Slideshow presentations are so ingrained in the business culture that it is one of the first things we learn on a computer.
But when you were learning how to use PowerPoint, Prezi, or SlideShare, did anyone really teach you the elements of an engaging slide deck? Or how to even come up with compelling presentation ideas?
I didn’t. Not that I can remember.
That is probably why 46% of people can’t even make it through a simple slideshow presentation without losing focus.
And as attention spans continue to drop, it will be even harder to keep people interested.
That is why I wanted to learn how to make a presentation that will captivate an audience. Because when done well, slideshow presentations are incredibly effective.
Plus, we now have access to the biggest audience ever: the internet.
So I turned to SlideShare and looked at the most viewed presentations.
On SlideShare, there are over 400k slide decks created every month on the platform with more than 70 million users. After looking at hundreds of different authors, topics, and designs, I’ve assembled 108 tips on how to design a compelling presentation.
Here are 108 presentation ideas, design tips, and examples to help you create an awesome slide deck for your next presentation.
1. Use an Eye Catching Background Image
Like with any type of design work, you should want to catch the eye of your audience. In a presentation, this should be done from the beginning with a compelling background image or a color gradient. In this presentation, the creators were able to do just that with a landscape photo. When a presentation like this is seen on social media, during a webinar or in person, your audience will definitely listen up.
2. Visualize Your Points With Icons
Sometimes you can only simplify a complex point so much before you need some help explaining it. I am guessing they ran into that problem on the second slide of the presentation below. But instead of using a boring list, the creator used an icon to make it seem simple! Also, the icon they selected signifies that all of those statements are parts of a bigger idea.
3. Use A Minimalist Theme
The best designs can also be some of the simplest you see. In the example below, they use a minimalist color scheme and font selection. A minimalist design is sleek, organized and places the most important thing in focus: your information. This template is available in our templates library.
4. Use A Black & White Color Scheme
In the presentation below there are only two colors used: black and white. Now, you might be worried that only using two colors is boring, but it all comes down to balance. Playing off the ideas of classic minimalism, the designer made this presentation look sleek and professional. Create your own presentation like this using a template we offer in our templates library.
5. Break The Genre Mold
When I first clicked on this presentation from SEMrush, I was not expecting to be transported into a comic book. I’m glad I clicked because it may be the most unique slide deck I have ever seen. Going this extreme with your design choices may seem a bit risky, but to be able to break the mold in this age of cookie-cutter presentations is worth it.
6. Make Your Title Slide Count
As I was scrolling through all of the presentations, this one made me stop in my tracks. It could be that I have a life-long love of Star Wars, or it could be that their title card was designed to do just that: grab your attention. That’s why you should not stick with a boring, text-only title slide. Don’t be afraid to use icons and illustrations to make a statement
7. Mix Up the Background Colors
In this presentation, Seth Familian uses alternating colors in a very interesting way. For each of the title slides, he uses a black color background, but for the content slides he uses a white background. This helped the readers follow along and comprehend what was on the page even faster.
8. Make Your Audience Laugh
Go check out slide number 10 on this slide deck and then come back. If you did not actually laugh out loud then I don’t know what to tell you. Small illustrated embellishments can be very powerful because they evoke an emotional response and to gain your audience’s trust.
9. Only Use One Chart Per Slide
Having too much going on in a slide is the easiest way to lose the focus of your audience. This is especially common when people are using graphs, charts or tables. In this slide deck, the author made sure to only include one focal point per slide, and I applaud them for it.
Start creating a free chart here!
10. Keep It Light
Sometimes you need to get away from stuffy, professional presentation ideas to capture your audience’s attention. In this case, Officevibe used some very colorful and playful illustrations to stand out from the crowd. I mean, who could not love the plant with a face on slide number 11?
11. Have A Conversation With Your Audience
Take a conversational tone in your presentation is a great way to encourage your audience to participate. In this slide deck, we presented a simple storyline and use questions to engage with the audience throughout. And it helped create a flow that is easy to follow.
12. Use a Font That Is Large and In Charge
If you are presenting to a small group or a packed stadium, make sure your audience can see your text! Use a large and in charge font that can be read from even the nosebleed seats.
13. Use Pop Culture References
Using a meme or pop culture reference is another way that you can jive with your audience. It can be used to quickly get a point across without saying a word or create a moment that you can connect with the room. For example in this presentation, they used Napoleon Dynamite to give the audience feelings of nostalgia.
14. Use More Than One Font Weight
Just like you would never use one font on an infographic, you should never use just one font on your presentation. In this example from HubSpot, they use a bunch of different font weights to add emphasis to key words and ideas. This makes it easy for the audience to follow your presentation.
15. Use A Color Theme For Each Idea
Color is another extremely powerful nonverbal tool that you can use to guide your audience. By using a different color for each section of the presentation, Dell is able to clearly indicate when they are switching points or ideas.
Need help picking the perfect color palette? Start here!
16. Use Illustrations Instead Of Pictures
An easy way to keep your design consistent throughout your presentation is to use illustrations like in this slide deck by Domo. They used illustrations instead of pictures to show off their subject on slide numbers 4-10 and it looks fantastic. It also helps that illustrations are a top design trend for 2017.
Check out all of our icons & illustrations here!
17. Include Your Branding
Another thing that people seem to forget when they are working on a presentation is to include their business’s branding. You honestly never know where your work is going to be shared, so it is important to make sure people know it’s yours. HubSpot does an outstanding job of this on all their presentations, as you can see in the bottom left corner of each slide.
18. Include Your Own Personal Interests
This example is one of the most interesting presentations I have seen in awhile, so I suggest checking out the entire thing. The creator inserts a bunch of his personal interests into the slide to make his presentation about education fun and relatable.
19. Try To Stick To Groups Of Three
You should never break your slide layout down into anything more than thirds. This means there should be at most three columns, three icons, three ideas and so on. A great example of this idea starts on slide number 9 in this slide deck and continues throughout the rest of the presentation.
Here is a great three columned template to get started with.
20. Add A Timeline To Help Visualize Ideas
One of the best ways to visualize a complex process or historical event is to use a timeline. A list of all the steps or events is just not going to cut it in a presentation setting. You need to find an engaging way to visualize the information. Take the example below, where they outline the rise and fall of Athens in a visually stimulating way.
21. Label Your Graphs
If the people at Pollen VC had not added those annotations to the graphs on slide number 5, I would have definitely not known what to make of that graph. But when you combine the visuals on a graph with descriptive text, the graph is able to paint a picture for your audience. So make your graphs easy for your audience to understand by annotating them.
Create a free graph right here, right now!
22. White Font Over Pictures Just Works
There is a reason that you see so many quotes or sayings on a white font that are then overlaid on an image. That it is because it just works in so many situations and the text is very easy to read on any image. If you do not believe me, look at the example below where they use a white font with a few different fonts and about 100 images. Plus the presentation is chocked full of other tips on how to create a winning slideshow.
23. Color Code Your Points
Here is another example of a presentation that uses color to keep their points organized. In this case, they use 10 different pastel colors to match the 10 different tips for employee engagement. Check out our guide for how to pick the best colors for your visuals.
24. Build To Your Main Point
Try using multiple slides to build to your main point. This helps you walk through the components of one overarching point while also building suspense. In this slide deck, the creator uses 6 slides to build up to one main point, adding a new illustration to the diagram on each slide.
25. Repurpose Your Slide Deck Into An Infographic
Sometimes it helps to work smarter, not harder when you are creating a new presentation. In fact, the spacing, layout, and style used in this presentation makes it easy to repurpose the same images into an infographic. This allows you to create two unique pieces of content from one idea! Which is exactly what Officevibe did.
Need help creating a free infographic? Start here!
26. Make Your Slide Deck Mobile Friendly
As more people move to using mobile as their main device each year, making your presentations mobile-friendly is becoming increasingly important. This means that the text is large and there aren’t too many small details, so everything can scale down. Just like in this example from the creators at Globoforce.
27. Include Too Many Examples
If you are presenting a complex idea to a group, especially a large audience, I would recommend having a ton of good examples. Now, I would try not to overdo it, but having too many it is better than having too few. In this presentation, the people at With Company spend about 20 slides just giving great examples of prototyping. It doesn’t feel too repetitive because they all are useful and informative examples.
28. Split The Difference
Use either the left or right side of the slide to hold your text and the opposite to display an image. If you are using a photo or graphic as the main background in your slides, this is a great way to keep things organized. Check out how the creator of this presentation did it.
Here is a perfect example of this tip, which you can create for free!
29. Use A Consistent Layout
In this example from Bannersnack, they use a consistent layout on each of their slides to help with the flow by using the same margins and text layout. It is a solid presentation because they help the user know where to look immediately. It may seem like they are playing it safe, but anything that can speed up the time it takes for a user to read the content of the slides, the better.
30. Use Loud Colors
This is one of my favorite presentations because of the highlighter yellow they chose to use as their main color. It is actually very similar to one that I saw presented live a few years ago and I have used this same approach in a few presentations of my own.
Trying to pick the perfect colors? We can help!
31. Pull Your Design Motif From Your Content
If you are talking about a creative topic, why not use the topic as the main design motif in your slide deck? For example, in this presentation about sketchbooks, the creator uses a sketchy, handwritten motif. It is something simple that helps the audience connect with the topic. Plus, it allows you to include a ton of great examples.
32. Call and Answer
In this SlideShare about how to create a presentation, Peter Zvirinsky uses a two-step process to present a point. First, he presents the header or main point in a speech bubble. Then he shows a supporting point in a responding speech bubble. This gives the presentation a conversational flow.
33. Repurpose Ebook Content Into a Presentation
This slide deck was adapted perfectly from a Seth Godin ebook into the presentation you see below. In the slide deck, they take a piece of content that would usually take a while to read and cut it down to a few minutes. Just remember to include only the most important ideas, and try to present them in a fresh way.
34. Add A Timed Outline To Your Presentation
We have already covered how important it is to have a table of contents in your slides but this takes it a bit further. On the second slide of the presentation below, the creator added how long each of the slides should take. This is great because it helps your audience know the pace the presentation will take and will help keep them engaged. It also will help them identify the most important and in depth parts of the presentation from the beginning.
35. Use A “Next Steps” Slide To Direct Your Audience
One of the worst things you can do as a presenter is to leave your audience without any idea of what to do next. A presentation should never just end because you ran out of slides. Instead, use a conclusion or “next steps” slide like in the example below to finish your presentation. Sum up some of your main points, tell your audience where they can get more information, and push them to take action.
36. Go A Bit Crazy With The Design
Sometimes you need to throw conventions to the wind to create something unforgettable. This presentation from Velocity Partners does just that, and I think it is one of my favorite ones from this entire roundup. They use unconventional typography, quirky icons and unusual layout to make each slide surprising.
37. Make Your Slide Deck Shareable
If you are looking to get a lot of eyes on your presentation I would make sure people will want to share it on social media. How do you do that? My presenting new and interesting value. This means your content needs to answer a common question and your design needs to be clutter-free. For an example, look at this very social media-friendly presentation from Sean Si. The slides are simple and answer questions directly.
38. There Are Millions Of Fonts Out There…Use Them
Hey, I love simple fonts just as much as the next guy, but sometimes you need to step up your font game to stand out. For example, WebVisions uses a very gritty, probably custom font in their presentation that fits the topic extremely well. Take a look!
39. Hijack Someone’s Influence
If you are stuck in the brainstorming phase of your presentation, focusing on a brand or influencer is a great place to start. It could be a case study, a collection of ideas or just some quotes from the influencer. But what makes it effective is that the audience knows the influencer and trusts them. And you are able to hijack their awareness or influence.
40. Put Your Logo On Every Slide
Whether you have a brand as powerful as Moz, or you are just getting started, you should always have your logo on each slide. You really never know where a presentation is going to end up–or what parts of it will! In this example, Moz does a good job of including their branding and such to get others interested in Moz Local.
41. Lead Your Audience To It
In this example, the creator uses something very similar to the call and answer approach I mentioned above, but with a little twist. Instead of just throwing all the info up at once, they use three slides to build to a particular point and include a subtle call to action in the third slide.
42. Build Your Content Around Icons
Try using icons as the focal points of your slides. This example from Omer Hameed uses icons to draw the audience’s eyes right to the middle of the presentation, where the main points and headers are located.
Picking the perfect icon is tough, I would recommend starting here!
43. Use A Quirky Theme
In this slide deck, the authors show you how to become an Animation Ninja..and they use ninja graphics and icons extensively. This caught my eye immediately because of the amount of work that I knew was behind this. It takes a lot of time and effort to line all of the content and graphic up to create a cohesive theme, but the payoff can be massively worth it.
44. Use A Consistent Background Image
I am a big fan of the way that Aleyda Solís uses only a single background image throughout her presentation. By using this tactic the audience is able to focus on what is happening in the foreground. Plus it gives the whole presentation a different feel than all the other ones I have looked at.
45. Summarize Your Points
It’s a good idea to summarize your points at the end of your presentation, especially if you’ve covered a lot of information. In this presentation, Deanta summarizes exactly what they do on slide numbers 16-18. They also provide their contact information in case their audience has any more questions. I think that every presentation should use this same approach, especially the ones you are presenting outside of your company.
46. Use A Minimalist Theme
This slide deck from QuickBooks uses a minimalist theme to help the audience focus on what is important, the content. There were only five colors used in the entire presentation and the graphics were simple line drawings. This made it easy to read and very pleasing on the eyes.
47. Split Slides Length-Wise
Here is a simple template you can use to separate your headers, or main points, from your body text in a presentation. Instead of using a solid background, split the slide in half like Sequoia did in their slide deck. They used their branding color for the title portion and a neutral white for the supporting content.
Use this template to create a very similar slide right now!
48. Mix Up Font Style To Emphasize Points
If you would like to draw some extra attention to a certain word or idea, switch up the font to one that is bolder. For example, in this oldie but goodie from HubSpot they use a heavy sans-serif font to highlight ideas, as opposed to the serif font for the other text.
49. Put Text In the Top Left Corner
English speakers will instinctively try to read text from a top to bottom, left to right orientation. I would recommend, using a left alignment for your text and adding additional things from top to bottom, just like Aaron Irizarry did in this presentation.
50. Break Up Your Tables
A plain table with a white background are black or gray lines are difficult to read on a computer screen, so why would you create one for viewing on a large presentation screen? You shouldn’t! Instead, follow Intuit’s lead and break up the rows with a bit of color. This applies to data visualization in general, but think it is even more important when it comes to presentations.
51. Add Personal Touches
If you want to create a truly unique presentation, add personal touches. In the slide numbers 6-13 from this presentation, the creator adds something to their presentation that no one else could ever have: they use original drawings they did themselves.
52. Roundup Expert Tips
If you are looking for useful insights into the topic of your presentation, talk to some influencers in your niche. These are called “expert roundups” in the content marketing world and they are incredibly shareable. Plus, they are pretty easy to create and have a great shelf life. In the example below, we talked to a gaggle of marketing experts about what makes a SlideShare great.
53. Use Bold Colors
Bold colors are in this year, so use them! Also, bold colors usually make your presentation a lot easier to read and remember. Like at this slide deck from Sadman Sadik, which doesn’t shy away from bright, bold colors.
Want to pick a perfect color palette for your presentation? We can help!
54. Make Your Graphs Easy To Read & Interpret
It should not require a Master’s degree in statistics to understand the graphs that someone uses in a presentation. Instead, the axises should be easy to read, the colors should enforce the point, and the data should be clearly plotted. For example, in this presentation on slide numbers 14 and 25, the graphs nail all of those tips perfectly.
55. Condense Ideas Into a Memorable Line
If you can, try condensing your information into a simple one-liner to help the message stick with your audience. In slide number 36 of this presentation, Mika Aldaba does just that and shows that “Facts + Feelings = Data Storytelling.” He does this again a few times throughout the presentation with other memorable one-liners.
56. Harness the Power of Your Own Brand Colors
Sometimes people forget that they already have a battle-tested color palette that they can use in their brand colors. I try to incorporate one of our brand colors in most of my designs and it makes so much easier to choose colors. In the example below, Spitfire Creative used a palette that had both of their brand colors throughout the slideshow.
57. Anchor Text With Icons
Having your text or content floating out in the white space of your presentation is not a good look. Instead, you should use anchor icons to give the text something to hold onto and draw the audience’s eye. If you need some examples of good anchor icons, check out slide numbers 4, 7 and 9 in this presentation.
58. Add Semi-Opaque Lettering As a Background
A neat way to keep your slide deck organized is to number your slides or points using semi-opaque lettering in the background. Then, place your slide content on top of the opaque lettering. This helps your audience know that you are on the same point or idea, plus it just looks really good when done right.
59. Use Simple Borders
An easy way to class up your slides is to put a border around your text. Take this presentation by GoToMeeting, which uses a couple of different types of borders to make their slides look professional.
60. Feature One Idea Per Slide
Nothing is worse than a confusing, cluttered slide. Instead of trying to pack a bunch of ideas into one slide, focus on one core idea on each slide. If you need to flesh the idea out, just make another slide.
61. Keep Your Style Consistent With Your Brand
You might be tempted to switch up the style of your presentations each time, but think again. If your brand is known for fun and lighthearted content, like Officevibe, let that be your style throughout all of the presentations you publish under that brand. This will make your slide decks recognizable and will enforce your brand’s message.
62. Used Colored Blocks to Highlight Words
I have seen this trick used in a lot of presentations and it works well. Highlight certain words or phrases by laying them overtop a colored rectangle. Take slide number 7 in this presentation as a great example. Use it to bring attention to a saying or idea you really want your audience to remember.
63. Use Patterned and Textured Background
Adding some subtle textures, icons or shapes to the background of your presentation can help make your slides more interesting. This is especially effective when you are only showing one point per slide, because it makes the slide design less sparse. You can even switch up the colors on your shapes or textures to match the theme of the slide like DesignMantic did in this presentation.
64. Illustrate Concepts With Icons
Ideally, you don’t want every slide in your deck to just be text. Instead, switch things up every few slides by using just pictures. This slide deck by Gluwa uses icons to create little diagrams to illustrate their presentation ideas. Their slides still communicate concepts to the audience, but in a new way.
65. Overlay Photos With Color
One problem many people encounter when creating slide decks is finding photos with a consistent style. An easy way to edit photos to make them consistent is to add a transparent color overlay. In this example, Change Sciences uses a blue overlay on all of their photos. Plus, the color you choose can also help convey a particular mood.
66. Use Black and White Blocks
An easy way to make your text pop, particularly on a photo background, is to use white font on a black blog background (and vise-versa). Check out this slide deck by Abhishek Shah, which uses this trick in an effective way.
67. Use Photos With Similar Filters
Using a bunch of photos with wildly different filters can be jarring in a presentation. To maintain a consistent flow, use photos with a similar filter and color saturation. Take a look at this example from HubSpot across slide number 1-6 and you can see what I mean.
68. Visualize Your Points With Diagrams
Sometimes the best way to get your point across is to throw some diagrams into the mx. But be sure to make is something that the audience can pick up on in three to five seconds tops. For example, Jan Rezab uses a diagram to illustrate what takes up time in our lives on slide numbers 4, 5, 7 and 9!
69. Get Experts To Share Tips
If you want to provide even more value to your audience than you can offer yourself, why not call in some expert reinforcement? See what experts in your field have to say on the topic of your presentation and include their tips and insights.
70. Mimic a Popular Style
Have you noticed how Instagram loved neutrals, muted colors with light washes? Since his presentation is about how to run a successful Instagram, Dash Hudson uses that same style in his presentation. He was also sure to include pictures from popular Instagram accounts.
71. Plan Your Design Ahead of Time
I know that minimalist designs are all the rage this year, but there is a big difference between a well thought-out minimalist design and a lazy design without the finish touches. The same goes for a cluttered design with too many things going on at once. That’s why it’s worth it to take the time to really plan out your presentation ideas and design concepts. Take this slide deck about storytelling by HighSpark. A quick glance will tell you that they put a lot of thought into designing their slides.
72. Highlight Keywords Using Color
Here’s another slide deck that uses different colors and blocks to highlight keywords. If you are going to use text-heavy slides, then make sure the key points are easy to pick out. Take this slide deck: starting in slide number 4, they highlight exactly what they want you to take away from the text on each slide!
73. Blend Icons & Content
Usually, icons are used as eye-catching objects or anchors for text in a slideshow. But they can be used for so much more than that! Like in this example from Constant Contact they are very large but do not distract from the content.
74. Entice Your Audience to Want More
This tactic has been used by everyone since the idea of marketing was invented (or close to that). In this presentation called “100 Growth Hacks, 100 Days” the creator only shows the audience the first 10 days of it and then uses a call to action at the end of the presentation to encourage them to seek out the rest. The only risk with this is if your initial content is not great, you can’t expect your audience to seek out more information.
75. Use Memes (For Real, Though)
Usually memes do not have a place in a serious business setting, so maybe don’t use them for formal presentations. But if you’re covering a lighter topic, or if you’re going to a fun presentation that will connect with your audience, don’t be afraid to throw a meme or two into the mix. The audience immediately knows what you are trying to say when you use a popular meme. For example, on slide number 7, the creator uses a meme to show that it will be hard to create great content.
76. Show Your Audience Your Mug
This presentation example comes from the same presentation as the previous one, but it was too good not to share. Throughout the slides you will see Rand from Moz pop up to add a human element to the design. Using image of your team or yourself can put the audience at ease and make it easier to connect with the presenter.
We’ve seen it before—the speaker standing behind a podium, droning on and on in a monotone voice, with a boring bullet-point slide behind them. It’s all well and good to scoff at them, but then we think about our own projects, and wonder if they might fall into the same trap.
Not to worry–we’ve compiled a list of 20 creative presentation ideas to spice up your next talk, with examples to help get you on the right track.
RELATED: 12 Presentation Hooks Used by the Best TED Presenters
1 Engage Your Audience
What’s one of the best ways to make your presentations more interesting? Make the audience a part of them.
Take this speech by Donovan Livingston. He delivers a commencement speech in spoken word poetry, and specifically encourages the audience to take part, saying they should clap, throw their hands in the air, or otherwise participate if they feel so moved. While not seen, several people are heard cheering and clapping throughout the video.
Participation can also be accomplished through things such as games, posing questions or something as simple as asking participants to raise their hands.
2 Include Music
Sometimes, when listening to someone talk for long periods of time, it helps to have something else to draw your attention. While images are great, including music can really help stimulate an audience and set the mood.
Dean Burnett talks about why this happens: “[Music] provides non-invasive noise and pleasurable feelings, to effectively neutralize the unconscious attention system’s ability to distract us.” Essentially, music is entertaining enough that, when in the background, can keep us focused on otherwise un-entertaining things.
Take, for example, this valedictorian’s speech. While peppered with humor and stories of his time through high school, he uses background music to help keep people’s attention—in fact, this is specifically stated to be his reason for including music, humorously quipping about giving the audience something to listen to while they “zone out” of his speech.
Whether incorporated into individual slides, in a video, done live, or with a music-playing device nearby, this creative presentation idea can be a great way to enhance the quality of your speech or talk.
3 Include Memes
You’ve seen them everywhere by this point. You might be pretty sick of them. However, that doesn’t mean memes can’t be useful—in fact, using a couple strategically can surprise the audience and make them laugh.
The presentation Memes, Memes Everywhere focuses on, unsurprisingly, memes, and explains their purpose while using examples on every slide, which help support their points and add some humor to a very text-heavy presentation.
Choosing relevant memes and using them sparingly can really help add some personality to your presentation, without distracting from the work.
4 Visualize Data
Staring at a large amount of numbers on screen can be overwhelming for most people, even if the realities of those numbers enforce your point. What’s the best way to avoid scaring your crowd? Put the data into easily-understandable visualizations.
The Complete Guide to the Best Times to Post on Social Media (And More!) has this in spades. Nearly every slide in this presentation includes a graph that illustrates the information they want to show—from the days most brands tweet, to what times most brands blog.
If you want to take this a step further, you can use illustrations or create infographics to make these data visualizations even more engaging.
5 Make Eye Contact
Perhaps this one may seem rather obvious, but it’s easy to forget when you’re nervously standing in front of a crowd.
Nayomi Chibana points out why it’s important to make eye contact–if you don’t, you convey a sense of dishonesty and an unwillingness to connect with your audience.
Make sure to make eye contact with someone in the conversation and alter between individuals during a presentation.
6 Customize for a Unique Audience
“Know your audience” is a rather oft-repeated phrase, for good reason. You want to be able to address them at their level—if you’re speaking to high school students, you probably wouldn’t give an in-depth dissertation on Moby Dick. Naturally, tailoring your content to your audience—even if the slides are the same—can make your information more accessible.
Adam Savage does this in a TED talk. He speaks about cosplay, a subject that many members of his audience may not be familiar with or may look down upon. He carefully leads up to discussing cosplay by giving a framework—through making costumes—and then explaining what it is and showing what it means to him, which makes his words that much more accessible.
Engage your audience with powerful visual stories.Try It for Free
7 Express Your Emotions
We can sometimes be afraid of expressing how we feel, even to those we’re close to, much less in front of a crowd. However, showing them makes your words more authentic and can generate compassion or excitement in your audience.
Take this TED talk by Thordis Elva and Tom Stranger, for example. While the two talk about their experiences, their voices break and crack. The emotional turmoil they went through is clearly heard, and viewers can clearly understand their pain.
This can take some getting used to, and some courage. However, the results are well worth the effort.
8 Use Humor
Want a great way to connect with your audience and make a memorable, more engaging presentation? Be funny. When used strategically, this is a great way to capture attention.
Morgan Spurlock makes wonderful use of this in his TED talk. For example, in one of his earliest statements, he offered individuals the opportunity to buy the rights to name his TED talk—which he refers to again at the end, where he reveals the title. He peppers the entire presentation with humorous commentary that nonetheless supports his point.
Create relevant jokes or find a way to bring out the humor in your subject, and your audience will be much more engaged and more likely to remember your words.
9 Include a Video or Animation
It’s important to have well-designed slides, but sometimes, that just doesn’t cut it when it comes to holding your audience’s attention. A good way to help with this is to include an informative video or add animated parts.
Tim Cook does this in a 2013 presentation. During the presentation he showcases a video of Apple products around the world, which furthers his point and draws the audience in.
Create your own video, or find one that can help illustrate your point, and you’re on your way to a much more engaging presentation.
10 Move and Gesture
Generally speaking, people will pay more attention to moving objects. They cause people to stop and look. Naturally, this also applies to speaking. Getting out from behind the podium, moving around, and gesturing can help keep an audience’s attention.
Steve Jobs does this quite a bit. In this case, he moves around constantly, gesturing to help emphasize his points, while his presentation plays in the background.
You can step down into the audience, walk with them, talk with them, or stay near your presentation; just make sure you have a microphone handy.
11 Use Props
Using props can quickly turn a run-of-the-mill presentation into a unique, interactive experience. Kenny Nguyen demonstrates this well. In his talk he often refers to the “sword of yes” and “shield of no.” Naturally he picks up a sword and shield from the table to help demonstrate his points.
Choosing similar props can help you really illustrate your points—and make it that much more entertaining, too.
12 Communicate With Images
A picture can speak a thousand words. Naturally, they can be used to communicate concepts that, for the sake of space or time, you might not be able to include in the presentation itself. Go Viral on the Social Web: The Definitive How-To Guide! uses this strategy to its advantage.
The presentation includes many images as backgrounds and minimal text. The images used always either enhance what’s being said or, in some cases, provide the answer for viewers. For example, the second slide states “The Landscape Today,” and includes a bleak background with a broken, tilted picture frame, emphasizing the idea that the following slides (which describe the landscape) offer some pretty disheartening information.
Using images in a related fashion can help express your views and emphasize your message.
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Visual metaphors can be useful in a similar manner; they can spice up your presentation, illustrate your point, and make your work far more entertaining. James Geary speaks about just how important metaphors are.
His presentation provides several examples of metaphors–such as the phrase “some jobs are jails”–and explains just how hard it is to ignore the lasting power of a well-used metaphor. Because of the connotations a metaphor can bring to the table, their use is an excellent way to imbue added meaning to your words.
14 Make a Provocative Statement
“People don’t care about your brand.” Reading that, you’d probably be compelled to see how the speaker justifies their points, right?
Well, the presentation of the same name does just that—it begins with that unexpected statement, explains why, and then shows you how to overcome that hurdle. Leading with something thought-provoking and surprising entices people, and more than likely they’ll follow along just to see what you have to say.
15 Use Classic Storytelling Techniques
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A presentation is, in a way, like a story—you’re talking about your chosen subject and leading viewers on a journey to discover what that subject means. Moreover, stories hold an intrinsic interest for us. Therefore, you can easily use several storytelling techniques to help improve your presentation.
Alex Blinkoff goes into this in great detail, examining things such as “The Hero’s Journey” and provides several examples of ways to use storytelling techniques in your presentations. Check them out, and decide what might work best for your subject.
16 Do the Unexpected
How many people would typically relate typography and dating? Probably very few people. Naturally, that’s why Fontshop—Typography is so entertaining.
This presentation fully commits to the comparison, too; the words are all specifically chosen to make it sound like an individual going through puberty or looking for a significant other, rather than looking for the right font to use in a given situation. All the while it teaches what it actually wants to get across—the importance of knowing which font to use, and when, for what kind of emotions you want to evoke.
17 Use an Icebreaker
Sometimes, in order to help prime an audience to listen to your words, it’s good to start with something more casual—a game, a joke, or just some friendly conversation. Alex Hunter does this in his presentation; while setting up, he converses casually with the audience, asking who “went to the party last night” and joking with them before shifting into his talk. This gives a more personal, relatable feel to the work.
18 Alter Your Voice
Your tone of voice, your volume, and other vocal aspects can do a number on how people listen to (and receive) your message.
Julian Treasure’s TED talk is all about this, and at the end offers several tips for how to master the use of voice, from changing your speaking pace to speaking in a different pitch.
Try experimenting, and see what you find works best in different situations.
19 Tell a Personal Story
Telling stories from your own life—whether those stories are deeply moving, humorous tales, or just little snippets that allow someone to look into your history—can be a great way to make a presentation more meaningful.
Colin Stokes uses this to his advantage in his TED talk. He begins by talking about the movies he watches with his daughter and what she likes, and then moving into watching a movie with his son, and wondering how it has affected him, allowing him to move seamlessly into his actual points.
Choose a relevant story from your past, and tell it with all the honesty that you can. Your audience will feel that, sympathize, and therefore connect more with your message.
20 Explain Your Reasons
Sometimes, what people really want to know about—more than your product and what it can do—are your reasons for creating the product or presentation in the first place.
Simon Sinek explains quite well why this is so important—the greatest leaders, the ones who inspire the most people, understand why they do the things they do, rather than just what or how.
Explain why your work is important to you, and you’re likely to reach a lot more individuals.
You’ve probably seen plenty of other creative presentation ideas yourself—there are certainly many not on this list. Go searching, and see what other amazing skills you can learn and apply yourself.
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About the Author
Kayla Darling is a writer from Rome, Pennsylvania who has been writing and posting stories online for years. She graduated from Lycoming College with a degree in Creative Writing and a minor in Psychology. She has a passion for community service and storytelling, and probably spends an inordinate amount of time doing both.