How much does it suck to be in the audience for yet another drawn-out, boring, lifeless slideshow? Worse yet, how much does it such to be the one giving it?

Here are ten tips to help you add a little zing! to your next presentation. They are, of course, far from comprehensive, but they’re a start.


1. Write a script.
And make sure your script follows good storytelling conventions: give it a beginning, middle, and end.

2. One thing at a time, please.
At any given moment, what should be on the screen is the thing you’re talking about.

3. No paragraphs.
Save the paragraphs of text for your script, don’t put it on the screen.

4. Pay attention to design.
Avoid the temptation to dress up your pages with cheesy effects and focus instead on simple design.

5. Use images sparingly
Use images only when they add important information or make an abstract point more concrete.

6. Think outside the screen.
Give some thought to how you hold yourself, what you wear, how you move around the room.

7. Have a hook.
Open with something surprising or intriguing, something that will get your audience to sit up and take notice.

8. Ask questions.
Build tension by posing a question and letting your audience stew a moment before moving to the next slide with the answer.

9. Modulate, modulate, modulate.
Always speak as if you were speaking to a friend, not as if you are reading off of index cards (even if you are).

10. Break the rules.
As with everything else, there are times when each of these rules – or any other rule you know – won’t apply.