Archive for February 15, 2012

Fix Your Presentations: 21 Quick Tips

Drowning in a PowerPoint swamp? Use these easy tricks to make your presentations more compelling & persuasive.
Most business presentations range from incredibly boring to, well … just plain boring. I’m sure you have a few offenders within your own team.

It doesn’t have to be this way, though.

Here are 21 ways to make certain that your presentations hold your audience’s interest–and help them make the decision you want them to make.


  • Build a story. Presentations are boring when they present scads of information without any context or meaning. Instead, tell a story, with the audience as the main characters (and, specifically, the heroes).
  • Keep it relevant. Audiences only pay attention to stories and ideas that are immediately relevant. Consider what decision you want them to make, then build an appropriate case.
  • Cut your intro. A verbose introduction that describes you, your firm, your topic, how you got there, only bores people. Keep your intro down to a sentence or two, even for a long presentation.
  • Begin with an eye-opener. Kick off your talk by revealing a shocking fact, a surprising insight, or a unique perspective that naturally leads into your message and the decision you want made.
  • Keep it short and sweet. When was the last time you heard someone complain that a presentation was too short? Make it half as long as you originally thought it should be (or even shorter).
  • Use facts, not generalities. Fuzzy concepts reflect fuzzy thinking. Buttress your argument, story and message with facts that are quantifiable, verifiable, memorable and dramatic.
  • Customize for every audience. One-size-fits-all presentations are like one-size-fits-all clothes; they never fit right and usually make you look bad. Every audience is different; your presentation should be too.
  • Simplify your graphics. People shut off their brains when confronted with complicated drawings and tables. Use very simple graphics and highlight the data points that are important.
  • Keep backgrounds in the background. Fancy slide backgrounds only make it more difficult for the audience to focus on what’s important. Use a simple, single color, neutral color background.
  • Use readable fonts. Don’t try to give your audience to get an eyestrain headache by using tiny fonts. Use large fonts in simple faces (like Arial); avoid boldface, italics and ALL-CAPS.
  • Don’t get too fancy. You want your audience to remember your message, not how many special effects and visual gimcracks you used. In almost all cases, the simpler the better.


Now send a link to this column to all your colleagues. Maybe the worst offenders will take the hint.

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Geoffrey James is an award-winning journalist who has written hundreds of articles on sales and marketing, and has helped thousands of sales professionals communicate more effectively with customers. James’ latest book is How to Say It: Business to Business Selling. @Sales_Source
Reprinted from

Social Media Connections

About two months ago Gayle Gross had asked me to connect with her on LinkedIn. She has a website The 10 Day Book Club. She works with authors and helps them find resources to make it easier for them to be productive authors.

We talked originally about Gayle finding a sponsor who would sponsor my author program. I didn’t hear any more from her for about a month when one of my authors said she had told him that her clients get a discount just for being part of her network.

Then she contacted me on Skype and asked if I would be available to talk with her about doing a teleseminar. Of course I made myself available. She had one of her associates join in on the conversation and we talked about what I might be able to do for the teleseminar without over stepping what the offer.

We talked about 45 minutes and decided we’d produce two teleseminars at the end of the month and focus on the marketing aspects of the author program.

It was a lot of fun to talk with them and find we have a great collaborative connection and will hopefully have many more events we will be able to produce together.