The best written or oral presentations in class, businesses, conferences or even TED talks have many things in common. The writing team at Biteable has researched the killer presentation tips and techniques from the experts to find the best advice on how to make a good presentation. Here we go:
The experts all agree on one thing: too much text will kill your presentation. Rule number one in Seth Godin’s extremely popular post on how to make great presentations is: “No more than six words on a slide. EVER. There is no presentation so complex that this rule needs to be broken.” Seth’s technique is to use the slides almost like a chapter heading for the topic he’s talking about, emphasizing the importance of the oral side of presentations. He’s all about smiling at the audience, making eye contact and building a rapport.
Public speaking guru Guy Kawasaki has a rule for the length of presentations called the 10/20/30 rule: he believes a good presentation should have no more than 10 slides, should go for no more than 20 minutes, and the font size should be no less than 30 point. This rule will help you to focus on your core message and only say what is essential to get your point across.
Tony Robbins’ trademark high-energy delivery has made him one of the most well-known motivational speakers in the world. Robbins believes the key to giving an amazing presentation is to believe in what you’re saying 100%, to communicate straight from your heart and try to tell people something real because “information without emotion is not retained.”
Most presentation gurus stress the importance of making eye contact with the audience and smiling, and warn against turning your back or spending too much time looking down into a laptop. Some very good practical advice from author and sought-after public speaker Garr Reynolds is to use a remote to pause and advance your presentation so you have time to be spontaneous and control the flow of the presentation.
With the prevalence of good, free resources on the web, there’s only one excuse for using ugly graphics or fonts, and that’s not knowing where to get good ones. Excellent sources of well-chosen free fonts are Fontsquirrel or Dafont, and equally excellent sources of free pictures are Pixabay, Unsplash and Pexels. Now you have no excuses!
Tony Robbins believes in getting to know his audience and goes to great pains to find out about them before he gives a talk, because “the more you understand what somebody wants, needs, and fears, the more you can figure out how to add value,” he said in an interview in Business Insider. By offering solutions to the problems of the people in the room, you are giving them something of real value to take away. Everything else you say will be self-indulgent and irrelevant.
Steve Jobs was a legendary speaker who would practice meticulously and exhaustively before giving any presentation. He even had standby anecdotes prepared to fill time when the technology he was using to give the presentation failed. He once said “you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving.” The message is simple: mistakes are unavoidable but there’s no need to let them ruin everything. Acknowledge it with a smile and move on.
If you’re after more presentation tips and techniques, I’ve written a short guide on how to write a presentation like a pro here, an article about innovative ideas about how to approach your presentation here, and a simple guide to designing your presentation here. Biteable is a great tool for making presentations, with designer-made templates, animation, footage and music, and it’s free! If this sounds good, you can get started here.