6 Steps To Presentations That Don’t Suck

1 Your Slides

  • Stones Slide Do not read your slides aloud
  • Use few transitions and keep them simple
  • Do Not give out your slides in advance.

KeyEverything on your slide must be there for a reason.  That includes animation, colors, gradients, text, fonts, etc.  If you can’t say clearly why you added it, take it out.

2 Your BodyPointing Cropped

  • Stand up straight and keep your feet still
  • Take your hands out of your pocket
  • Use both arms
  • Use big gestures
  • If you have a “clicker” hold it in your weaker hand – putting a clicker in your dominant hand will “freeze” the other

Key: Your body should accent your presentation, not distract from it.

3 Your computer

  • Set everything up in advance, and then double check itmaking choise
  • All software should be open and minimized – do not make the audience wait for software to start
  • Get your resolution right before you start.
  • Get your screen sharing set up in advance
  • Learn how to zoom in on parts of the screen, and how to stop
  • Have a complete backup and a spare computer

Key: Your computer should be invisible, working perfectly smoothly

4 Your Words

  • Know your material cold microphone
  • Have a single key message
  • Hammer that message
  • Illustrate that message
  • Articulate that message
  • Then shut up

Practice. Nothing is as good as well practiced spontaneity!

If you are good at it, go off on tangents, rants and be funny.  If it falls flat, maybe you aren’t good at it.  If you are not good at it, don’t do it.

Key: Your words are your presentation – not your slides, not your handouts

5 Your Voice

Nothing in your presentation is more important than your voice.  Successful business woman with a megaphone on white

  • Record your practice and listen to your voice
  • Pay attention to modulation: use loudness well
  • Try changing speed – is faster better? slower?
  • Avoid monotones like death itself
  • Use pauses well…. let folks digest and then hit them with something interesting
  • Unlean filler sounds like uhm, ahhh, hmmmm, So!, You know….

Key: Your voice is your instrument, play it well.

6 Time Management

  • Know how much time you have stopwatch
  • Watch the time or use a timer
  • Finishing early beats finishing late
  • Never say “but we don’t have time to…”
  • Use transition time well… if you need to fix your computer or adjust equipment have an interaction with the audience (take questions?).
    Key: You have a specific amount of time; bring your presentation to a close with time to spare.


Presentation Zen
Presentation Zen Design

Special thanks to David Ashcroft

About Jesse Liberty

Jesse Liberty has three decades of experience writing and delivering software projects and is the author of 2 dozen books and a couple dozen Pluralsight & LinkedIn Learning courses. He was a Senior Technical Evangelist for Microsoft, a Distinguished Software Engineer for AT&T, a VP for Information Services for Citibank and a Software Architect for PBS. He is a Xamarin Certified Mobile Developer and a Xamarin MVP and a Microsoft MVP.
This entry was posted in Community, Essentials, Opinion and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to 6 Steps To Presentations That Don’t Suck

  1. Pingback: The Power of a Canned Response - How to handle that: Professional business skills that work

Comments are closed.