Creating a Great Presentation 

September 3, 2010 

There are lots of good posts out there on how to give a great presentation, but how do you put a good one together? How do you take your audience on a ride with your content even as you are hula-hooping and doing all your other best saleswomany tricks to give it enthusiasm, conviction and clarity? Below is a breakdown of how I took what was sure to be a stinker of a presentation and turned it around.

I was preparing for a huge upcoming presentation, and I mean a big one! This would take our company to the next level, and I really really wanted it - it was fun, big budget, good client kinda juicy project and I wanted it bad. I had my slides, I made sure I covered the big picture elements from our proposal, and I took a look at it all and thought, "This is total shit". My presentation was going to be boring, slow, labored and I would end up red faced, hands in pockets, sweating and wishing my hour was up within the first 5 minutes.

I could tell because I was bored just looking at it, why the hell would the client feel any different? So, I deleted that presentation and started over. I asked myself the following questions and came up with a presentation that was a million times better. Ask yourself what you would answer to these questions (I've included my answers so you can imagine how my slides shaped up) and then try making your next presentation about your answers and less about regurgitating factoids about how many awards you've won, how you execute the concept, relevant case studies blah de blah blah blech.

1. What is one of the most creatively inspiring things you ever saw in your life?
- Pictures of the cave paintings at Lascoux, France.

2. Why?
- Because humans have been using imagery to communicate for thousands of years and it's beautiful to look at. It still tells its story.

3. What freaks you out?
- Outer space.

4. What amazes you?
- Language.

5. What excites you about your job?
- Problem solving.

6. What makes you special?
- I'm funny and use great metaphors to communicate concepts.

7. How do you make the magic happen?
- I mix process, fun, creativity, listening, problem solving and talent into a big bowl.

8. What scares you?
- Failure. But without it I'm doomed.

9. If you could invent a toy, what kind of toy would it be?
- Something that turned music I was listening to into a palette of oil paints and wherever my eyes moved marks would be created. Hey - it's a dream, ok, not something I really could invent.

10. What is one thing that you are bad at?
- I can't focus on details, or maybe I can't stay focused for long enough to deal with the details.

11. What makes you mad at clients?
- When I see horrible sites and stupid marketing and dumbed down ideas catering to the lowest common denominator assuming that they are stupid.

12. What do you provide to your clients?
- Solutions that make them more honest, more organized, more respectful to their audiences, and more likely to succeed.

13. What is something you want everyone to know about you?
- I love dogs.

Now, I realize this is kind of random but trust me - start putting your presentations together from a different mindset, entertain your audience, tell them something they didn't already know. After all, this work we do is as much about relationships as is it about the work, so let them get to know you - how you think, what your passions are, and let the great work follow.

Oh yeah - I use Keynote to put my presentations together and I love Flickr, Google Images and iStock for finding images to use. Remember, pictures can say a thousand words. Skip the bullet points - say it with pictures on screen and speak your points with your voice.

Got any amazing presentations you've given, or tips to get there? Do share. After all, I showed you mine ;)