3 Public Speaking Tips Every Presenter Must Know

When it comes to public speaking, even the most confident-looking individuals may stumble when faced with a sizable audience. When provided with a powerful platform for sharing messages and ideas, it can be tricky to deliver an excellent performance without losing your nerve. This is why politicians, industry experts, and various performers have allocated a good portion of their lives to acquire the necessary skills to excel in this endeavor.

There are several factors that come into play when speaking to the public: you have to be mindful of how you present yourself; the content of your speech; and how you relay your message. You have to take on a calculative approach while preparing because it will affect you far longer than the time you’re on stage. Improving your skills in public speaking skills can help in generating more awareness for your organization or cause after your engagement is over.

To assist you in preparing for this daunting task, here are three fundamental public speaking tips to knock your next speech out of the park:

Prioritize preparation

public speaking tip: preparing structure, design and story for your speech

Structure, Design, and Stories

Always trust your instincts if you think you’re not 100% prepared. Preparation is key when it comes to public speaking as it allows you to organize your content properly, as well as make it more impactful.

Taking more time to prepare will allow you to add enlightening elements by including personal elements like anecdotes, stories and also let you work on your presentation design. It’s also advisable to watch videos of public speaking professionals on stage to see how they’ve performed and/or how they were able to craft their speeches.

The first stage of preparation is to get into the right mental state where you’ve done the work to build the foundation of your upcoming speech with your stories, slides and the outcome you want to achieve.

Don’t memorize, internalize the delivery

It’s said that the best presenters don’t memorize their speech. Instead, you want to familiarize yourself with the overall structure of the presentation and rather than recite the words verbatim, seek to be conversational.

Intently familiarizing yourself with your content as well as the underlying ideas behind it will lead you to have an easier time in conveying your message in a way that’s authentic and natural.

Try to talk through the presentation out loud and fill in the blanks without memorizing your script, you’ll find that you’re comfortable to even present it without presentation slides or holding a script because the story tends to come out more naturally in speech.

Study your audience

public speaking tip: know your audience before giving your presentation

Part of succeeding in public speaking is making sure that your talk is relevant to the audience.
For example: Speaking to a group of executives about that latest video game will leave your message falling flat even before you’ve truly started to connect.

Create a general evaluation of the demographic present for your speech to reach out to them in the right way.

Level of comprehension

Speaking at a high-level to a novice audience and on a basic level for a technically erudite audience is a public speaking sin you’d want to avoid.

Try to get a hint of the general populace of the audience you’re speaking to and how knowledgeable they are. Are you speaking to senior executives or ones that just joined the company? Are you talking to subject matter experts or sales people that are on the ground?

Different audiences call for different tones and words that you choose to use.

Consider Culture

When presenting in a foreign country, you’d want to pay attention to any cultural differences to avoid a faux pas. Consider if the references you want to make are appropriate or offensive, consider whether the way you’re dressing is well accepted in those communities too.

These considerations will also affect whether you deliver your presentation using a more formal approach or try to adopt a more comedic and lighthearted style of delivery.

Here’s a video of Seth Godin speaking at the Gel Conference with a touch of humor. When speaking to an audience of creatives and marketers, this can be considered apt. If it was an event with a more serious tone or in a conservative society Japan, for instance, this style might not be so appropriate.

Reference Industry Terms

A great way to quickly build rapport and authority with audiences is when you use words that they use in their line of work.

Making your presentation relevant to their every day is a public speaking technique to be adhered to. Spending a little extra time to do a quick Google search to pick up on industry buzzwords and happenings can quickly help you establish common ground with a skeptical audience.

People appreciate it when speakers actually take them into account when preparing for the speech. No matter how hard you may try, the likelihood is that audiences will instantly know if you are insufficiently or altogether unfamiliar with the type of people you’re speaking to.

As general as your topic might be, it’s always better to study your audience first before speaking to them to leave a better impression.

Present an engaging personality


obama when public speaking tips

Regardless of the kind of audience you have, however, there is one thing that they always want – an engaging speaker. Even though you’re speaking in public, many people might prefer someone who speaks as if they’re in a private or intimate conversation. A connection is vital in effectively conveying your message, which is your sole objective at the end of the day.

You’re putting forth your own words and methodologies to be absorbed by people who might not be familiar with them. If you don’t share these in an engaging way, you’re setting up yourself for failure.

Take into account your vocal tone, body language, facial expressions, and timing when preparing for a speech. Even simple gestures can significantly contribute to your presentation.

To illustrate, some hand gestures include: placing it on your chest to emphasize an emotional point; showing a number through your fingers after saying it; and using both hands to represent two separate groups. Subtle cues such as these help your audience to keep track of the presentation not only mentally, but visually as well.

Amy Cuddy shares about the power of positive body language and gestures in her widely-acclaimed TED talk:

In addition, you always have to be the first to put in a lot of energy, which is a big ask in a room of anything more than a hundred people. Otherwise, your audience probably won’t have any enthusiasm left to listen until you finish. By doing all of this, you can bridge the divide between you and your listeners. It can also compel them to ask questions at the end, or even try to make your acquaintance once you step off the stage.

Here’s an example of Tony Robbins commanding the stage as one man with a boundless well of energy, notice his exaggerated hand gestures that come in useful when working with a large audience:

Without a doubt, an engaging personality can take you much further in public speaking when managed properly.

Your first foray into public speaking can be nerve-wracking. The best way to circumvent the nervousness is to consistently seek out more public speaking opportunities and perfect your process of preparation. Some of the best presenters of our time still admit to being nervous before their presentations, but they’ve learned to harness that energy to do an even better job!

To summarize, here are the three big public speaking tips that you need to know to boost your next speech:

  1. Prioritize preparation time to garner your public speaking ammunition in the form of stories, visuals, and delivery ability
  2. Study your audiences intimately to ensure you provide relevant content they want to hear about
  3. Present an engaging personality that people want to connect with better hand gestures and energy

Did you enjoy those public speaking tips? Let us know what else you’d like to see in the comments.

Clicker Review: Logitech Spotlight Wireless Presenter

Say hello to a whole new method of doing your presentation with Logitech Spotlight wireless presenter. Unlike your traditional laser pointer, this new technology allows you to highlight your key points with a “spotlight” that highlights an area of emphasis on your screen. The buttons are perfectly positioned for use, so you’ll never have to experience the anxiety of fumbling with an awkwardly positioned button on your wireless presenter. Everything about this pointer spells sleekness, minimalism and ergonomic design.

Naturally, at the office, we’re all ecstatic about getting to try it as presentation professionals. But with a hefty price tag, is it worth it?

Well, here is our official HighSpark review:

When I first held it, I couldn’t help but notice how light and simple it was. With only three buttons and a USB dongle inserted at one end, the Logitech Spotlight does away with distracting switches, panels and buttons characteristic of other pointers and presenter remotes in the market.The lightweight pointer measures only 0.48 x 1.10 x 1.59 in. and is portable enough to be taken anywhere for any presentation. It also comes in three different colours – black, silver and gold. The smooth, brushed metal surface was reminiscent of the time I first held my Macbook in my arms. The remote feels sturdy enough that it won’t spoil if you drop it during use and light enough that it won’t tire the presenter out.

Charging the presenter remote

This remote can hold a really mean charge. On a one-minute charge, the Logitech Spotlight presenter remote can last for up to 3-hours! It works with any universal micro-USB charging wire so if you’re on Android, you can use the same wire! There’s a jack right below the presenter remote that allows you to fit your wires into the sleek body of the remote without any need to change batteries every time it runs out of juice. The only gripe I had with this is because the wire insertion point is buried deep into the base of the remote – it’s a little cumbersome to insert the charger wire inside the body.

Setting Up The Logitech Spotlight Presenter

Setting up was a no-brainer. To link up your laptop with the pointer, simply download the app from the official website, insert the dongle and you’re good to go. The Logitech Spotlight can be connected to both laptops and mobile phones via Bluetooth or USB Type C. For some extra help on using the pointer, an intuitive tutorial is available to guide you through the process of setting up and mastering all its functions. That being said, previous editions of Logitech’s presenter remotes don’t require special software. So if you’re not keen on installing the plugin before using the remote, this presenter remote might not be for you.

Wireless Presenter Functions

Once the initial setup is done, the fun begins. The new Logitech Spotlight takes pride in the level of customization made available to its users and puts the ‘fun’ in ‘functional’. You now have the power to decide the controls of the three buttons – the pointer, next button and back button.

Customize Keystrokes

The Spotlight’s app provides multiple customization options to create that perfect user experience. For example, holding on to the next button could lead you to a blank screen, volume control or even a customized keystroke. By eliminating extra actions needed to achieve certain results, it brings you closer to a seamless presentation.


Just like its name suggests, the Logitech Spotlight’s star feature is its spotlight function. This function enables you to draws your audience’s attention to a specific area of focus using a round “spotlight” against a darkened background. Now, you are able to bring your viewers through your presentation and highlight important points without losing their focus. With the help of the app, you are also able to customize the spotlight’s features to include coloured highlights, or even magnify information within the area of focus. Depending on your personal preference and the type of presentation you’re giving, you can afford to make some quick customizations to make the pointer cursor fit your own style.


In addition to the spotlight function, the pointer also comes with a timer – a lifesaver for all presenters who find it challenging to keep an eye on the clock during their presentations. Not only will the device count down the remaining time you have for your presentation, it can also send you a vibration alert when the time is almost up. All the alerts can be adjusted through the app to ensure that you never overrun your presentations again.

Using Logitech Spotlight at Work


My colleague and I decided to give the Logitech Spotlight a go at our presentation design workshop for DBS Bank a couple of weeks ago. During the workshop, we covered multiple topics, from graphs to typography, and the pointer definitely helped in bringing across the highlighted information more powerfully. Unsurprisingly, the Spotlight remote stole the show – our participants were impressed by the technology and many approached us with queries on how they could get their hands on one as well. Being presenters themselves, problems such as getting the audience to focus on key points or needing to zoom into specific data were familiar challenges they had to deal with for almost every presentation. With the Logitech Spotlight, these problems can easily be solved without too much work.

We also had our sales trainer David King test it out during his latest sales training course too! Naturally, he found it to be a breath of fresh air versus conventional wireless presenter remotes.

david using logitech spotlight wireless presenter

That said, the only drawback was that he had to take a good 10 minutes to download the plugin, install the software and get up to speed on how to use the remote for the first time. After that, it was smooth sailing!

Overall Thoughts On The Spotlight Presenter Remote

Using the pointer has been a breeze so far. For my first presentation, I glided through with minimal time wastage and barely any technical trouble when using the remote. Plus, the Logitech Spotlight is also compatible with most types of presentation software, including PowerPoint, Keynote, Prezi and even Google Slides, which makes it a handy tool for most presenters, including myself as I like to dabble with different software.

However, at the price of $128, the Logitech Spotlight can be considered to be a little pricey as compared to other pointers available in the market. If you are a student or an occasional presenter, this might not be the best option for you if you’re on a budget. But if you’re a public speaker or sales professional who depends on delivering effective and powerful presentations it for a living, I would say it is a pretty good investment in your business. After all, the Logitech Spotlight’s ease of use and high functionality makes it the perfect companion for any presenter looking to achieve a seamless, impressive presentation.

Here’s a quick summary of what’s great about the Logitech Spotlight Presenter Remote:


  • Easy to setup
  • Durable and great to hold
  • Very useful proprietary highlight function that increases the effectiveness of your presentations
  • Vibrates when time is almost up
  • Ability to customize keystrokes to the buttons
  • No-frills design to avoid any fumbling during your presentations
  • Really great battery life and no need for AAA batteries
  • Works on numerous types of software


  • Need to install software before use
  • It’s a little pricey
  • Switching between functions is a tad bit difficult with a single function
  • Vibration takes awhile to get used to.
  • Highlight function might be distracting if over-used
  • Charging point is a little too deep into the remote that makes it hard to insert the USB


logitech spotlight wireless presenter high-res shot with dslr with bokeh

Did you manage to get a chance to try the remote? How did you find it? Leave us a comment!

50 Powerful Quotes To Start Your Presentation

When was the last time you attended a conference where the speaker didn’t just say: “Oh hi, my name is XYZ and today, I’ll be speaking to you about Topic X”?

Great stories possess riveting narrative arcs that begin strong and end strong. We’ve written at length about some of the best ways to end your presentation, but how does one design a presentation to start without sounding too cliche?

One of the most powerful ways to begin a presentation is to start by sharing a powerful and memorable quote that relates to the message of your talk.

Powerful quotes have so much power on your presentation. Not only does it help reinforce your message, it also helps boost your credibility since it implied the quote is ‘agreeing’ with your statement.

Take this TED talk by Andrew Solomon for example. Notice how he skilfully uses a quote from a book by Emily Dickinson to set the stage for his numerous anecdotes regarding the topic on Depression in his presentation:


Hence, if you’re looking to follow suit and start your next presentation strong with a powerful quote, we’ve got you covered. Here, we compiled a list of 50 quotes that you can use to boost your next presentation.

50 Powerful Quotes To Start Your Presentation:

1)  The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” – Mark Twain

2) “Yesterday’s home runs don’t win today’s games.” – Babe Ruth

3) “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” – Albert Einstein

4) If you’re too comfortable, it’s time to move on. Terrified of what’s next? You’re on the right track.” – Susan Fales Hill

5)Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” – Bill Gates

6) You can’t look at the competition and say you’re going to do it better. You have to look at the competition and say you’re going to do it differently.” – Steve Jobs

7) Make every detail perfect and limit the number of details to perfect.” – Jack Dorsey

8) Do the one thing you think you cannot do. Fail at it. Try again. Do better the second time. The only people who never tumble are those who never mount the high wire. This is your moment. Own it.” – Oprah Winfrey

9)Your smile is your logo, your personality is your business card, how you leave others feeling after an experience with you becomes your trademark.” – Jay Danzie

10)  “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” – Warren Buffett

11)  “Some entrepreneurs think how can I make a lot of money? But a better way is to think how can I make people’s lives a lot better? If you get it right, the money will come.” – Richard Branson

12)  “When Henry Ford made cheap, reliable cars people said, ‘Nah, what’s wrong with a horse?’ That was a huge bet he made, and it worked.” – Elon Musk

13)  “There are two types of people who will tell you that you cannot make a difference in this world: those who are afraid to try and those who are afraid you will succeed.” – Ray Goforth

14)  “Keep on going, and the chances are that you will stumble on something, perhaps when you are least expecting it. I never heard of anyone ever stumbling on something sitting down.” – Charles F. Kettering

15)  “People rarely buy what they need. They buy what they want.” – Seth Godin

16)  “Please think about your legacy, because you’re writing it every day.” – Gary Vaynerchuck

17)  “The golden rule for every business man is this: Put yourself in your customer’s place.” – Orison Swett Marden

18)  “A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him.”  David Brinkley

19)  “Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing it is stupid.” – Einstein

20)  “The problem with the rat race is that even if you win, you’re still a rat.”  Lilly Tomlin

21)  When you run a part of the relay and pass on the baton, there is no sense of unfinished business in your mind. There is just the sense of having done your part to the best of your ability. That is it. The hope is to pass on the baton to somebody who will run faster and run a better marathon.” – N. R. Narayana Murthy

22)  “Whatever you’re thinking, think bigger.” – Tony Hsieh

23)  “When you find an idea that you can’t stop thinking about, that’s probably a good one to pursue.” – Josh James

24)  “What would you do if you’re not afraid?” – Sheryl Sandberg

25)  “Don’t worry about failure, you only have to be right once.” – Drew Houston

26)  “When I’m old and dying. I plan to look back on my life and say ‘Wow, an adventure’ not, ‘Wow, I sure felt safe’” – Tom Preston Werner

27)  “80% of your sales comes from 20% of your clients.” – Vilfredo Pareto

28)  “You just have to pay attention to what people need and what has not been done.” – Russell Simmons

29)  “We are really competing against ourselves, we have no control over how other people perform.” – Pete Cashmore

30)  “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.” – Wayne Gretzy

31)  “Always remember, your focus determines your reality.” – George Lucas

32)  “If people like you they’ll listen to you, but if they trust you they’ll do business with you.” – Zig Ziglar

33)  “Words may inspire but action creates change.” – Simon Sinek

34)  “It isn’t what we say or think that denies us, but what we do.” – Jane Austen

35)  “Get action. Do things; be sane; don’t fritter away your time; create, act, take a place wherever you are and be someone; get action.” – Theodore Roosevelt

36)  “There is only one boss. The customer.” – Sam Walton

37)  “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” – Barack Obama

38)  “You have to go wholeheartedly into anything in order to achieve anything worth having.” –  Frank Lloyd Wright

39)  “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” – Nelson Mandela

40)  “Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet.” – Bob Marley

41)  “There is no great genius without some touch of madness.”  – Seneca

42)  “If you think you are too small to make an impact try going to bed with a mosquito in the room.” – Ekaterina Walter

43)  “If you just work on stuff that you like and you’re passionate about, you don’t have to have a master plan with how things will play out.” Mark Zuckerberg

44)  “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas Edison

45)  “Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.” – Abraham Lincoln

46)  “Don’t build links. Build relationships.” – Rand Fishkin

47)  “100 percent of the shots you don’t take, don’t go in.” – Wayne Gretzky, Hockey Legend

48)  “If you’ve got an idea, start today. There’s no better time than now to get going. That doesn’t mean quit your job and jump into your idea 100 percent from day one, but there’s always small progress that can be made to start the movement.” – Kevin Systrom, Founder of Instagram

49)  “Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.” – Jack Welch, Former CEO of GE

50)   “You must be very patient, very persistent. The world isn’t going to shower gold coins on you just because you have a good idea. You’re going to have to work like crazy to bring that idea to the attention of people. They’re not going to buy it unless they know about it.” – Herb Kelleher, Founder of Southwest Airlines.

There you have it!

Phew! – now you have an additional 50 powerful quotes that you can add in your presentation arsenal. Leave an unforgettable impression on your presentation with these quotes starting today!

Comment down your favourite quote. And let us know if you have any that we didn’t add to the list!

10 Creative Presentation Ideas To Boost Your Next Talk

Presentations are not easy to do, we get that. They’re time-consuming, stressful, and more often than not, boring. But it doesn’t have to be that way. With the help of the right tools and tricks, you can create an interesting speech in a short period of time without much effort.

Here are 10 creative presentation ideas that you can incorporate into your next talk to give it that extra punch.

Presentation Idea #1.Share a Story – Make it Personal

In general, we recall life’s experiences through moments, not days. Similarly, it is human nature to remember intricate stories, not facts.

In a study conducted by two Stanford professors, they found that the students tested were able to recall words that played a part in constructed stories about six to seven times better than a random set of unrelated words.

This is why presentation storytelling and using narratives is so powerful – it drives that important message home, and inspires action from your key stakeholders or audience.

To make a statement, and leave an impactful message in the minds of your audience, weave a story of a personal situation into your presentation. Share an anecdote, a short story, or a memorable incident related to your talk.

One good example to learn from would be fellow Singaporean Darren Tay’s speech during the World Championship of Public Speaking.

In his speech, Darren narrates an intriguing story of a school bully, and linked it to his message of getting the audience to face their own inner bully, acknowledging its presence, and overcoming it. If he had simply made a point, it would have been forgotten in minutes. However, Darren’s personal story made the audience empathise, driving the key message deeper into their minds.

Presentation Idea #2.Use the Hero’s Journey to Create Your Narrative

We’ve all heard of Star Wars, it’s one of the most successful movie franchises around. But how did it retain an enthusiastic cult even 40 years after its debut?

Well, fans have the monomyth (also known as the hero’s journey) to thank, as the application of this evergreen narrative pattern has allowed us to experience an individual’s journey from start to end. With a strategic sequence of actions, we witnessed a beloved character (Luke Skywalker) leave his world of comfort to face an awakening (The Sith), before returning stronger to conquer the ordeal at hand (as a Jedi Master).

In the original monomyth popularized by Joseph Campbell, there are quite a few steps which may not always be obvious in a hero’s journey. Justin Roiland – the creator of the well-known series ‘Rick & Morty’ uses Dan Harmon’s simplified edition of the monomyth also called the ‘story circle’.

Justin has credited this deceptively simple circle for the riveting yet seemingly nonsensical plot of the series’ episodes that has drawn a cult following of millions of fans worldwide.

This can be applied to your presentations as well. When you bring the audience on a journey, placing them in the shoes of the hero, you can influence them to see the outcome you’re seeking, and the steps needed to get there. Think of your slide narrative as a story, where you show them the beginning (the problem they face), the middle (the actions they need to take) and the end (the ultimate goal of your speech).

We sometimes also see occurences of this in investor pitch decks.

Presentation Idea #3.Break Your Presentation into 3 Big ‘Acts’

From literary classics like Three Little Pigs and A Christmas Carol, to slogans like the Olympics’ Citius, Altius, Fortius, it has been proven that characters or events grow on us when they are grouped in threes to emphasize an idea.

In the presentation sphere, this writing principle – the rule of three as we call it – has allowed contemporary speakers like Steve Jobs and Barack Obama to convey high-level information in a simple and catchy manner.

For example, when he shared with the world a decade ago that Apple would launch the revolutionary iPhone, Steve Jobs said:

“Today, we’re introducing three revolutionary products of this class.

The first one: is a widescreen iPod with touch controls.

The second: is a revolutionary mobile phone.

And the third is a breakthrough Internet communications device.

These are not three separate devices, this is one device, and we are calling it iPhone.

Today, Apple is going to reinvent the phone, and here it is.”

Similarly, Obama struck a chord with the American people during his first inaugural speech with his frank 3-part statement:

“Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered.”

The rule of three helps to keep your content simple, yet memorable enough to help your audience remember the key messages you’re bringing across.

Presentation Idea #4.Ask Provocative Questions

It takes zero effort to ask easy questions. But what happens if we ask mediocre questions? The listener grows bored and begins to tune out from the conversation.

Posing provocative questions gives your presentation an edge over others, and allows them to think about your speech from a different perspective. Take Martin Luther King Jr.’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech for example. He boldly addressed the marginalized Negro population, asking them, “When will you be satisfied?” Imagine the reaction that followed, and the rest, as we say, is history.

It seems challenging, but a question of such nature should not be underestimated as it can serve as a springboard for your audience to crystalize the problem which they have been facing.

Once you’ve asked the question during your presentation, seize the moment! Paint the less-than-ideal scenario that your audience faces, before steering them towards the aspired narrative that you can promise as a solutions provider. Don’t worry about the dozens of other questions they may have – leave them to the Q&A.

Presentation Idea #5.Use Evocative Imagery in Your Presentation

Did you know? Research has shown that our brains process images 60,000 times faster than text. That’s like information transfer on steroids!

Not only are images processed more efficiently, but they also increase our recall of the information as well. For example, one of the proven ways to ensure that learners store memories for the long-term is by pairing ideological concepts with meaningful imagery. A study found that this effect increases over time, and users recalled three times more visual information than textual ones.

In another study from the 1970s, a Canadian psychologist, Lionel Standing, conducted an experiment where subjects were shown 10,000 general, boring images over a few days and tested on their recall after two days. The result was a 66% recall rate.

A smaller set of 1,000 more vivid images were tested as well and the result was an astounding 88% recall rate for pictures such as a dog with a pipe in its mouth. Takeaway: We tend to remember things that are easy for us to visualize.

Other studies have also found that some visuals can cause an emotional, almost visceral reaction. Images can influence us to take action or become more cautious, take a liking to something or shy away from it. That is why some of the best ads of our time have used impactful images. In fact, presentation slides are not that different from a great ad. Both need to be brief, attention-grabbing, and influence audiences to perform an action.

A recent presentation that has used large, full-bleed images to great effect is Elon Musk’s PowerWall showcase. During his talk, he used a variety of different images to depict the scale of pollution and the potential of Tesla’s products.

Imagine if Elon had merely used text to communicate those grandiose ideas, the presentation would have inevitably tanked quickly (think something reminiscent of an early Bill Gates presentation).

When you’re designing your next slide deck, try to incorporate a couple of evocative images for a more memorable, persuasive and captivating presentation.

Presentation Idea #6.Use Visual Metaphors

Many of us retain information well through visuals, and sometimes, it is the best way to bring a concept or message across, ensuring that it stays in the audience’s mind.

Take this image for example, which has been used frequently in dozens of presentations, and which you’d have most likely come across at least once. The hidden iceberg beneath shows a depth that’s not seen by people, and is commonly used by speakers to demonstrate or relate to something unseen, or an underlying issue.  

When you’re choosing an image, a video, or any other visual, make sure that the link to your message is clear enough for the audience to see the relation, while still remaining a little mysterious for them to figure it out themselves.

Presentation Idea #7.Use Live, Physical Props

There are times where you wish to explain or emphasize a concept or an idea. Unfortunately, not everyone can visualize the same way you do, or know exactly what you’re thinking. In these cases where you’re sharing something abstract, physical props can make a huge difference in supporting your talk, and even add a level of novelty and intimacy when used appropriately.

One good example you can learn from would be Bill Gates’ TED talk. In his speech, he discussed about the issue of malaria, while releasing a jar of live mosquitoes into the audience to highlight or ‘shock’ the audience into realizing the importance of malaria prevention.

The move was dramatic and definitely impactful, but most importantly, it pushed the listeners to think from a different perspective.

When you choose your props, think of the main message you’re trying to bring across. Using too many can backfire and bore your audience, so use this technique sparingly.

Presentation Idea #8. Have Obvious Presentation Transitions

How many times have you delivered a presentation halfway, only to notice your audience members looking incredibly lost?

If you lack the time to work on your narrative, try to include transitions, which act as ‘visual signposts’ that guide your audience and you through the presentation.

These do not need to be complex; in fact, it can be extremely simple. In your presentation deck, instead of using the same background throughout, decide on an alternative color or style to differentiate your transition slides from every other slide. These will act as your ‘markers’ to visually indicate to your audience that you’re moving on to your next point. If they got lost anywhere during your presentation, you’ll be able to jolt them back on track.

Once you’ve decided on what these would look like, insert these at specific junctures of your presentation such that they stands out clearly from the rest of the slides.

Presentation Idea #9. Use Quotes to Make Your Point

As you’re about to conclude your presentation, you’ll probably see heads twitching, bodies fidgeting, and cellphones appearing. It’s not an uncommon sight – We generally have short attention spans, and knowing that a presentation is about to end tempts us to begin checking our phones and getting ready to leave.

In fact, it’s a well known fact that humans have a shorter attention span than a goldfish, thanks to smartphones.

To maximize your audience’s remaining attention, a good way to sum up your points and leave an impression would be through a quote.

You may wonder, “If I’m just going to echo what others have said, won’t that reduce my credibility as a speaker?”

Absolutely not! As long as you reference a line that is brief and contextualized to your speech, your chosen quote could serve as a springboard to bring your audience back to the ‘big picture’.

For example, the 2003 World Champion of Public Speaking, Jim Key, quoted Martin Luther King, saying, “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., one of the greatest dreamers of our age, said, “The time is always right to do what is right”.”

He then followed it up with his own interpretation: “That means if it’s right for us to dream as children, then it’s just as right for us to dream as adults.”, before highlighting his message – “The question is: do we have the courage to dream?”

Sharing a quote can also highlight your domain knowledge and preparation, especially if you are, or would like to gain stead as a market leader. You can craft a quote based on your own words, or modify a popular one to match your situation.

The power of quotes and their ability to add credibility to a story should not be underestimated. They can also serve as guides or ‘reminders’ to keep the audience and the story on track. With a simple quote, you now have a good springboard to launch your next talking point. Of course, do remember that you will need practice to pull it off smoothly!

Presentation Idea #10. Try Having One Headline Per Slide

Many people have frequently debated on the ‘right amount’ of words each slide should contain. If you’re daring, here’s a radical idea which you can try – having only one word or headline per slide. There have been two popular proponents of this method, Masayoshi Takahashi and Lawrence Lessig.

Masayoshi Takashi is a programmer who gained notoriety through his unusual presentation style at RubyConf. When he dabbled in PowerPoint for the first time, he found that having one word or phrase per slide worked well for Japanese text, and brought his audiences through the presentation effectively.

The second popular originator of a similar method is Lawrence Lessig, a professor at Harvard who began presenting in an unusual way: Having only one word, phrase and/or image in each slide moving in rapid succession as he spoke. His presentation decks usually contain hundreds of slides, which goes to show that your presentation should not be limited by a number of slides. Interestingly enough, the method was proven to be pretty effective in his lectures and he soon had a chance to show it off on the TED stage:

The Takashi method and Lessig method forces your audience to listen to you in order to understand the presentation, ensuring that you have their full attention. However, do be cautious as this should not be applied in every situation. If used in a more serious setting, it may backfire as it can be jarring.

If you’re unsure whether you will be able to pull this off, try to start off by incorporating this method in a couple of slides. The variety and change of pace can prove to be a refreshing one for your audience, keeping them engaged in your presentation.

So the next time you’re doing a talk, keep in mind these 10 creative presentation ideas:

  1. Share a personal story during your presentation to get your message across effectively
  2. Bring your audiences on a ‘Hero’s Journey’ using a monomythic narrative
  3. Break your presentation down into three parts to keep your content memorable and bite-sized
  4. Ask provocative questions to help your audience view things from a different perspective
  5. Add meaningful images to create an impact and increase recall
  6. Use visual metaphors to explain a complex concept or message so that it sticks
  7. Support your presentation with live and physical props to stimulate the senses
  8. Insert transitions to guide your audience through a lengthy presentation
  9. Reference quotes to add credibility to your assertions
  10. Experiment with using one headline per slide to keep things fresh and punchy

Phew! We’ve finally reached the end of this behemoth of a post. These should give you enough fodder to spice up your next presentation. If you think we’ve missed anything, leave us a comment below!

16 Books You Must Read To Become A Persuasive Presenter

It’s not enough to build the best product…

Or brainstorm the best ideas.

The fact is that you need to sell and convince an audience. And in a world full of distractions, the challenge of commanding scarce attention is merely the tip of the iceberg.

You need your message to be captured within the minds of your audience. This gives your ideas space to manifest and compel action.

That is where persuasion comes in.

Persuasion is the influence of beliefs, attitudes, intentions, motivations or behaviours, and giving a sales pitch is one way to persuade your audience to invest into your product.

That may seem like a mouthful of words. Hence persuasion might come across as a complicated technique, only to be employed by experts and smooth-talking salespeople.

Yet you are probably unconsciously doing it.

It occurs in our everyday interactions, from convincing someone to eat at a restaurant that you like, to influencing your other half that the house you’re looking at now is better than the rest you’ve seen, as well as in different business settings. So honestly, persuasion isn’t as scary or difficult as it appears to be.

To help you, here are 16 books that you should add to your reading list.

While some of these books were hand selected by our team, we also reached out to several business influencers to share their favourite – inspiring them to be the persuasive communicators they are today.

Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds 

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Highly recommended by Guy Kawasaki and Angela Maiers, this is a must read for all aspiring presenters.

It’s not another recipe book about “how to make slides” — this is about re-imagining how your entire presentation will work together as a persuasive and integrated show, from conception through delivery.

As the Japanese word ‘Zen’ suggests, the advice laid out follows the philosophy of simplicity and focus. This helps steer you away from cringeworthy habits such as death by bullets and distracting sound effects.

Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences by Nancy Duarte

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Highly recommended by Ann Handley and Nilofer Merchant, Nancy Duarte has produced a series of books that has compelled the next generation of presenters to step up their game.

One of her books ‘Resonate’ guide readers on how to make a strong connection with their audience and lead them to purposeful action.

A key technique covered in this book is the delivery of S.T.A.R. moments, moments within your presentation that convey your big idea in a sincere and enlightening manner.

Talk Like TED: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds

Like it or not, people are comparing your presentations to TED talks. But fret not, Carmine Gallo has broken down core lessons learnt from TED talks into action steps you can implement in your next presentation.

This book is simply a masterpiece. And it was a massive effort on Carmine’s part. He analysed 150 hours of TED talks and interviewed leading neuroscientists to uncover the science of persuasion.

Thanks to Dorie Clark for the recommendation.

Improving Your Storytelling: Beyond the Basics for All Who Tell Stories In Work and Play” by Doug Lipman

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As suggested in the title, this book is not aimed at novice. This covers the framework of the storytelling “triangle” (the story, the teller, and the listener) — and all of the relationships between them.

Doug Lipman seamlessly wove together three concepts: honoring your audiences, telling only stories that you can love and that speak to you, and practical story-learning techniques

Thanks for Karen Dietz for the recommendation.

Made to Stick: How Some Ideas Take Hold and Others Come Unstuck

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It is not enough to share a great idea. It needs to stick in the minds of your audience. This is where ‘Made To Stick‘ by Chip and Dan Health fills the gap.

In this book, they share a framework comprising of six principles of communication.  SUCCESs – Simplicity, Unexpectedness, Concreteness, Credibility, Emotions, Stories.

They use a fascinating blend of case studies and anecdotes to illustrate their point. One of the intriguing case studies covers how high-concept pitches such as ‘Jaws on a spaceship’ (Alien) and ‘Die Hard on a bus’ (Speed) convince movie executives to invest vast sums of money in a project on the basis of almost no information.

Thanks to Yamini Naidu for the recommendation.

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini

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Influence is THE classic to read when it comes to the topic of persuasion, where Cialdini explores and explains the psychology and science behind why people say “yes”.

In his book, he goes into detail about the six universal principles of persuasion: reciprocity, commitment and consistency, social proof, liking, authority, and scarcity.

To further assist the reader in seeing why these principles of persuasion are essential, every chapter is filled with interesting examples that describe how each principle can be applied to help you become a better persuader.

The Art of Persuasion: The Language of Influence and Manipulation by Andrzej Batko

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A psychologist, NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) and business trainer, Andrzej Batko has many years of professional experience under his belt.

With his background in psychology, he has learnt and taught other professionals how to integrate and utilise new psychological discoveries to generate profits in a business.

In The Art of Persuasion, Batko discusses the importance of the choice of words used when phrasing a persuasive sentence, and how the art and science of persuasion can be mastered by anyone.

By reading this, you can learn techniques to influence the subconscious of others, as well as notice the manipulation done by others.

The Art of Influencing Anyone by Niall Cassidy 

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In The Art of Influencing Anyone, Cassidy uses storytelling as a tool to show his readers how to influence the people around them.

The stories he includes allows the information presented to be more practical to the reader, thus making the book an easier read as compared to a more academic book.

Besides the real life accounts, Cassidy also incorporates cutting edge research on how our brains function to show the more technical side of persuasion, before proceeding on to show how to combine the two to put this knowledge into practice.

Yes!: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive by Noah J. Goldstein, Steve J. Martin and Robert B. Cialdini.

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Co-written by Cialdini and regarded by some as a sequel to Influence, Yes! is a collection of 50 discoveries from the science of persuasion.

Each chapter is short and enjoyable yet in depth, which makes applying these discoveries to your persuasive speech an easy task. Yes! also proves how small yet scientifically proven changes to the way you speak and approach others can have a dramatic effect on how the other party is influenced.

Methods of Persuasion: How to Use Psychology to Influence Human Behavior by Nick Kolenda

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With a focus on cognitive psychology, Kolenda presents readers with a 7-step persuasive process that follows the acronym “METHODS”, which is to Mould their perception, Elicit congruent attitudes, Trigger social pressure, Habituate your message, Optimise your message, Drive their momentum and Sustain their compliance.

With each step, Kolenda explains the psychology behind it with research to back up what he has written. Far from being a boring read, Methods of Persuasion provides the knowledge and the ‘how-to’s in everyday life while still remaining engaging, insightful, informative and funny.

Brainfluence: 100 Ways to Persuade and Convince Consumers with Neuromarketing by Roger Dooley 

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Striking a great (and rare) balance between being an academic and research-based book that is also clear and easy to read for non-scientists, Brainfluence is another compilation of real-world examples, with a focus on practical marketing takeaways from neurological research.

Dooley answers the “why” behind what experts think is a good or bad marketing idea, giving insight that can be applied to various areas of your speech.

Everyone Communicates, Few Connect by John Maxwell 

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Written by bestselling author John Maxwell, the overarching theme of this book is to use empathy to connect with others.

In a digital environment there are people tend to be obsessed with broadcasting their promotions over listening, this is a timely reminder.

Thanks to Dan Rockwell for recommending the book. Dan also shared with me how this book moulded his ritual of connecting with people in the audience, before he speaks.

Verbal Judo: The Gentle Art of Persuasion by George J. Thompson and Jerry B. Jenkins

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A guide to the martial arts of the mind and mouth, Verbal Judo teaches readers how to foster cooperation between yourself and your target audience through effective communication and persuasion.

Using police stories to illustrate their points, Thompson and Jenkins make Verbal Judo a useful yet interesting book to peruse.

In this updated edition, they has also added what they believe to be the five universal truths of “human interaction”: that people feel the need to be respected, that people would rather be asked than be told, that people have a desire to know why, that people prefer to have options over threats, and that people want to have a second chance.

Thank You For Arguing: What Aristotle, Lincoln and Homer Simpson Can Teach Us About Persuasion by Jay Heinrichs 

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Thank You for Arguing is like taking a master class on the art of persuasion, with lessons being taught by “professors” such as Aristotle, Bart Simpson and Winston Churchill.

In it, Heinrichs reveals time-tested secrets such as Cicero’s three-step strategy to get an audience to take action, as well as modern techniques that include different politicians’ use of “code” language to appeal to a certain demographic.

A fun book to read regarding the topic of persuasion, Heinrichs complements his mastery at teaching an ancient art in a modern way with humorous examples that are relevant in the world we live in today.

Mastering Persuasive Public Speaking: The Influence Approach by Gren Kleiser

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In Mastering Persuasive Public Speaking, Kleiser pens down hands-on, dynamic and effective techniques that will help change the way you present and persuade, thus affecting how you influence your audience.

One focus is his book is how to free yourself of undesirable psychological and social inhibitions in an easy way without help from anyone else.

The book itself does not contain much theory, but rather presents more ‘how-to’s with practical methods and step-by-step instructions that would definitely help you get your point across in a convincing way.

There’s No Such Thing as Public Speaking: Make Any Presentation or Speech as Persuasive as a One-on-One Conversation by Jeanette and Roy Henderson 

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According to Jeanette and Roy Henderson, the best speeches don’t sound like speeches, and the best speakers make listeners feel as though they are being addressed directly.

In Theres No Such Thing as Public Speaking, the Hendersons reveal the tricks they have taught in their courses on giving speeches and presentations that are effective but yet still retain the immediacy of having a one-on-one conversation with the members of the audience.

The book contains well-explained strategies that are easy to translate from book knowledge to the podium, allowing readers to craft out and deliver speeches that are more impactful and persuasive.

To Recap

And there we have it, 16 books to ensure that you have this persuasive presentation down pat! Give them a read, jot down the points they offer and use them where you feel is necessary.

Many of these books might have overlapping points, but by utilising one or more of these principles in your persuasive speech and practicing them on a regular basis, convincing your audience that your product is an excellent one will slowly but surely (or if you get good at it, quickly) be a piece of cake!

Good luck!