a picture for your audience to wrap their heads around. Metaphors can evoke an emotional response, which is very desirable when presenting potentially dry information, such as an investment opportunity.

Even better, Visual metaphors

When we listen to something, only 3 percent of our brain neurons are engaged, but when we see an image, that number jumps up to 30 percent. As far as engaging an audience on a chemical level, and ensuring that they retain the information you wish to convey, a visual representation of the conclusion your presentation seeks to reach will be, literally, 10 times more effective.

What you talk about is meaningless unless you know how to express it. It all comes down to two factors: how you say it and how you show it. Whether the topic is stem cell research or peanut butter protein bars, the audience will only care based off of how you present what you are presenting.

Harness the power of these presentational aids, and you will rule the world. Not really, but you will definitely have captivated your audience.