How to give an awesome presentation

Some of us like giving presentations, some of us don’t. And all of us have room for improvement. But we all have to make presentations if we want to move up the ladder, to get funding, to sell your benefits, or to spread our experience and experiments in happiness at work. As part of our effort to help you with entrepreneurial skills and small business resources and to help you not only be happier but more successful at work, today we get a little help from our community in how to give a great presentation–that leaves your audience engaged, not bored to tears!

How flipcharts can be your best friend

When I attended my first Management 3.0 workshop, I was attending it both as a participant, looking for ways to increase engagement with my own business and with clients, as well as I was attending it to learn how a workshop is given. Since I had already been immersed in the Management 3.0 world of change management for awhile and had read the #Workout book, I was more focused on the latter, taking loads of notes of not only what Saket my facilitator was doing, but how my fellow participants were reacting to it.

One this I noticed time and again was that people leaned forward when Saket was writing on the flipchart. He did it rarely but he definitely did it when he had something important to say or note, or when he wanted to note other participants’ feedback. While sometimes the same information was on the PowerPoints, this physical sign of interest didn’t happen when people were reading them, just when something was happening at the flipchart. So when another facilitator–who doesn’t use PowerPoints but rather only flipcharts for his workshops shared his tricks with us at the Management 3.0 retreat last Fall, I joined the other facilitators in leaning forward to show interest and learn more.

You can’t just write all the time, lest your back is turned to your audience. You need to do some work ahead, but you can learn some tricks from Christof  — who shared his tricks with us at the Fall 2015 Management 3.0 facilitators retreat at Betahaus coworking here in Barcelona — to help you do a little work that looks like you did a lot of work and that allows you to organize your presentation ahead in a professional looking manner.

Step 1: Rectangles

“It’s easy, anyone can draw a rectangle,” Christof said. You and your attendees say a lot of quotable things. Draw boxes around what they say to draw attention to the most important things, or use pre-drawn fill-in-the-blank shapes to signify patterns, paths and steps.



Step 2: People

Like Jurgen Appelo mentions in his feedback wraps, happy faces and expressions really drive home happy or sad and other feelings. Use simple shapes plus circles as quick ways to make people or crowds of people.


Step 3: Reuse, Recycle!

And just because you’re using flipcharts, doesn’t mean you can’t make them reusable! We still like trees too! Now, they can’t be used forever, unless you laminate them, but, if you plan your flipcharts ahead, you can make your boards reusable by using sticky notes and templates.

Here on the left you see how Christof takes his attendees on a customized journey with a professional, engaging template, while on the right, he creates a a reusable delegation poker, writing on laminated paper.

how to make a great reusable presentation 2how to make a great reusable presentation

You can also watch the whole video of Christof’s presentation with step-by-steps below. Sound quality isn’t great, so turn up that volume.

How to use PowerPoint to make an argument

Nothing generates yawns more than ten little letters generated by Microsoft. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Whether you are making a sales pitch or trying to engage a crowd, PowerPoint can be your worst enemy or it can be your best friend. It’s just that most people do it wrong.

Here are some steps to a great presentation that actually takes much less time to make and has people following what you say, not squinting at text.

  • Don’t use a white background, it’ll hurt their eyes.
  • Don’t use red or hot pink backgrounds, it’ll make you look really bad in pics.
  • Stick with one-liners of text.
  • Or up to three to four bullets.
  • Keep it as simple as possible–you want them listening to what you say, not reading it!
  • Put fun pics in the background.
  • Stick to the colors of your brand.

And more importantly, here are some tips for presentations that get your message across:

  • Start any talk by asking what your audience is trying to achieve.
  • Succinctly rephrase their problem.
  • Then succinctly state the benefits you offer.
  • Know your competition and how you fit into it.
  • Then graph how you fit with a simple competitive quadrangle.
  • Remember people care about the who much more than the what you offer.
  • Don’t forget to make the Ask. Why are you presenting? What do you want?

Are you looking to sell your value proposition or get investors? Check out this presentation on how to pitch like a rockstar for even more tips.

Here are our favorite websites to get free, not-boring stock photos (some require credit, some don’t, make sure you read the fine print). Feel free to tell us more below!

And one thing so much of our team recommends is reading Training from the Back of the Room, to learn how to facilitate a conversation and give a great presentation.

What are your tricks to giving a great presentation? Tell use below!Blog Footer


  1. To add to this piece, I found this surprisingly amusing piece on how to choose the right kind of chart to represent data!

    Comment by Jennifer Riggins on January 8, 2016 at 7:14 PM

  2. Very helpful. Thanks for sharing.

    Comment by Durgesh on January 11, 2016 at 8:13 PM

  3. Hi, I have a usuful website to get a lot of icons: its free only if you credit the autor

    Comment by agileChilango on February 11, 2016 at 10:25 PM

  4. One of the things I can honestly say I enjoy doing is giving presentations. I was always a theater junkie in high school, so there’s something about speaking in front of an audience that I have always loved. I’ve never done it with a flip chart though, so I can imagine that the first time I do so will be a challenge. Thanks for sharing the tips!

    Comment by Rachel on August 11, 2016 at 10:57 PM

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This article is written by Jennifer Riggins on January 4th 2016.

You can connect with Jennifer Riggins in Google+.