In the past, I've explained in detail the dos and don'ts of slide-making as well as how to give great presentations. This post summarizes my very best advice for creating and giving presentations that are truly memorable.

  1. Build your presentation around the decision you want made.
  2. Structure the presentation as a journey through a series of emotions.
  3. Keep it simple. Your audience doesn't want or need more complexity.
  4. Cut your intro down to a maximum of two sentences.
  5. Cut your presentations to half as long as you originally thought they should be.
  6. Include only simple graphics and highlight important data points.
  7. Use a slide background that's simple with a neutral color.
  8. Eliminate slides that you might need to skip due to time constraints.
  9. Expunge business buzzwords from your slides (and your vocabulary).
  10. Use large fonts in simple faces, like Arial.
  11. Limit the distracting use of special effects and visual gimcracks.
  12. Customize every presentation because every audience is different.
  13. Unless it's a keynote, cut your presentation down to 20 minutes or less.
  14. No matter what, rehearse your presentation at least 20 times.
  15. Schedule presentations when audiences can give you their full attention.
  16. Check your equipment setup well in advance.
  17. Have somebody else introduce you; it creates anticipation.
  18. Don't start with an apology lest you seem like a victim.
  19. Don't review your company's history because nobody cares.
  20. Kick off with a shocking fact, surprising insight, or unique perspective.
  21. Keep your front to your audience; don't look back at the screen.
  22. Be yourself; audiences immediately sense if you're not being genuine.
  23. Don't fidget with papers, jewelry, glasses, or clothing.
  24. Speak directly to individuals in the audience, moving from person to person.
  25. Tell a story that casts your audience as the hero and you as the sidekick.
  26. Use facts that are quantifiable, verifiable, memorable, and dramatic.
  27. Slow down. Slow down. Slow down.
  28. Never read from your slides. It irritates everyone.
  29. Be upbeat and positive but don't tell jokes unless you're a comedian.
  30. Avoid hot buttons (e.g., politics) that will distract from your message.
  31. Identify and emphasize the next step you want the audience to take.
  32. Don't ask for extra time because you're late; instead end on schedule.
  33. Have a question or two up your sleeve in case nobody has one.