7 top tips to make a great presentation

Robin Emiliani  /  Feb 01, 2020

Marketing presentations. Sales presentations. Client-facing decks. Internal. External. Live. Recorded. Webinar. On stage.

There are as many types of presentations as there are audiences for them. And no matter how we feel about them, the truth is that for most of us, they’re unavoidable. In fact, according to the BBC, as many as 30 million PowerPoint presentations are created each day.

Which is why no matter how you feel about presentations, they’re probably here to stay. And if you’re going to give one, you better make sure it’s great.

Here are seven tips for ensuring just that:

  1. Tell a story.

Did you know that people are 22 times more likely to remember a fact if it’s introduced with a story? Which is probably why 80% of customers say they want brands to tell stories.

This applies to our websites. Our social accounts. Our print materials. Our video.

And, of course, our presentations.

Because presentations aren’t different than other types of marketing. They’re another opportunity to tell a story, capture a prospect, engage a customer. And 90% of people believe a strong narrative is critical for presentation engagement.

  1. Embrace the rule of 3.

A long-time copywriting trick, the rule of 3 suggests that a list of 3 things—3 jokes, 3 things to do, 3 characters, 3 stories—is more powerful than a list of 2 or 4 or 17. Turn it up to 4 and things get harder to remember. Drop it down to 2 and it feels somehow…less satisfying.

Now, it’s not always possible to boil everything down to three. But when you can, it’s a powerful tool for engagement and memory.

  1. Use strong visuals.

Presentations with good visuals are 43% more effective than those without. And it’s no wonder, since our brains process images 60,000 times quicker than text.

  1. Ruthlessly cut down your word count.

The best practice here is to focus on one idea per slide, make sure your audience instantly “gets it”, and keep things short and sweet. One recent study found that short presentations performed far better than their long counterparts. On average, the worst performers were 12 pages longer than the best.

  1. Use stats.

Data can shock, delight, and make us sit up and pay attention. It can also boost your credibility and turn skeptics into supporters. Don’t overdo it, but do use studies, stats, and data-driven visuals to back up your points.

  1. Make your presentations two-way.

64% of people believe two-way interaction makes a presentation more engaging. 68% say interactive presentations are more memorable. And 65% believe they’re more persuasive. Which is probably why experts say by the end of the year, 2 million events will be using live polling and Q&A.

  1. Ask for help when you need it.

Making your presentation the best it can be is rarely a solo effort. Don’t be afraid to ask your designers to spiff up your deck, ask your data pros to weigh in on stats, and ask your content person to give it a strategic once-over.

And if you need some extra eyes, hands, and minds on the project? We can help.


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