20 Quick Rules To Make Your Presentation Better

Last Updated Feb 11, 2011 5:35 PM EST

Presentations are a golden opportunity to get decision-makers on board with your agenda. Unfortunately, the average business presentation is usually boring or irritating or both. (See "Top 10 Reasons Your Presentations Sucks.") Here are twenty quick rules (based upon conversations with presentation gurus Terri Sjodin and Stephen M. Kosslyn) that will make your presentation more memorable and more convincing:

THE FORMAT:

  • RULE #1: Prepare thoroughly by researching the audience.
  • RULE #2: Select a slide background that's unobtrusive.
  • RULE #3: Use a simple font that's easy to read.
  • RULE #4: Have a cover slide identifies the audience and the event.
  • RULE #5: Use color fonts and boldface only to highlight what's important.
  • RULE #6: Use only simple graphics that highlight what's important.
  • RULE #7: Limit each slide's text so it can read 30 seconds or less.
  • RULE #8: Make sure every slide be read from the back of the room.
  • RULE #9: Eliminate ALL UPPERCASE, underlining and italics.
THE CONTENTS:
  • RULE #10: Have an opening statement captures attention.
  • RULE #11: Use words that persuade rather than lecture.
  • RULE #12: Support ALL your statements with hard evidence.
  • RULE #13: Remove all the biz-blab and jargon.
  • RULE #14: Only use anecdotes or analogies that are vivid.
YOURSELF:
  • RULE #15: Rehearse the presentation until you're comfortable.
  • RULE #16: Be enthusiastic about the message you're conveying.
  • RULE #17: Be confident that the presentation will win business.
  • RULE #18: Prepare yourself to answer likely questions.
  • RULE #19: Use the time effectively and appropriately.
  • RULE #20: Always end with clear call to action.

For more on sales presentations, check out: