Are Your Presentations Naughty or Nice?

December 18, 2013

‘Twas the night before your presentation, when all through the house...

You've created your slides,

And checked them all twice.

But will the points you're portraying

Seem naughty or nice?

Here are seven tips from Santa's elves for your next presentation:

Santa Wouldn’t Like this Clause...

"HVAC integrated infrastructure solutions limit intermediation and AHT at local POPS."

Say what? It’s easier to say Santa can’t get down the chimney. Forget giving the gift of corporate lingo gab! Entice, engage and enlighten, or you’ll go up in flames like a yule log. In other words, use real words in your presentation.

Deck the Halls with Pictures

You not only want people to remember your messages, you want them talking about them, too. People are more likely to remember things if they see a picture of it. This is called the Picture Superiority Effect. Make sure your images back up your messages.

Sleigh Them with Super Headlines

Plow through the slush by creating strong headlines that stick. Sentence fragments and labels like "Q4 Highlights" will leave your audience feeling cold. A headline like, "Strong December Numbers Drive 4th Quarter," is much more powerful -- and informative. Your goal is to get your message across at a glance -- and then provide the supporting information after.

Give Frosty Some Teeth

Don’t snow your audience with woolly, unclear slides that leave them wondering what you’re talking about. Every slide deserves a sharp, clear, point -- one that your audience can instantly understand. As a presenter, you need to learn how to build a deck that has points, and then learn how to sharpen them.

All is Clear, All is Bright

Muddy messaging and slushy slides are created when there is no solid foundation. That, almost always,  comes in 3 parts: 1) a hook that gets people on the edge of their seats; 2) the meat, i.e. how you organize the content of your presentation; and 3) the payoff, a.k.a. the conclusion or call-to-action.

Don’t Blitzen with Bullets

There could be a Dasher for the exits if you do. Occasionally bullets work, but never load more than three on a slide (and try to not include any at all if you can help it!). The real ammunition behind making a powerful point starts with delivering bulletproof presentations.

Every Santa Needs a Little Elf

It’s time for you to present. So, you’re not Steve Jobs, Richard Branson or some smooth-talking politician, but you don’t have to be. There are many different types of presenters. Play to your strengths and think of PowerPoint as your sidekick. Work together -- even Santa needs a little help every now and then.

Wishing you many Merry Messages and a Happy New Year of Presentations.

Read More: Creating 3 Content Plays With One Article

About the Author

Gavin McMahon is a PowerPoint obsessive. He’s a founding partner at fassforward Consulting Group, and blogs about PowerPoint, Communication, Infographics and Message Discipline at You can tweet to him @powerfulpoint. Google+.

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