Below are my 8 tips for creating epic pitch decks and presentations. Personally, I cringe at crappy looking PowerPoint slides generated from templates or even worse slapped together in a matter of minutes by doing a copy paste from a word document. We are on a mission to help entrepreneurs and change makers present their ideas clearly and quickly. We subscribe the notion that simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication and we attempt to instil this into all presentations and pitch decks we create. These are some of the best tips we’ve picked up along the way to turn boring slides into compelling, gorgeous presentations.

1. Tell A Great Story

In order to convince the audieCraft A Compelling Story That Engages The Audience And Creates Curiosity

Why go to the trouble? Because if you take the other road – informing the audience of something – no matter how interesting the information, you’ll run up against the limitation of the brain and quickly overtax your audience. We can only remember, they say, 7 plus or minus 2 things. Most of the time, I think you only get to tell an audience 4 or 5 because they’ve already got 2 or 3 things rattling around in their brains before you start talking.

What happens is that audiences attempt to store your information in their frontal lobes as a list, and within about 30 seconds, their mental hoppers are full.

If instead you tell your audience a story, you get to jump right into the deeper parts of their brain, where emotion and memory work together, the hippocampus and amygdala. They hear your words differently, because they compare them with stories they’ve heard before and log them in along with The Lord of the Rings, Iron Man 3, and Bambi.

So tell stories because you greatly increase the likelihood that they’ll remember what you say. If you do it well – by telling a great story. As I’ve blogged before, there are 5 great stories – the Quest, Stranger in a Strange Land, Revenge, Rags to Riches and Love Story. You want to tell one of those. Well.

What does it mean to tell a story? Telling a story means first of all making your audience the hero. Then, taking your audience on a journey – one of those 5 great journeys I mentioned above, a journey with complications, danger, struggle, and above all decisions. In other words, a story arc. Because it’s a speech and the audience is the hero, you want to arrive at a happy ending – that’s the end of the arc. You and your audience make the right decision, and the division is saved, the product is launched, or the prize is won. But first you and your audience have to get through the struggle, the peril, and the agonies of a great tale. Think about The Lord of the Rings or Iron Man 3 or Bambi – how much peril each of those stories puts its heroes in. That’s what it means to tell a story.

How do you do it? If you’re talking about a product, don’t list features. That’s not a story. Instead, find an unusual customer usage case and talk about that. How did the product change that customer’s life for the better? Or talk about the personas of customers that might buy the product and how they might use it. Or put the product at the climax of the story arc – like those old Mr. Clean TV ads where the product saves the day by cleaning up the spill. Or talk about how the product will change the audience’s life. Find the story arc, the tension and release, the problem and solution. That’s how you do it.

Telling stories makes the difference between boring, forgettable speeches, and speeches that people remember. Do the hard work. Find the story. Tell it like only you know how.

2. The 10/20/30 Rule Of Powerpoint

10 Slides – Pick The Most Important Points
20 Minutes – Present In Under 20 Minutes
Any Longer And You Will Lose The Engagement Of The Audience
30pt Fonts
Large Fonts Are Easier To Read
Small Font Sizes Are Hard To Read

3. Less Is More

Use Headlines, Not Paragraphs
The Slides Compliment Your Speech Not The Other Way Around
Perfection Is Achieved, Not When There Is Nothing More To Add, But When There Is Nothing Left To Take Away.
– Antoine De Saint-exupery

4. Photos Say A Thousand Words

Use High Quality Images
Flickr.com/search/advanced

5. Icons & Graphs Visualize Text

Use Icons & Graphs To Visualize
Points And Data Engaging The Audience

6. Typography Is Important

Stock Fonts = Boring!
Fontsquirrel.com
Sintony
Garamond
Yanone Kaffeesatz
Bebas

7. Colors Matter

Complimentary Color Palettes Make Good Design Look Great
This Is A Bad Choice
This Is Much Better

8. Structure Your Slides

Use Guides For Consistent Alignment
Master Slides For Consistent Formatting

Summary

So to recap to build a stunning and compelling presentation always bear this in mind:

1. Tell A Great Story
2. The 10/20/30 Rule
3. Less Is More
4. Photos Say A Thousand Words
5. Icons & Graphs Visualize Text
6. Typography Is Important
7. Colors Matter
8. Structure Your Slides