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5 Powerpoint Tips to Improve Your Presentation Skills Overnight

Ryan Dube 19-02-2014

You step up to the podium. Your palms are sweaty, your heart is racing, and just as you’re about to open your mouth and speak, your mind goes blank. If this is one of your worst nightmares, I might be able to help you out.


Creating a Powerpoint presentation, or slides using any similar presentation software 7 Free PowerPoint Alternatives for Your Presentation Needs Microsoft PowerPoint is great, but what if you can't afford it? Here are the best free PowerPoint alternatives for presentations. Read More for that matter, is almost too simple. People are able to throw together some of the most atrocious, ugly, and utterly boring presentations on the planet. And people let them. And they infect the boardrooms and meeting rooms of every industry with their yawn-inspiring drudgery. You don’t need to contribute to this tragedy. Create interesting, inspiring and information presentations and people will be enthusiastic about what you’re talking about. Most importantly, it’ll keep them awake.

Bored Audience
Bored Audience by jbherrera via Flickr

So what’s the secret to giving a great presentation How The Pros Do It: Avoiding Embarrassment & Delivering Perfect Presentations Ah! The presentation. Some of us love them. Some of us hate them. But no matter what, we all usually have to give them at one point or another, whether in school, work or even... Read More ? Well, last year and this year I’ve had the opportunity to give more presentations than I’ve given in the 15 years since I started working professionally. It’s not easy, because the truth is that I hate talking in front of people, and I don’t enjoy the limelight. However, if you want to have any hope of being successful at what you do, you need to be able to present your work and your ideas clearly and concisely. You need to be able to get people interested and enthused.

A great deal of doing that involves putting together an interesting slideshow. Of course, a fair part of it is also how you present – where you look, your body language and your speaking ability. I’ll touch on all of those points below.

1. Be Personal and Authentic

Before I get to the Powerpoint presentation part of this, it’s most important to talk about the personal side of this endeavor. While there’s a tremendous temptation – especially at business meetings – to step up in front of the podium or at the head of the boardroom table and start preaching a formal, well-rehearsed speech, I strongly advise against it.


When you do that, you come across as a sales person. No one likes to be sold. Imagine, instead, that you stroll calmly up to the podium with your hands in your pockets, turn to the audience with a big smile on your face, and ask everyone how they’re doing? Instead of a “speech”, a memorable presentation comes across more as a conversation.

You may be leading the audience along the path through the dark forest, but the audience needs to feel like you and they are in this journey together. Crack a joke. Tell a personal story about your day. Do something that makes them feel like they really know you. Then, you’re ready to dig into the slides.


The first slide goes a long way toward helping you gain that connection with your audience. I always love using quotes – because generally quotes get people in a certain state of mind. They start opening their minds and thinking at a higher level – outside the box. The first slide should offer prompts about what you’re going to say about yourself, but that’s all they are – just prompts.


The most important tip I can offer here is this – keep the text on the slide short and simple. Don’t write crazy-long sentences. No one wants to read them! Use the slide to highlight important points, and then speak to those prompts. If you studied your material well enough and you know the information (as you should, if you’re giving the presentation), then you have nothing to worry about. Just take a deep breath, look at your prompt, and have a conversation with the crowd.

2. Ask Questions

The experience you want your audience to have is that you’re traveling down this path together. There are mysteries to be solved; Questions to be answered. If you start out by outlining those questions at the start of your presentation, it frames the content for the audience and prepares them for everything you’re about to talk about. Best of all, it naturally sparks their curiosity.


You’ve seen it at the movie theater, when a pop quiz question is posted on the screen before the previews. You can hear the audience murmuring as they try to come up with the answer. It’s human nature to love a mystery, and to be the one to solve it. So, create a mystery for your audience. Get them trying to figure out the answers, and then start leading them in the direction you’d like them to go for the answers.


3. Use Diagrams as Much as Possible

One survey, according to Forbes, revealed that most people would rather have no sex than sit through another Powerpoint presentation. Seriously. And the biggest complaint? Too much text.

The best presentations will be made up of huge, detailed, and easy to understand diagrams and pictures. In fact, I would say that you should strive to have more imagery on your slide than text.


People love to be entertained. They love to see interesting images and diagrams as someone describes what they are looking at. It’s like going on a guided tour at the zoo. You may start out not knowing what the heck you’re looking at, but by the time the guide is through educating you, you feel like an expert. And you didn’t even mind bearing 5 minutes of what would otherwise be completely boring talk, because you had something interesting to look at. That’s the biggest secret to an awesome presentation.


4. Charts and Graphs

Another way to keep the excitement high during a presentation is to identify information that really stands out. Maybe it’s data that really shows a dramatic point – a standout bar in a graph that proves your point beyond any doubt. You can say your point, and you can write it in text, but when you put that point on a graph and put it right in front of people? Well, let’s just say that those are the moments when you will overhear a few “wow” and “seriously?” comments from the audience.


When you hear that, you know you’ve hit another home run. Don’t overdo it with the charts and graphs though. Too much data can actually get just as boring as too much text, but peppered throughout your presentation, those hard-hitting points will have the greatest impact.

5. A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words

Just like diagrams appeal to the human desire for visual stimulation, pictures in general go further toward making complicated ideas and concepts clearer. In fact, you can create some of the most interesting Powerpoint slides 5 Tools to Give an Online Presentation From Anywhere Giving an online presentation can be tricky without the right software. These online presentation tools make it easy! Read More by simple pasting a diagram, photo or some other image stretched out onto the entire slide.


As your audience stares at the image that’s filling the entire screen (or in some cases a giant, big-screen floor to ceiling display), you can use your notes to “guide” the audience through what they’re looking at.  You’ll keep their interest, and they’ll remember  your presentation better than most others.

Avoid Videos

I should also note that if you are tempted to show a video somewhere in your presentation – it’s not a good idea. Videos actually interrupt the flow and tone of your presentation. It transitions from you being the “guide”, to the narrator of the video being the “guide”. Following a video, there’s always this awkward silence as the presenter tries to recover where they left off – and nine times out of ten the video has put much of your audience to sleep.

5 Rules for a Killer Presentation No One Will Forget

So, just remember the five basic rules for a killer presentation:

  • Be personable,
  • ask questions,
  • use diagrams,
  • use charts and graphs, and
  • use lots of images and pictures.

Of course you also have to study the material and know it well. Finally, just step into that boardroom or conference hall, take a few slow, deep breaths, and then knock their socks off.

Related topics: Microsoft PowerPoint, Presentations.

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  1. Jesse Reyolds
    March 2, 2017 at 5:34 pm

    This website is known as a walk-by means of for all the info you wished about this and didn’t know who to ask. Glimpse right here, and also you’ll positively uncover it.

    • joe
      October 3, 2017 at 12:54 pm


  2. Inaniy
    February 29, 2016 at 6:04 am

    Ryan dube what if it is not appropriate for the audience to look for the picture pls reply asap because it is so important

  3. Prakkash swami
    December 4, 2015 at 7:24 am

    Very informative. Thanks Mr. Dube. At many occasions we find serious audience so this is the useful article to deal with the situation.

  4. Anonymous
    June 19, 2015 at 6:16 pm

    And what if you are having an important 1 minute video that you reckon is relevant for your presentation?

    • Ryan Dube
      June 20, 2015 at 4:27 am

      Good question. I've seen them used successfully, but usually they have no sound and the narrator was talking during the video. The video was sort of a how-to showing the process of doing something.

      • Anonymous
        June 20, 2015 at 7:43 am

        Thank you Mr Dube.

        Did you also know that your Surname is completely black in my country, South Africa.

        ...Remember the late legendary Lucky Dube?

        • Ryan Dube
          June 20, 2015 at 2:09 pm

          I did know! In fact, there's an all-black music group here called The Dube Brothers. I think it's pretty awesome when a surname stretches across racial boundaries. :-)

    April 29, 2014 at 7:05 pm


  6. Karl Hungus
    March 3, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    If you want some real tips on creating effective PowerPoint presentations, check-out the following article:


  7. Richard Greaves
    February 26, 2014 at 8:29 pm

    I would love to hear what functions in Keynote, a PDF document, HaikuDeck or any presentation software make it better than Powerpoint? Or explain one or two reasons Powerpoint is toxic so I see the value of taking up new software. There is nothing in this "5 Powerpoint Tips", post pointing to software. It focuses on diagrams, charts, graphs and pictures.

    In training, I sometimes talk & explain while 2-3 minute silent videos take you to a shop to watch a factory process I don't want to describe with still pictures or my hands.

    Keynote requires an Apple product. HaikuDeck needs an iPad or Internet access. At least tell me SOMETHING of value in your comment about what makes it worthwhile to spend money on new gear or software.

  8. Demola
    February 26, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    Actually No 6 is: Don't Use Powerpoint. I use HaikuDeck for my presentations. I know I can emulate the style in Powerpoint but....

  9. James B
    February 24, 2014 at 4:35 pm

    You forgot number 6: Use Keynote instead. Your presentations will be over 9000 times better!

    Seriously though - good tips. I still find people who just put their text on the slide then read it out. Instant loss of respect regardless of their qualifications.

  10. Rajan S
    February 21, 2014 at 6:06 am

    In Microsoft Power Point, there are many customized features like graphs, facts, representation theme and layout available. These things makes your presentation like a orator. Then you easily success to grab user's attention and interest towards topic. 5 features that are given in above resource, seems useful.

  11. Haarlson
    February 21, 2014 at 2:29 am

    Too glib. Overstating the obvious. Believe in what you say — say only what you believe — use the slides to carry you through.

  12. Gene
    February 20, 2014 at 4:29 am

    I appreciate these pointers. Too many times I have sat through powerpoint pesentations showing all text and having it all read to me by the presenter. Another thing to avoid is showing individual slides too long.