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3 Ways to Make a Good Presentation Great

What makes a presentation good isn't the same as what makes a presentation great.

Good presentations are uncommon, but great presentations are rare as basilisk teeth. That's because, when it comes to presentations, the jump from good to great is larger than the jump from bad to good. Here's why:

1. Emotional impact

Good presentations are memorable. They contain graphics, images, and facts in such a way that they're easy to remember. A week later, your audience can remember much of what you said.

Great presentations are motivating. They bring the audience members to the point where they make a buying decision: either a final decision ("We want this product now!") or an interim one ("Let's bring this idea to the CEO").

2. Information

Good presentations contain valid information. Each piece of data is thoroughly fact-checked, accurate, and never misleading. Good presentations provide honest data in an honest way.

Great presentations contain minimal information. Any information that's not 100 percent relevant is stripped away, including information noise such as fancy slide work. What's left is only that information that drives toward a decision.

3. Storytelling

Good presentations include stories. Unlike facts, stories speak to the heart, and every good presentation uses stories to illustrate points and to help people make an emotional connection to the message.

Great presentations are stories. Rather than containing stories, great presentations take the audience through an emotional journey that creates a reason to decide right here, right now.

The above is based upon my new book, Business Without the Bullsh*tIf you preorder BWtBS, you get an exclusive bonus chapter (for you and a friend) and a signed bookplate.

Last updated: Apr 8, 2014


Geoffrey James, a contributing editor for, is an author, speaker, and award-winning blogger. Originally a system architect, brand manager, and industry analyst inside two Fortune 100 companies, he's interviewed more than a thousand successful executives, managers, entrepreneurs, and gurus to discover how business really works. His most recent book is Business Without the Bullsh*t: 49 Secrets and Shortcuts You Need to Know. If you enjoyed this post, sign up for the free weekly Sales Source newsletter.

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