Killer Presentations

Now that I covered How to be a Better Speaker, let’s go over presentations. They’re important for a variety of situations:

  • Investor pitches
  • Seminarspowerpoints
  • Courses or training
  • General workshops
  • Business meetings

There are more and more tools that help you make better presentations, but let’s stick to the fundamentals.

1. Use Guy’s 10/20/30 Rule

Guy Kawasaki didn’t get rich because he’s dumb. And his PowerPoint rules are ones that get repeated over and over, so forgive me if I’m redundant to what you’ve already heard.

  • Have no more than 10 slides
  • Your presentation should last no more than 20 minutes (assuming you’re not beholden to someone else’s time schedule)
  • Font no smaller than 30 point

2. Stick to the High View

Presentations are not designed to have the audience read the entire slide verbatim. Instead, they should provide the overview, and you, the speaker, should speak to those points. So if you have three bullet points, give illustrations out loud for each. No need to crowd your slide with them. I don’t like to restrict how many words you can use per slide, but after you create a slide, cut out some content. Read again, and cut more content.

3. Use Images Wisely

I like a nice template for my presentations, but one that’s not distracting. Google Docs has some good ones (and some less good ones). If you use a background, keep it transparent and non-distracting. For other images, find high quality photos that illustrate your point (a stack of magazines if you’re talking about media). Also illustrate through graphs and charts. People like ‘em, or so I hear.

4. Be Consistent

After you’ve created your presentation, go back through it and ensure that the headers are the same font, color and size. Then do the same for all text. Make sure it lines up where you need it to. And spellcheck!

5. Get Feedback

It’s always a good idea to have others take a look at your presentation so they can let you know if there’s anything glaringly obvious or missing that you can add in. Have several people review it, both internal to your company and external, especially if you’re speaking to an audience that might not be up to snuff on all your industry lingo. You want to make sure it’s easily understandable by all, and anything that’s not, you need to make a point to define in your presentation.

6. Practice

I said this in the speaking post, but it’s key. You need to get a feel for your presentation so you are comfortable with it, backwards and forwards.