How to Make a Killer Presentation

How to make a killer presentation

Sharing strong fourth quarter numbers? Play the theme from Rocky.

Some marketing folks thrive on being in front of a crowd, basking in the warmth of a spotlight. Others dry heave backstage before going on. But no matter what, presenting is part of the marketing gig. You do it at board meetings, or to employees, colleagues, or anyone you need to persuade.

And, if you’re like the vast majority of presenters in the world, you plod through your PowerPoint schpeel frame by frame, bullet by bullet.

Come on, now, you’re in marketing! This is about getting people excited… on board with your point of view… interested! Today, we’ll show you seven cool tricks from the ad agency world that will help whip your audience into a nice little lather.

How to go from ho-hum to humming in 7 easy steps…

1. Dowse your audience with a bucket of ice water… metaphorically speaking, of course. What we’re suggesting here is to begin your talk in some compelling or even offbeat way, but ties to your main point. It’ll snap your audience awake and get their brains percolating.

Sharing strong fourth quarter numbers? Play the theme from Rocky.

Presenting an aggressive brand-building plan? Use children’s blocks to make a structure, explaining how each block has meaning to the big picture.

You get the idea. At the very least, start with a provocative fact, question, quote or story. Throw an engaging photo up on the screen. Rattle them. It’s OK.

2. Don’t just lecture… engage. Mental prodding will keep the herd of brains in front of you moving! So every so often, ask questions… take an audience survey… call on someone to help you demonstrate something. It will keep the audience a-buzzing.

3. Know thy stuff, but keepeth loose. This one takes a little practice, but it’s worth it. Know the general points you want to make, inside and out—but be flexible when you present them. Read your audience. If they’re interested, expand on the subject. If you’re losing them, move on.

4. Take PowerPoint “for a little ride,” and lose it at the truck stop. Must everyone, everywhere, use PowerPoint? Consider some other method, like big placards. A pad with markers (especially if you can doodle). Or maybe a presentation with no text at all. (We’ve seen fascinating presentations that used only pictures… watch some TED talks!)

5. Make your point with a story. A good story is like a movie in a person’s mind. It has tremendous sticking power. Make it vivid and interesting, and you’ll make your point in a way your audience won’t forget.

6. Be fun to watch. You’ve probably seen him: The speaker that makes his presentation like he’s reading the death tolls from a natural disaster. Be the anti-dull. Move around. Step off the stage and into the audience. Be animated. Pause for effect. Repeat an important point. It’s better to be over-the-top dramatic than six-feet-under boring.

7. Tidy it all up at the end. OK, you started your presentation in a really cool way. You engaged your audience, kept their minds sizzling. You had some great points, and you made them, swimmingly. Now it’s time for the close.

People always love nice, neat little endings. That’s why sitcoms have always been so popular—every problem in the world, wrapped up in 30 minutes. So it’s important to let your audience know that this is the end. That may encompass reviewing your ideas, or better yet, tying the ending back to the way you opened your presentation (the full circle idea).

These steps may seem a tad scary, we know. That’s OK… step out, and try some of them. You’ll find, with just a little imagination and fun, your audience will listen and remember what you have to say. Break a leg.

CI-Group, a New Jersey advertising agency, provides digital marketing and advertising consulting to Fortune 2000 companies in a wide range of industries. Founded nearly 30 years ago and based in Whitehouse, N.J., CI-Group is recognized as a top advertising agency specializing in marketing strategies, event marketing, promotions, direct marketing, digital printing, warehousing and fulfillment. Companies seeking an award-winning interactive agency that merges creative strategies with effective tactics should call 908-534-6100 or visit

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