How to Build Baller Presentations  

  • March 14, 2018
  • Ariel Miller

We’ve all seen them. The cheesy stock photos. The ill-advised, microscopic font. The misplaced, cringe-worthy animation. The presenters who painstakingly read each slide line-by-line. Is there anything worse than *shudder* a bad presentation?  

 “Death by PowerPoint” has long been hailed as one of the most painful ways to go out there. Chances are that you yourself have experienced “Death by PowerPoint” at some time in your life, sitting through a presentation that made you bored, frustrated and generally desperate to get that hour of your life back.    

Here’s the thing – there are a lot of bad presentations out there. Sometimes people with even the most earnest intentions to compel their audiences deliver presentations that suck. Whether their deck is an eyesore, they’re an uninspired speaker, or it’s a lethal combination of the two, every three seconds someone around the world is giving a bad presentation. I made that up, but it sounds about right.  

 That’s why, when an awesome presentation comes along, it sticks with you. Here are my tried and true tips for building baller presentations:  

Warm up your audience. Maybe you drew the short end of the stick and have the 9am speaking slot at SXSW. Whether or not that’s the case, get your audience excited for spending the next hour with you by engaging them in the presentation from the start. 

How to do itIn 2016, we worked with CSID’s Chief Innovation Officer to kick off his dark web session with a game of “The Price of PII (personally identifiable information) is Right,” quizzing attendees on the going rate for Uber login credentials, a custom cruise booking, and other information on the dark web. In case you were curious, it’s $1.49 and $25, respectively (yup, that cheap). They were shocked, and sold on hearing more.  

During his presentation the following year, “The Creation of a Hacker,” Adam quizzed attendees on the age of the hackers behind banner breaches, including Xbox and PlayStation (affecting 160m gamers, carried out by 16-22-year-olds), and TalkTalk (causing $73m in damages, executed by a 16-year-old). Again, everyone was hooked on hearing how teenagers could cause so much damage and needed to know more.     

Show, don’t tell. You may have a lot to say, but leave it off your slides.  

How to do itResist the urge to cram words on a slide. Think about how you can display those same concepts visually through images, or even better, video. Tap your design team for help if you have one available to you. Last year, our design team created the awesome hackers graphics below to show there is no “typical” hacker profile.  

Leave time for Q&A. There’s nothing worse than getting cut off before you even finish your presentation. Not to mention, sometimes the Q&A portion (in an ideal world, hovering somewhere around 15 minutes) allows for some of the most dynamic and interesting moments of the presentation. If you’re doing it right, your attendees will have things they want to ask you after you’re done speaking.  

How to do itPrepare. Schedule at least two run-throughs prior to your presentation – it’s absolutely necessary to help mitigate timing issues and other hurdles that will inevitably pop up. Think you’re prepared? Cool. Run through it one more time for good measure.  

Together, we can work towards building a world that is one day free of boring presentations. Are you passionate about eradicating “Death by PowerPoint” for good? Have you built a baller presentation?  We want to hear from you – share your tips and tricks with @heyINKco.  

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