Creative Business Presentations

By Kimberly McCall

Eleri Sampson, author of Creative Business Presentations: Inventive Ideas for Making an Instant Impact (Kogan Page, 2003) isn’t a PowerPoint-phobe, but she does believe that PowerPoint acts as a barrier between presenters and their audiences instead of supporting speakers’ key messages. Instead of sheaves of spreadsheets and bullet points, Sampson advocates natural presentations during which speakers talk with audience members using simple but engaging language. She offers the following creative ideas for delivering natural presentations.

  • Leave your PowerPoint slides at home. Instead, illustrate your points with metaphors, stories, demonstrations, props, quizzes and music that appeal to people’s whole brain and emotions. The result will be a unique presentation and a more confident style – one that ultimately will be more memorable and rewarding than hiding behind PowerPoint slides.
  • Be yourself. Don’t put on an act. Just be your best professional self.
  • Identify two or three key points. That’s all you need – really. If you know your material and have rehearsed it properly, you won’t need reams of notes. Another plus, if you leave everything in your briefcase at headquarters it’s not a disaster.
  • Work on your stump speech. Every good presenter has a topic he or she is knowledgeable and enthusiastic about that needs little or no preparation.
  • Don’t insist on being perfect. Less than perfect can be fabulous in the eyes of audience members.
  • Remember that a presentation is not just about words. Presenting in front of a live audience is a contact sport. Go on, roll your sleeves up and get in amongst the audience members.
  • Reach out to more than one kind of intelligence. Some audience members like the big picture, others want details; some respond to images and color.

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