Category: presentations


How to Create a Stunning Presentation Cover Page [+…

When you’re focused on creating a meaningful, persuasive presentation, it’s easy to overlook the cover page. But giving that first page of your deck a little more love can actually go a long way towards grabbing your audience’s attention early on and setting the tone for the rest of your presentation.

A stunning presentation cover page can intrigue your audience into wanting to know more and increase engagement with the information you’re presenting. On the other hand, a lackluster slide, or even the lack of one, can dampen audience enthusiasm for your presentation, and maybe even your own.

You’ve put so much work into your presentation — why waste that valuable real estate on the first slide of your deck?

In this post, we’ll cover the basics of creating a presentation cover page that’s informative and attention-grabbing. Let’s dive in.

What’s included in a presentation cover page?

A good presentation cover page accomplishes three simple things:

  • It introduces the topic with a straightforward title.
  • It introduces you (and your organization, if applicable)
  • It sets the tone of your presentation.


We probably don’t need to tell you this one, but your presentation cover page should be centered around a title. And ideally, a title that’s straightforward, descriptive, and simple. If you’re finding it hard to keep your title short, add a subtitle (in smaller print) to clarify what you’ll be speaking about.


Next, identify the person (or group) who will be giving the presentation. In some cases, this will be as simple as including your own name, and in others, you’ll want to include your company name, logo, department, or other identifying information. As a general guideline, you’ll need less identifying information if you’re giving an internal presentation.

If your audience is mainly folks outside of your company (or there are plans to distribute your deck externally) you’ll typically want to include more information to identify your company clearly.


A successful cover page sets the “tone” of your deck — but what does that really mean? The colors, imagery, fonts, and placements of different elements on your cover page all create a specific visual style that the rest of your deck should follow.

A well-designed page conveys a sense of professionalism and preparedness that a simple monochrome text slide simply cannot. Even if you’re not a design expert, you need to pay attention to the aesthetics of your cover page. Fortunately, it’s easier than ever to find free, professional-looking presentation templates without needing a degree in graphic design. Whatever you choose, it’s important to remain relevant to your presentation (and, if applicable, your company’s branding).

We’ll explore a few examples of cover pages below so you can see how different elements converge to set the tone for a variety of different presentations.

Presentation Cover Page Examples

Below, we’ve compiled a number of presentation cover pages that succeed in different areas. Remember: there’s no single perfect format for a presentation cover page, but hopefully, you get some inspiration from this list.

Setting An Emotional Tone

The right presentation page can set an emotional tone as well as a visual one. This presentation cover page for a nonprofit conveys a mission-driven approach to protecting nature, with a well-selected, relevant image, and a call-to-action directly in the subtitle. (Photo by Andy Køgl on Unsplash)

Focusing on a Photo

You don’t need to overcomplicate the format of your cover page, especially if you have a great photo to use as a full background image. A simple stock photo here provides a clean backdrop for this presentation on remote work. Just make sure your title text is legible over any background photo you decide to use. (Photo by Corinne Kutz on Unsplash)

Leading With Your Brand

Even if you’re the central speaker for a presentation, it might make more sense to highlight your team or brand on your cover page, instead of including your own personal information (you can always include your own contact info at the end of your deck for follow-up questions). Context (if you’re speaking at a particular event or annual meeting) can be important to highlight as well on your cover page.

Go Minimal

There’s a big difference between a cover slide you didn’t put much thought into and a slide that makes good use of whitespace and leans on strong copy. Sometimes, the best way to lead an audience into your presentation is to create space for a little mystery.

If you’re giving a more casual presentation or a pitch that doesn’t need to follow a particular format, consider going the minimal route and opening with a simple cover page slide that asks your audience a question (one that you of course plan to answer).

Set a Purpose

Many presentations include an agenda slide directly after your cover slide, but that doesn’t mean you can use your cover slide to set a clear purpose upfront. Consider using your subtitle to explain a more robust (but still simple!) description of what you’ll cover.

Presentation Cover Page Templates

Instead of creating your presentation cover page from scratch, using a template can take much of the work out of the process. Check out these websites for templates that you can use for your presentation or for inspiration to create your own designs.


A tried-and-true favorite of many marketing teams, Canva offers up a wide selection of modern, drag-and-drop presentation templates with truly unique cover pages. If you’re on the hunt for a cover page that looks like you hired a graphic designer to create it just for you, Canva is a good place to start your search. Canva offers both free and paid options. has an intuitive, highly-customizable presentation builder that allows you to import your own visual elements directly from your computer or a Dropbox folder. Like Canva, they offer a number of free and paid template options (with great cover pages). Their biggest differentiating feature is their (frankly, very cool) adaptive AI technology, which intuits how you’re trying to design a slide and makes changes automatically to suit the direction of your project.


For a completely free option with cover page starter template to suit a wide range of different projects across different formats, check out EDIT. Their online tool is specifically designed to create cover pages in a simple, easy-to-use interface.


Another highly-customizable template source is Visme, which gives users the ability to select a starting template from their (expansive) library and customize elements in a simple web editor.


VectorStock® has a massive selection of PowerPoint presentation cover page templates for purchase if you’re looking for something that’s ready to plug and go without the need for customization (beyond adding your own name and title, of course).

First Impressions Matter

For better or worse, audiences will judge a presentation by its cover page. Because of this, it’s vital that you give your cover page the care and attention that it deserves. Ultimately, a cover page isn’t simply a placeholder, it’s a vital component that can drum up interest for your presentation. The best part is that with the tools available online, you don’t have to be an artist to create a stunning presentation cover page.

The featured image on this post was created using a Canva template.


How to Easily Create a SlideShare Presentation

You know how hot visual content is, and you want to jump on board to enjoy the engagement, traffic, and leads that follow. But maybe you’re not keen on writing a blog post, and you don’t have the production resources to create videos. What to do? Create a SlideShare presentation.

I know, I know. You may have felt personally victimized by PowerPoint sometime in your career. When you open it up, you’re hit with stark black Calibri font on a white background, killing any creative spark you may have felt. It’s daunting enough to create a 10-slide deck to report your monthly marketing metrics — never mind putting together slides that can be seen by the large volume of SlideShare users.

Well, there’s good news: Creating a SlideShare presentation in PowerPoint doesn’t have to be that daunting. With the right templates and tools at your disposal, you could easily create an engaging, visual presentation — all without fancy design programs, huge budgets, or hiring contractors.

How to Create a Stunning  SlideShare Presentation in PowerPoint

To help you make a SlideShare of your own, we’ve created some free PowerPoint presentation templates for making awesome SlideShares. That way, your presentations will look great and be a breeze to put together.

Download the free PowerPoint templates, scroll down, and we’ll walk through how to use them. When we’re done, you’ll know exactly how to create a sexy presentation that gets featured on SlideShare’s homepage. Ready? Let’s dive in.

1. Get a feel for the types of presentations you can find on SlideShare. 

Just as you’d master any other medium, it helps to consume other content in that medium to get an idea of the format and what works. Go to and discover SlideShares that interest you. You can view them on the platform or download them to your computer and peruse them on your local machine. 

SlideShare Presentation Download

Here’s how to download a PowerPoint from SlideShare:

  1. Sign up for a SlideShare account.
  2. Navigate to the SlideShare presentation that you want to download.
  3. Click the button labeled “Download.”
  4. When asked if you want to clip the slide, click “Continue to download.”
  5. Click “Save File” and then confirm by clicking “OK.”

Some may not download as a .ppt file, and some may not be available to download at all. However, this method works in all other cases.

2. Decide on fonts and a color scheme. 

Before you get too caught up in the specifics of your storyline, figure out which fonts and color scheme you want to use. (If you’re using our free templates, you can skip this part.) 

When you’re choosing fonts, consider two different ones to use throughout your presentation — one for your headers and one for your body text. Your header font should be bold and eye-catching, and your body text font should be simple and easy to read. The contrast between the two will make it much easier for your SlideShare viewers to grasp your core messages. 

For your color scheme, pick a scheme that will have enough contrast between colors to make colors stand out. Whether you decide to use two, three, or four different colors in your presentation is up to you — but certain color combinations go together better than others.

Below is an example of what certain fonts and color combinations can look like. Notice how the header fonts stand out much more than the body? You can also see what different color palettes might look like: The top is monochromatic, the middle is complementary, and the bottom is analogous. 

3. Outline main takeaways and crucial sub-bullets.

Next up: Creating an outline for your SlideShare’s narrative. I like to treat SlideShare outlines just like I would blog posts — you decide on the working title and main takeaways first. Then, you elaborate on those sections with a few supporting points.

For each of those components (title, section headers, and a few supporting points), create a slide. Below is an example of what those slides might look like: 


title slide using hubspot powerpoint template


header slide using hubspot powerpoint template

Supporting Points

supporting point slide using hubspot powerpoint template

You’ll also want to create slide placeholders for the call-to-action and conclusion slides (you don’t need to elaborate on them just yet).

Keep in mind that these slides should not be complex — just a title and maybe a few details that you want to remember down the road. No paragraphs. No supporting images. Nothing that’s not built into your template already. 

4. Fill out the body of your presentation.

Then, fill in the meat of the content — all the slides between the headers. Just make sure you’re not relying too much on text. SlideShare is a primarily visual platform — people are used to breezing through presentations. So if your presentation reads like an ebook, you should edit down the text and rely more heavily on visual content. 

Another thing to remember is to switch up your format from slide to slide. Try doing a checklist slide followed by, say, a quote slide — it keeps people on their toes as they flip through your presentation.

checklist slide in hubspot powerpoint template

quote slide in hubspot powerpoint template

5. Add introduction slides. 

After you’ve created the majority of your SlideShare presentation, head back to the start. Wonder why we didn’t begin here? It’ll be much easier to tee up the bulk of your content if you already know what that content is about. In this step, just introduce what you just wrote about — it’ll be a breeze. 

6. Wrap up the conclusion.

Then, head to the end of your SlideShare and wrap it up in a slide or two. There is nothing more jarring than going from a body slide right to a CTA slide. You only need a slide or two to conclude your presentation, but it should naturally tee up the CTA that you will have next. 

7. Add a call-to-action slide.

At the verrrrrry end of your SlideShare, you want to keep your viewers engaged by providing a call-to-action. The CTA could be about downloading an ebook, attending an event, or even just visiting your website — pretty much any CTA you’d like to include. Here are two CTA slide examples that we included in the SlideShare template:

cta slide in hubspot powerpoint template

cta slide in hubspot powerpoint template

8. Edit, edit, edit.

You’re almost there! Next, you need to go through and edit your copy and design components. Try to get another coworker — marketer or not — to give it a once over. If you need some direction, you can use our ultimate editing checklist to make sure you’re catching everything you can.

9. Add “animated slides” and clickable links.

Though it’s easy to create a presentation in PowerPoint and upload it immediately to SlideShare, not all of the same features will appear in both programs. As a result, there are two things you’ll need to add in: “animated slides” and clickable links. 

As far as slide animation goes, SlideShare does not support PowerPoint animations. This means that all of those smooth entrances you planned for your text boxes and objects go out the window once you upload your presentation to SlideShare. But, it’s easy to manually introduce new elements on a series of slides to make it seem like it’s “animated.”

Once you’ve built in your animations, you’ll also need to make sure people can actually click on the CTAs in your presentation. 

10. Upload your PDF to SlideShare.

After you’re finished with your clickable links, your presentation will be in a PDF format. At this point, you’re ready for the final step: uploading your PDF to SlideShare. When you do this, you have the option to add a description and tags, and even schedule the SlideShare to go live at a certain time. Once your SlideShare is live, you should spend some time promoting it on your blog and social media accounts, and to your email lists. (For more SlideShare promotion tips, check out this blog post.)

Just follow this process when you need to create a SlideShare presentation, and you won’t have to fear that blank PowerPoint template ever again. 

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in August 2013 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.


What is the 7×7 Rule in PowerPoint?

Despite its reputation for dry content delivery across virtual and in-person meetings alike, PowerPoint remains the go-to choice for many professionals, even as other options emerge that offer greater usability and flexibility outside of the Microsoft ecosystem.

Part of the presentation platform’s popularity stems from its familiarity — many organizations still run Microsoft-first IT software environments, making PowerPoint the obvious choice for straightforward presentation design. Simplicity provides the second part of this popularity permutation since creating a basic PowerPoint presentation on a single topic requires minimal time and effort.

The problem? “Simple” doesn’t always mean “effective”. Staff across markets, industries, and verticals worldwide have stories about unbearably long and boring PowerPoint presentations that were long on details but short on value. The 7×7 rule offers a framework to help boost PowerPoint form and function by reducing text volume and improving information impact.

In this piece, we’ll break down the 7×7 rule in PowerPoint, best practices, and offer some actionable examples of seven-by-seven solutions in-situ.

The PowerPoint Problem

To put it simply, most viewers don’t like PowerPoint. While the format has the benefit of speed and convenience — and can conceivably be used to communicate information quickly and concisely — many presentations are overlong and overwrought with bonanzas of bullet points that seem relevant but are really just digital hot air.

In most cases, the disconnect between appearance and action is boring at best and irritating at worst. As noted by the BBC, however, in extreme cases — such as NASA’s Challenger shuttle disaster — overlooked information in an overstuffed presentation can have significant real-world consequences.

Best bet? To avoid PowerPoint frustration and fatigue, it’s time for a new framework: The 7×7 rule.

What is the 7×7 rule in PowerPoint?

The 7×7 rule is simple: For every slide, use no more than seven lines of text — or seven bullet points — and no more than seven words per line. Slide titles aren’t included in the count.

There’s no specific data supporting the 7×7 model as the ideal; some PointPower proselytizers consider 8×8 good enough while others say 6×6 is more streamlined. The point here isn’t the hard-and-fast number but the underlying idea: Cut out extraneous information to improve presentation uptake.

Slides can still contain images — and should, wherever possible — but sticking to the 7×7 rule helps cut down on excess data that might be better-shared in follow-up emails or one-on-one discussions. In effect, the 7×7 rule is a way to reduce the amount of time staff spend pretending to care about PowerPoints and instead help them focus on slide information that’s relevant, contextual, and actionable.

Best Practices for the 7×7 Rule in PowerPoint

Building a typical PowerPoint slide is straightforward. Like any business practice, however, it can be improved with a standardized set of rules designed to limit waste and improve efficiency. And when it comes to most PowerPoint presentations, almost any change makes a positive impact.

Let’s break down some of the best practices for building PowerPoint slides with the 7×7 rule.

1. Single slide, single concept.

Each slide should address a single concept rather than trying to connect the dots across multiple data points, trends or ideas. While it’s fine to build on previous slide data as your presentation progresses the single slide, single concept approach helps focus presentation efforts from the word go.

2. Images increase impact.

As noted above images are a welcome addition to slides, so long as they’re relevant. If you find yourself adding unrelated stock photos just to add some color — don’t. Keep slides, text, and images on-track.

4. Forget the funny.

Almost everyone has a story about a “funny” PowerPoint joke that was nothing of the sort. In most cases, these heavy-handed humor efforts are shoehorned in ostensibly to help viewers better remember slide data. In fact, they shift the focus away from your primary objective.

5. Plan it out.

Before creating your presentation, create a basic outline that highlights your primary concept, how you plan to get it across, and how many slides in total it should take. Then, draft your slides. Take a break, review them, and cut back wherever possible.

6. Consider the 7x7x7.

If you really want to go all-in on the 7×7 rule, consider adding another 7 and aiming for no more than 7 words in each line, no more than 7 lines on each slide, and no more than 7 slides in total. It’s not easy — but offers a much better chance of getting your point across.

7×7 Rule in Powerpoint Examples

So what does the 7×7 rule look like in practice? It’s one thing to talk about building a better slide, but it’s easy to fall back into bad habits when it’s time to put together a presentation. It makes sense; content creators are often trying to convey a significant amount of information in a short period of time, and it’s easy to get sidetracked by the notion that every piece of data must be included to make the meeting a success.

Let’s start with a slide that’s substantially removed from the 7×7 rule:

There’s a lot to unpack here. We’re using too many lines and too many words per line. Lines are complex without saying much, and the attempt at humor doesn’t add anything.

Let’s try again:

example of the 7x7-rule in powerpoint that still needs some improvement

This one is better — we’ve reduced the number of lines to 7 and lost the joke, but most of the lines still have more than 7 words and the text is overly convoluted.

Let’s try one more time:

GREAT example of the 7x7-rule in powerpoint

This slide is clear and concise, and most lines have less than 7 characters. It offers the same information as the first two versions — it’s just more effective and efficient.

The 7×7 Solution

While using 7 lines of text with 7 words or less isn’t a silver bullet for all PowerPoint-related problems, it’s a good place to begin if you’re looking to boost viewer engagement and limit fatigue.

Bottom line? PowerPoint isn’t always the ideal format for getting your point across, but if you need to create a quick-hitter presentation that lands well with your audience, start with the 7×7 solution.


How to Create a Killer 5-Minute Presentation

Developing and delivering a five-minute presentation seems an easy enough task at first — until you realize the condensed format actually requires significantly more efficiency, focus, and attention to detail than longer presentation types.

When there’s less time to get your point across, every second counts more.

While short presentations can be unexpectedly challenging to create, when done correctly they can be more impactful than longer presentations.

Five minutes is just enough time for you to present a compelling narrative about one topic, without any filler or fluff. The time limit forces you to pack as much valuable information as possible into your presentation while maintaining a coherent structure.

The shorter format also encourages audiences to pay more attention.

But how can you ensure your short presentation accomplishes everything it needs to within just five short minutes? We’ve put together an (appropriately condensed) guide on five-minute presentations to help you get started.

How Many Words Are in a 5-Minute Presentation?

A person speaks on average 120 to 160 words a minute, which means the average five-minute presentation will be anywhere from 600 to 800 words. That means every word should be carefully chosen to support the central idea of your presentation.

When constructing a longer presentation, you might be more concerned about transitions and keeping the audience engaged with more extensive narrative elements.

In a short presentation, everything you say should directly tie back to your central premise and further advance your main point. By keeping a tight scope and using your words carefully, you’ll ensure your time isn’t wasted and the audience leaves with a clear, singular takeaway.

How many slides are in a 5-minute presentation?

Generally speaking, you’ll want to stick to just five or six slides for a five-minute presentation, but there’s no set limit on how many yours will require. You may choose to have twenty slides and to spend about 10 or 15 seconds on each depending on your subject matter.

More important than your slide count is what each slide contains. While it’s a good rule to keep your slides simple and focused on visuals (instead of text) for a presentation of any length, this becomes especially important when you’re dealing with a condensed presentation window.

It can be tempting with a small time window to try to cram in as much information as possible — resist the urge. Instead, focus on simple, clean visuals that (once again) all tie back to your central premise.

If you’re concerned that scaling back the scope of your presentation will leave things out, add a slide at the end of the deck with additional resources and information that your audience can access after the presentation is over.

5-Minute Presentation Example Format

If you’re looking for a starting point for your own five-minute presentation, we’ve created a basic outline below you can use to organize your initial thoughts in the planning stage.

You can choose to devote one slide to each section or multiple slides if you want to break them down further.

Feel free to make departures from the structure depending on the content or format of your presentation. Just remember not to give your audience too much to chew on — the key here is — you guessed it — tying every slide back to one central idea.

An Extremely Short Introduction

Your first slide should serve as an introduction to the topic of your presentation. Try to limit your title to around six words or even less. If your title is too long, it can become unwieldy and your presentation may confuse your audience by covering too much.

Remember: your audience (hopefully!) already has an idea of what you’re presenting on, so you don’t need to spend too much precious time or slide real-estate explaining what you’re going to cover — just jump right in.

A Problem Slide

Most presentations can be boiled down to a problem you’ve identified, solved, or are in the process of solving. Lead with that familiar narrative. It will give your presentation a clear starting point and prime your audience for the rest of your slides.

A Solution/Analysis Slide(s)

Now that your problem has been introduced, tell your audience what they need to know about what you’re doing about it. In shorter presentation formats, you’ll want to focus less on the details and more on the big-picture items. Ask yourself: what does your audience need to know when they leave the room? Anything that falls into the “nice to know” category can be cut and delivered to stakeholders after the meeting in a follow-up email.

A Conclusion Slide

The conclusion side allows you to bring a coherent end to your presentation and summarize the important takeaway points for your audience. Don’t skimp on your conclusion just because it’s a short presentation — it’s the last thing your audience will hear from you. A good conclusion will reinforce the other information you presented and ultimately makes your presentation as a whole more memorable.

5-Minute Presentation Examples

While we (unfortunately) weren’t in the room when these presentations were originally given — and therefore can’t confirm with 100% certainty that they ran for only five minutes — these decks all clock in at under 15 slides and use a simple format to convey a problem and solution.

1. AirBnB Pitch Deck

AirBnB Pitch Deck from
Malcolm Lewis

2. Buffer Pitch Deck

The slide deck we used to raise half a million dollars from

3. Mixpanel Pitch Deck

Mixpanel – Our pitch deck that we used to raise $65M from
Suhail Doshi

How Do I Create a Killer 5-Minute Presentation?

Here are some best practices to follow when crafting a short presentation.

1. Focus on the most important part.

The greatest challenge you’ll have when designing your presentation is choosing what to focus on — but from the format we discussed above, you can see how important it is to have a single premise to design your presentation around.

It’s easy to become overambitious in your presentation or to be overwhelmed by the information you want to present. Choosing a single idea to focus on gives you clarity when designing your speech and allows you to cut extraneous information. It also provides a narrative structure that your audience can more easily grasp.

2. Research, fact-check, and do it twice.

Your presentation is your chance to shine — but the shorter format also means that each point you make is going to be more visible, memorable, and consequentially more vulnerable to scrutiny.

Take the time to thoroughly research the subject of your presentation and ensure every point you make is both technically accurate and easy to understand. This will put you in a better position to field questions and discuss your subject in-depth. With a strong command of your subject matter, your delivery will also be more confident and convincing.

3. Appeal to how people learn best: stories.

A story can give meaning to your presentation and elevate it to more than just facts, figures, and some flashy slides. Building your presentation around a simple, easy-to-understand narrative (like the problem/solution narrative we showed you in the template avoid) can make your content more digestible. Your presentation will only last for a few minutes, but the story you tell needs to stick around in your audiences’ brains for longer — and stories naturally help humans understand and retain information more easily.

4. Don’t skip that practice session.

Just because your presentation is only five minutes doesn’t mean you should try to wing it. Your audience’s time is valuable, and practicing your presentation before you deliver it to them will help you make the most of it.

From CEOs to interns, everyone can benefit from practicing their presentations in advance, no matter how confident they are.

If you’re able to deliver much (or all) of it by heart, your delivery will be much more natural, allowing you to develop a stronger connection with your audience. And once nerves hit, you’ll have the muscle memory to fall back on and carry you through the rough patches!

5. Relax and don’t rush.

You only have five minutes to present, so it’s only natural to feel pressure to go a little too fast. Stay relaxed throughout your presentation and avoid distractions, such as someone informing you that you only have a minute left.

Staying focused on your presentation itself will improve your delivery and give you more confidence, even if you’re normally terrified of public speaking.

If you find yourself needing to speed through your presentation to squeeze it into a five-minute window, that’s a good sign you’re trying to do too much and need to consider cutting your slides down.

You Know Your Audience Best

When creating your five-minute presentation, think about your audience and craft it to appeal to them.

The information you decide to highlight and the way you frame it will be vastly different depending on who your presentation is meant for.

It’s natural to be nervous going into your presentation, especially if you don’t like public speaking or have a fear of it, but with enough consideration and practice, you’ll be a master of whatever subject you hope to present.


How to Give a Persuasive Presentation [+ Examples]

A presentation aimed at persuading an audience to take a specific action can be the most difficult type to deliver, even if you’re not shy of public speaking.

Creating a presentation that effectively achieves your objective requires time, lots of practice, and most importantly, a focused message.

With the right approach, you can create a presentation that leaves a skeptical audience enthusiastic to get on board with your project.

In this post, we’ll cover the basics of building a persuasive presentation. Let’s dive in.

What is a persuasive presentation?

In its most basic form, a persuasive presentation features a speaker who tries to influence an audience to accept certain positions and engage in actions in support of them. A good persuasive presentation uses a mixture of facts, logic, and empathy to help an audience see an issue from a perspective they previously discounted or hadn’t considered.

How to Plan a Persuasive Presentation

Want to make a persuasive presentation that connects with your audience? Follow these steps to win friends and influence people within your audience.

1. Decide on a single ask.

The key to convincing your audience is to first identify the singular point you want to make. A good persuasive presentation will focus on one specific and easy-to-understand proposition. Even if that point is part of a broader initiative, it ideally needs to be presented as something your audience can say “yes” or “no” to easily.

A message that isn’t well-defined or which covers too much can cause the audience to lose interest or reject it outright. A more focused topic can also help your delivery sound more confident, which (for better or worse) is an important factor in convincing people.

2. Focus on fewer (but more relevant) facts.

Remember: You are (in the vast majority of cases) not the target audience for your presentation. To make your presentation a success, you’ll need to know who your audience is so you can shape your message to resonate with them.

When crafting your messaging, put yourself in your audience’s headspace and attempt to deeply understand their position, needs, and concerns. Focus on arguments and facts that speak specifically to your audience’s unique position.

As we wrote in our post on How to Present a Compelling Argument When You’re Not Naturally Persuasive, “just because a fact technically lends support to your claim doesn’t mean it will sway your audience. The best evidence needs to not only support your claim but also have a connection to your audience.”

What are the target audience’s pain points that you can use to make a connection between their needs and your goals? Focus on those aspects, and cut any excess information. Fewer relevant facts are always more impactful than an abundance of unfocused pieces of evidence.

3. Build a narrative around your evidence.

If you want to persuade someone of something, it’s not enough to win their brain — you need their heart in it, too. Try to make an emotional connection with your audience throughout your presentation to better sell them on the facts you’re presenting. Your audience is human, after all, so some emotional tug will go a long way to shaking up how they view the issue you’re talking about. A little bit of emotion could be just what your audience needs to make your facts “click.”

The easiest way to incorporate an emotional pull into your presentation is through the use of narrative elements. As we wrote in our guide to crafting pitch decks, “When our brains are given a story instead of a list of information, things change — big time. Stories engage more parts of our brains, including our sensory cortex, which is responsible for processing visual, auditory, and tactile stimuli. If you want to keep people engaged during a presentation, tell them a story.”

4. Confidence matters.

Practice makes perfect (it’s a cliche because it’s true, sorry!), and this is especially true for presentation delivery. Rehearse your presentation several times before you give it to your audience so you can develop a natural flow and move from each section without stopping.

Remember, you’re not giving a speech here, so you don’t want your delivery to come across like you’re reading fully off of cue cards. Use tools like notes and cue cards as ways to keep you on track, not as scripts.

Finally, if you can, try to practice your presentation in front of another human. Getting a trusted co-worker to give you feedback in advance can help strengthen your delivery and identify areas you might need to change or bulk up.

5. Prepare for common objections.

The last thing you want to say when someone in your audience expresses a concern or an outright objection during your presentation’s question section is “umm, let me get back to you on that.”

Carefully research the subject of your presentation to make the best case possible for it — but also prepare in advance for common objections or questions you know your stakeholders are going to ask. The stronger your command of the facts — and the more prepared you are to proactively address concerns — the more convincing your presentation will be. When you appear confident fielding any rebuttals during a question and answer session after your presentation, it can go a long way towards making your case seem more convincing.

Persuasive Presentation Outline

Like any writing project, you’ll want to create an outline for your presentation, which can act as both a prompt and a framework. With an outline, you’ll have an easier time organizing your thoughts and creating the actual content you will present. While you can adjust the outline to your needs, your presentation will most likely follow this basic framework.

I. Introduction

Every persuasive presentation needs an introduction that gets the listener’s attention, identifies a problem, and relates it to them.

  • The Hook: Just like a catchy song, your presentation needs a good hook to draw the listener in. Think of an unusual fact, anecdote, or framing that can grab the listener’s attention. Choose something that also establishes your credibility on the issue.
  • The Tie: Tie your hook back to your audience to garner buy-in from your audience, as this issue impacts them personally.
  • The Thesis: This is where you state the position to which you are trying to persuade your audience and forms the focal point for your presentation.

II. The Body

The body forms the bulk of your presentation and can be roughly divided into two parts. In the first half, you will build your case, and in the second you will address potential rebuttals.

  • Your Case: This is where you will present supporting points for your argument and the evidence you’ve gathered through research. This will likely have several different subsections in which you present the relevant evidence for each supporting point.
  • Rebuttals: Consider potential rebuttals to your case and address them individually with supporting evidence for your counterarguments.
  • Benefits: Outline the benefits of the audience adopting your position. Use smooth, conversational transitions to get to these.
  • Drawbacks: Outline what drawbacks of the audience rejecting your position. Be sure to remain conversational and avoid alarmism.

III. Conclusion

In your conclusion, you will wrap up your argument, summarize your key points, and relate them back to the decisions your audience makes.

  • Transition: Write a transition that emphasizes the key point you are trying to make.
  • Summary: Summarize your arguments, their benefits, and the key pieces of evidence supporting your position.
  • Tie-back: Tie back your summary to the actions of your audience and how their decisions will impact the subject of your presentation.
  • Final word: Try to end on a last emotional thought that can inspire your audience to adopt your position and act in support of it.

IV. Citations

Include a section at the end of your presentation with citations for your sources. This will make independent fact-checking easier for your audience and will make your overall presentation more persuasive.

Persuasive Presentation Examples

Check out some of these examples of persuasive presentations to get inspiration for your own. Seeing how someone else made their presentation could help you create one that strikes home with your audience. While the structure of your presentation is entirely up to you, here are some outlines that are typically used for different subjects.

Introducing a Concept

One common type of persuasive presentation is one that introduces a new concept to an audience and tries to get them to accept it. This presentation introduces audience members to the dangers of secondhand smoke and encourages them to take steps to avoid it. Persuasive presentations can also be a good format to introduce marco issues, such as this presentation on the benefits of renewable energy.

Changing Personal Habits

Want to change the personal habits of your audience? Check out this presentation on how to adopt healthy eating habits. Or this presentation which encourages the audience to get more exercise in their daily lives.

Making a Commitment to an Action

Is your goal to get your audience to commit to a specific action? This presentation encouraging audience memes to become organ donors could provide inspiration. Trying to make a big sale? Check out this presentation outline that can encourage someone to buy a home.

Remember: You Can Do This

Anyone can craft a persuasive presentation once they know the basic framework for creating one. Once you get the process down, you’ll be in a better position to bring in sales, attract donors or funding, and even advance your career. The skills you learn can also benefit you in other areas of your personal and professional life as you know how to make a case and influence people toward it.


How to Nail Interactive Presentations, According to HubSpot Experts

I can distinctly remember being extremely excited to attend a presentation from a speaker whose book I had read and loved in class. Unfortunately, the speaker was not as engaging as I’d hoped, and I found myself getting bored and distracted.

Marketers know better than anyone that capturing audience attention goes hand in hand with keeping people engaged. If people are bored, their thoughts will drift somewhere else, and you’ll miss out on the opportunity to impact their behavior. This is true regardless of the marketing medium, from advertisements to presentations.

That being said, marketers need to create effective ways to gain audience attention during their presentations — one of those is interactivity. According to the Oxford Dictionary, interactivity is defined as how two people work together and influence each other. Therefore, creating interactive presentations means using strategies that will capture and hold audience attention. It makes it easier to leave lasting, meaningful impressions about the content you’re sharing with them.

This post will outline the importance of interactive presentations and share tips from HubSpot experts for giving engaging, interactive presentations.

Why are interactive presentations important?

Interactive presentations are those where audience members and presenters feel like they’re in conversation with each other. It’s a pivot away from the lecture and listeners feel, as presenters entice audiences to participate and interact with them.

The reason for creating interactive presentations is simple: marketers who make a connection with their audience are more likely to have them leave feeling as though they’ve learned something from you.

All marketers want to leave good impressions, so understanding how to do this during presentations is important. Below we’ve listed nine interactive presentation ideas that you can use when planning your next virtual or in-person events.

Use a PowerPoint.

PowerPoints help you incorporate various media into your presentations, like text, images, and even videos. This ensures that there is an aspect of your presentation that appeals to every audience member, as everyone learns differently.

For example, someone may have an easier time digesting your content when they can see visual examples. In contrast, their neighbor may retain more information if they can follow along by reading a brief summary. When you tailor your presentation to meet the differing needs of your audience, it’s easier for everyone to interact with your content and learn from your talk.

Should you choose to use a PowerPoint, this HubSpot download gives you four different slide templates to choose from that can be used to create high-quality presentations.

Draw comparisons to your passions.

It’s probably safe to say that the presentation you’re giving is about a topic you’re an expert in. It’s also probably safe to say that your audience isn’t necessarily as informed as you are, so they’ll need more context to catch up to your level of understanding.

Content Creation and Lead Acquisition Marketing Manager AJ Beltis says that drawing comparisons to your passions during presentations can engage your audience and enhance their understanding of new concepts, especially if they aren’t contextually related. This could look like drawing in references to sports, movies, and pop culture.

Beltis says, “Help your audience better understand what you’re presenting by referencing something outside of the context — sports, movies, and pop culture references can work really well if they make sense.”

This keeps your audience engaged because you’re relating the information to real-life examples that may be more readily available to them. Bonus points if you use a humorous reference, which can cause your audience to create a positive association with the information and retain more of what you’re saying. If you begin with a cheerful anecdote, you’ll set the tone for the rest of the presentation.

compare content to your passions interactive presentation idea

Use an ice breaker.

One way to ensure that your presentation is interactive is to generate rapport with your audience with an ice breaker.

Ice breakers are short activities that audience members can participate in that are meant to inspire a sense of community and help audience members meet their neighbors. Ice breakers can also diffuse any sort of tension or anxiety from being around unfamiliar people.

If you’re at a loss for ideas, you can always try Two Truths and a Lie. Every audience member comes up with two factual statements about their life and one lie, and the rest of the audience works together to pick out the false statement.

Ice breakers are great because they are adaptable to both in-person and virtual meetings. For in-person events, per safety regulations, presenters can pre-select an ice breaker, and small audiences can go around the room responding to a question. For larger audiences, participants can simply introduce themselves to a neighbor.

For virtual events with small audiences, you can use the same structure as in-person presentations, but larger audiences can be broken down into smaller, more intimate break-out rooms. Either way, people are still breaking the ice, so to speak, and interacting with each other.

Tell a story.

Use your presentations to interact with your audience by telling a story. It could be a personal anecdote, a story from a customer, or a well known-story that you adapt to illustrate your presentation’s message.

Senior Marketing Director Emmy Jonassen recalls one of the most memorable presentations from a HubSpot Marketing Team planning session: “There was a group that used Goldilocks and the Three Bears to illustrate how they went about solidifying the perfect strategy. The story paired with the imagery kept the audience engaged, and people were listening and laughing.” Jonassen says that, almost a year later, that was one of the most memorable presentations of the two-day session.

By telling a story, you’re using interactivity to influence your audience and help them remember what you’re sharing with them. A story gives your audience something to associate the information with, which may make the information you’re sharing easier to recall. You’ve used a story to influence their retention of the information you’re presenting.

tell a story interactive presentation idea

Use data representations.

Using data representations is a valuable way to showcase your content in a digestible format. For reference, data visualization is using things like charts and diagrams to help viewers understand the significance of the information you’re showing them. It’s easy to say the words out loud, but using pictures gives the audience a visual representation of your words.

Say you’re a marketer giving a presentation on the benefits your business has found from advertising on different social media sites. You can certainly verbalize how Twitter was the best, but using a chart that shows the difference in return on investment (ROI) between different platforms gives audience members a visual representation of your success.

If you’re a HubSpot user, Marketing Hub allows you to create visualizations from the data in your HubSpot analytics reports. The image below is a pie chart that was created using HubSpot reports.

interactive presentation data visualization pie chart example

All-in-all, data visualization increases the impact of your words because audience members get a picture of the significance of the information you’re giving them.

Breakaway from the “expected” format.

The disappointing presentation I mentioned earlier followed the typical structure of an introduction, content presentation, brief Q&A, and then it was over. I expected more interactivity from the author, but it really felt like a regular college lecture. I wish the author had mixed it up and varied their structure, maybe by asking us questions about our interpretations of the book, but she didn’t.

Many presenters follow this structure, and there’s nothing wrong with it, but the framework can become boring to your audience. If you mix it up and vary your style in a way that your audience wouldn’t expect, you can capture their attention by throwing them off (in a good way), and they’re likely to stay attentive because they don’t know what’s coming next.

Amanda Sellers, Historical Optimization Writer, says that breaking away from expected format could mean playing a game, or subverting expectations. She recalls giving a presentation on a Monday afternoon where she knew that the audience would likely be a bit quiet. For part of her presentation, she had the audience stand up and repeat the words she was saying; “Standing up got their blood flowin’, and I encouraged them to participate at full volume. This shook up the presentation, and it helped with information retention because the attendees were listening and repeating back the information.”

Breaking away from the expected format doesn’t necessarily mean that you should do something at the beginning that you’d usually do at the end — get creative with what this means to you personally and how it would benefit your presentations’ interactivity.

vary your format interactive presentation tip

Have Q&A or AMA sessions.

A great way to interact with your audience is to have question and answer (Q&A) or ask me anything (AMA) sessions during your presentation.

When you do this, audience members can ask clarifying questions about what you’ve already said to gain a full understanding before moving on to the next concept. For example, if you’re presenting your recent marketing campaign, consider stopping after each step of your plan (like plan goals, measurement, target audience, etc) to allow the audience to ask clarifying questions before you move on to the next section.

You can also switch it up and ask audience members questions, as they likely have valuable input into the topic at hand. Consider creating quizzes and polls where they can respond to your questions and submit feedback. You can make submissions anonymous so audience members feel comfortable to share anything (within reason) that they have on their mind.

Weaving Q&A and AMA opportunities throughout your presentation is also a great way to re-capture audience attention if they have become distracted, as it requires them to think critically about your content and their own information retention.

During virtual presentations, audience members may not feel as comfortable interrupting you to ask clarifying questions, so purposely taking the time to ask participants questions or have them ask you questions is worth considering. Becca Stamp, Senior Learning & Development Operations, says “It’s important to give everyone space to come off mute and contribute throughout the session. The participants add so much value to the session, either through discussion or over the zoom chat.”

encouraage participants to ask questions interactive presentation idea

Get off the stage.

During in-person presentations, getting off the stage and quite literally leveling yourself with your audience is worth considering.

Most people expect presenters to remain on stage and separated from them, so varying your delivery style and being closer to your audience may inspire a sense of interaction that is different from simply standing in front of a podium for 20 minutes.

If you employ this strategy, you can also have Q&As and where you walk over to audience members and respond to their questions as if you’re having a one on one conversation. Referring back to the definition of interactivity, you’re leaving an effect on your audience by being more approachable than they’d expect.

Share resources for later.

A useful way to inspire continuous interaction with your audience is to leave them with something to take away from your presentation. Depending on the content you’re sharing, maybe you’ll hand out brochures to advertise your service, provide them with a link to your website, or have them sign up for an email list.

Whatever your desired action is, giving them a way to remember you and your presentation is a great way to inspire continuous interaction with them.

Spend Time Making Your Presentations Interactive

All-in-all, the goal of creating interactive presentations is to influence your audience members. Whatever your presentation content is, using strategies that center audience engagement is a valuable way to connect with them and teach them something new.

Feeling like they’ve been in conversation with you rather than being talked at can help you fulfill the ultimate goal of marketing: to leave a lasting impression.


20 Tools for Creating and Delivering Amazing Presentations

If you’re in business, you need to know how to create captivating presentations. Whether you’re trying to convince your boss to support a new campaign, talking with a prospect to close a deal, or building a new piece of marketing collateral, you need to know how craft a presentation that won’t put people to sleep.

The best (and easiest) way to do that? Use the right tools to create and deliver your presentation.

If you’re not sure which tools to use, look no further than this blog post. We’ve compiled our list of the top presentation tools for sales and marketing professionals. They’re listed below, in no particular order. But first …

Why You Should Use Business Presentation Templates

Using a professional presentation design ensures your content is conveyed in a clear, creative, and visually appealing way. To make it stand out further, try using HubSpot’s custom-build templates rather than utilizing one of the existing templates in in your presentation software. You can download them for free here.

Best Presentation Tools

1. Canva


Canva makes design easy — even for marketers and salespeople who feel like they’re design-challenged. The platform gives you a bunch of presentation templates to use right away, and it’s very easy to customize them to your organization and presentation objective. Plus, a variety of apps that integrate with Google Drive, Instagram, and YouTube, to name a few.

Pricing: Free; Pro, $12.95/month for up to five people; Enterprise, $30/month per person

2. Powtoon


Often, being different is what attracts prospects, and Powtoon can help you do that in your presentations. Powtoon’s animation software lets you easily create videos with props, characters, and more — which can help you differentiate your company when talking with prospects.

Pricing: Pro, $19/month; Pro+ $49/month; Agency, $89/month

3. PowerPoint


For years, PowerPoint has been the standard in presentation software, but it hasn’t remained static. PowerPoint is full of features to make sales and marketing presentations dynamic and engaging. (Here are just a few ways you can do that.)

Pricing: Business Basic, $5/user/month; Business Standard, $12.50/user/month; Business Premium, $20/user/month

4. Oomfo


A PowerPoint add-in, Oomfo helps sales and marketing pros create those oh-so-important interactive charts for presentations. Specialized charts, live charts from multiple files, data from cloud applications, interactive options, one-click conversions — it’s all possible, and more, with Oomfo.

Pricing: Free

5. Keynote


Apple’s Keynote allows users to work between their Mac and iOS devices, as well as with people who use Microsoft PowerPoint. With easy-to-use visual tools, drag and drop functionality, interactive charts, and more, Keynote is a popular choice among sales and marketing professionals.

Pricing: Free



Create beautiful slides, pitches, and proposals without a team of designers. AI applies design rules in real time, and a library of free photos and icons are at your fingertips.

Pricing: Basic, $0; Pro, $12/month; Team, $38/user/month

7. Haiku Deck


Available for the web or iPad, Haiku Deck has become a favorite of sales and marketing pros. With Haiku Deck, professionals can quickly create presentations that can be “easily projected, shared, posted, embedded on a website or blog, or viewed on any web-enabled device.” Though it’s another tool that helps you create presentations from scratch, its ease-of-use sets it apart from the rest.

Pricing: Pro, $9.99 – $19.99/month; Premium, $29.99/month

8. Vyond


Vyond is an online animation software that allows you to create animated videos for marketing campaigns, sales enablement, or even human resources. Use their library of customizable templates or create your own from scratch.

Pricing: Essential, $229/year; Premium, $649/year; Professional, $999/user/year; Enterprise, contact for pricing

9. emaze


Busy sales and marketing pros choose emaze because it makes creating amazing presentations quick and easy. The options abound with emaze: Choose a professionally designed template and then create a slideshow, video presentation, or 3D presentation.

Pricing: Business Plan, contact for pricing; Executive Plan, $40/month; Pro Plan, $13/month

10. Camtasia


TechSmith’s Camtasia is an amazing tool that helps you create professional videos. You can record screen movements, import HD video from another source, customize and edit the video, and then share the completed video presentation on practically any device. 

Pricing: Individual, $249.99/user/year; Business $249.99/user/year; Education, $169.99/user/year; Government and Non-Profit, $223.99/user/year

11. SlideShare


SlideShare is a popular choice for sales and marketing professionals looking for a way to share their content publicly. Because it already has a built-in audience, you can easily distribute your presentation out to lots of people — and those people can embed your SlideShares on websites and blogs, or share them on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc.

Pricing: Free

12. SlideDog


Sometimes, sales and marketing professionals need to be able to move between presentation tools, but it’s not always possible because of their technical limitations. SlideDog is the solution, as it enables users to switch between PowerPoint, Prezi, PDF, web pages and others.

Pricing: Free; Pro, $99/year; Pro Event, $49 for one-time payment

13. Presentation Assistant


Presentation Assistant lives up to its name: It assists professionals by enabling them to annotate, zoom, and more during a presentation. Sales and marketing professionals can clarify and emphasize points more clearly to their audience with Presentation Assistant.

Pricing: Presentation Pointer, $29.95; Presentation Screen Master, $29.95

14. authorSTREAM


Sales and marketing pros choose authorSTREAM to make their presentations dynamic and engaging. authorSTREAM allows users to share their PowerPoint presentations publicly or privately, broadcast them, convert them to video, communicate and collaborate about them, and more.

Pricing: Free or paid plans start at $4.20/month

15. Zentation


With Zentation, salespeople and marketers combine video and slides into a simulated live experience. Presentations created with Zentation become webinars, webcasts, and virtual events for prospects and customers — all great collateral for marketing and sales.

Pricing: Free; Premium, $10 – $45/month; White-Label, contact for pricing

16. Prezi


Sales and marketing professionals love Prezi because it is cloud-based. Prezi makes creating, editing, and presenting from your browser, desktop, iPad, or iPhone possible anywhere, any time.

Pricing: Standard, $5/month; Plus, $15/month; Premium, $59/month

17. Brainshark

brainshark-sales-enablementSales reps and marketers often choose Brainshark, a cloud-based presentation tool, because it allows them to create and deliver presentations live or on-demand (even using their iPad or iPhone), use on-demand video content, polls, or surveys for increased engagement, and embed presentations in websites and blogs.

Pricing: Contact for pricing

18. Vcasmo


Vcasmo is a unique presentation tool — it’s a multimedia solution that enables users to synchronize a video and slideshow, side by side. Sales and marketing pros love Vcasmo because it supports playback in three forms: browser, mobile, and iPad. 

Pricing: Free; Standard, $10.99/month; Professional, $16.99/month

19. ViewletBuilder


ViewletBuilder is a different presentation tool; it captures critical screen updates and cursor position changes so sales and marketing pros can create presentations detailing how their product or sites work. With a plethora of features, ViewletBuilder allows for editing and enhancing and includes a variety of publishing and sharing options, too.

Pricing: Pro, $399; Enterprise, $599

20. Zoho Show


Zoho Show is a top pick for sales and marketing pros because it lives online, making it possible to create, access, present, and more from anywhere, any time. The simple, intuitive interface and collaboration features are just two of its beloved benefits.

Pricing: Contact for pricing

What are you waiting for? Pick a tool and start creating. Your prospects are waiting.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2014 and has been updated for freshness and comprehensiveness.



Pro Speakers on How to Give a Perfect Keynote…

Two years ago, I was asked to give a presentation about my HubSpot article on emotional marketing. It was by far the both exhilarating and nerve wracking experience of my professional life.

I don’t necessarily hate public speaking. However, leading up to the event, I felt the full responsibility of not only delivering a good presentation but also teaching the audience valuable, actionable information — and that was very intimidating.

I wanted to do a good job, and I wanted to be a good teacher.

Therein lies the importance of keynote presentations: to be effective, they should be educational and entertaining. Do you have a keynote presentation in your future? Read on for some advice from professional speakers.

First, what is a keynote presentation? Glad you asked.

You may also be tasked with a keynote presentation in order to secure funding, make a sale, or update stakeholders or executives. Whatever stage you find yourself on, delivering a keynote presentation is an important responsibility as a public speaker.

How to Give a Perfect Keynote Presentation, According to the Experts

I spoke with four professional speakers on how to deliver a near-perfect presentation. Here are five pieces of advice they shared.

1. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.

When it comes to public speaking, practice quite literally makes perfect. Every expert I spoke with mentioned how frequently they rehearse their presentations.

“However much you think you need to rehearse, rehearse 10 times more than that. When you show up to a concert, you expect that the musicians know their songs, and you certainly don’t want the first time they try to play it to be right there on stage. You owe your audience and the folks hiring you to speak the same respect,” said Melanie Deziel, international keynote speaker and founder of StoryFuel. (She received this advice herself from Michael and Amy Port at Heroic Public Speaking.)

Provided by Melanie Deziel

As more presentations and events become fully virtual, the likelihood of technical difficulties also grows. Rehearsing your content can help you weather any interruptions or last-minute changes.

Rehearsal not only leads to content mastery; it allows freedom in your presentations. “The more you rehearse and become comfortable with the content, the freer you’ll be to take chances, experiment, and truly focus on your delivery, rather than trying to remember what comes next,” shared Deziel.


How do these experts recommend practicing your presentations? “[Use] a mirror,” said Olivia Scott, keynote speaker and founder of Omerge Alliances. “I take the time to see how I’m being received, I look at my body posture, and I look at everything to make sure that I feel good about what I’m delivering. This isn’t exactly a tool or technology, but it’s a way to practice and rehearse.”

olivia scott keynote presentation hubspot


Additionally, consider asking friends, family, and trusted colleagues to listen to your practice runs and provide feedback on your presentation.

2. Ask for feedback.

Speaking of feedback, expert orators know to ask for it on a regular basis — from friends, peer groups, mentors, audience members, and clients. “Find a support crew and connect with other speakers in the industry,” mentioned Karen Hopper, keynote speaker and data strategist at M+R. Hopper personally recommends Shine Bootcamp, which provided her with lifelong friendships, helpful feedback, and a priceless education about public speaking.

Karen Hopper keynote presentation hubspot

Provided by Karen Hopper

“We help each other with feedback on our pitches, topics, outlines, and presentations, and we celebrate each others’ wins,” said Hopper. “ … It’s well worth surrounding yourself with people who will cheer for you and who will give you honest feedback — the fastest way to get better is to ruthlessly seek out that feedback.”

Clients can also be an incredibly helpful source of feedback. If you’re asked to speak at an event or conference, consider asking the people who hired you. “I ask my client for their reaction immediately after every presentation. It’s important to know how they felt, and whether the presentation achieved their goals. Every time my client is happy, that’s my most successful presentation,” said Jeff Toister, keynote speaker, author, and customer service expert.

jeff toister keynote speaking hubspot


Lastly, the best feedback often comes from the source — in this case, your audience. Whether you ask questions during your presentation (which we’ll discuss next) or ask for feedback following your presentation, it’s never a bad idea to know what your audience thought about your keynote.

Feedback may look different if giving a remote keynote presentation, but it’s still possible.

“It’s been a creative challenge to adapt a talk I’d hoped to give in person to work in a virtual environment. It’s much harder to tell how your talks are received online, without being able to see nodding and note-taking and hear laughter and clapping. But all the feedback I have received [over email] indicated that my talk successfully changed the way many people are thinking about their content idea generation process, and that was the ultimate goal of the talk: to change how people think,” shared Deziel, referring to her recent keynote at Content Marketing World 2020.

3. Engage your audience.

Nobody likes being talked at. Sure, delivering a keynote presentation involves you doing most of the talking, but it doesn’t have to be a one-way conversation. Many of the experts I interviewed encouraged some sort of audience engagement or interaction to enhance your presentation.

“People love to be involved in a presentation. Rather than explain a concept to my audience, I find a way to have them experience it,” said Toister. “For example, when I share how multitasking hurts productivity and causes us to make more errors, I have the audience try a brief multitasking exercise so they can experience the problem themselves.”

Did you know that audience engagement levels drop considerably (14%) if a presenter does most of the talking, versus if the audience talks just as much? Moreover, 64% of people believe that a presentation with two-way interaction is much more engaging than a one-way presentation.

Presentation engagement also takes practice — just like your presentation content itself. “ … Entertainment comes from the performance itself: the way in which you deliver that content and the energy you bring to that delivery. This is a separate skill you need to practice. Work with a coach, watch back recordings of yourself to identify opportunities to improve your craft, and watch videos of top-notch comedians, poets and other speakers to see what you can learn from them,” encouraged Deziel.

Lastly, as important as engagement is, don’t let technology stand in the way. While smartphones and polling software can make audience interaction easier, they can also get in the way of you connecting with your audience. “I prefer to just have people stand up, raise their hand, or clap to participate in the poll. It gets the audience moving, and I don’t have to worry about WiFi connections or whether the polling software is working,” said Toister.

4. Prioritize your content as much as the delivery.

While entertaining and interacting with your audience is helpful and exciting, it shouldn’t take precedence over your presentation content itself. “Nearly all of what the audience can learn from you comes from the content: the stories you tell, the examples you share, the facts you cite and the other information you explain. Carefully crafting those materials and testing it out ensures that the audience will get the information they were promised from your session,” said Deziel.

Tools like PowerPoint, Keynote, Google Slides, and Canva can help you hone your content and develop a story within your presentation. A 2018 Prezi study (another presentation tool option) showed that 90% of people believe a strong narrative makes for a more engaging, interesting presentation. Data can help form arguments and explain facts, but stories stay with your audience long after your time on stage.

Storytelling is yet another way to engage with your audience, especially by evoking emotions like humor. “It’s entertaining to ask questions, saying, ‘Can anyone relate to this? Has anyone ever had this type of experience before?’ and then getting them involved with some laughter around those experiences. Laughter always helps,” said Scott, who presented at INBOUND 2020.

Hopper, who was also a Breakout Speaker at INBOUND 2020, agreed: “Don’t be afraid to be funny or drop in jokes — there are studies that show that laughing actually helps your brain retain information better, so not only will your audience have a good time laughing with you, but they’ll also get more out of your presentation. It’s a win-win!”

5. Focus on the audience.

Finally, everyone can agree that public speaking is either revered or feared. If you relate to the latter and find yourself nervous when giving presentations, turn your focus on the audience.

“Speakers easily get nervous when they focus on themselves and worry too much about their own performance. Focusing on your audience first takes the nerves away and redirects your attention to making sure your audience gets something of value from your keynote,” shared Toister.

That’s the goal of a keynote presentation — to provide value to your audience. Regardless of what story you’re telling, what tools you’re using, or how you’re engaging the crowd, as long as you deliver a presentation that inspires your audience to think differently — even for 30 minutes — you’ve given a perfect keynote presentation.

Note: HubSpot Marketing teams reserve the right to use guest blog author’s likeness across our content as we see fit, including but not limited to HubSpot’s social media channels.

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