The speaker walked into the room, tapped the microphone, ducked for cover at the high-pitched screech his tapping produced, laughed mechanically, swallowed audibly, mumbled something, and began stuttering.
It all went downhill from there. The most interesting part of the presentation was over.
While he strung word upon flat word, I looked around the room. A sea of heads bobbing to the rhythms of heavy eyes. No one could stay awake, let alone evaluate any of the points the speaker was making. And that was a pity.
A real pity because I knew from personal experience that the speaker was brilliant at this work. But his presentation that day was convincing no one of his brilliance. Even worse, it wasn't inspiring a single person in that room to take action towards hiring him as the expert in his field.
Winning at business is as much about being good at what you do as it is about presenting the brilliance of your work in an intelligent, attractive, and well-packaged way. Because if no one can see your brilliance, how will anyone ever know they need your services?
To put it differently: a well-kept secret cannot win popularity.
And a brilliant business under wraps cannot earn you any money.
Which means that as a small business owner you’ll have to give presentations about your work. Awesome, brilliant, and intriguing presentations of your work.
Whether you’re presenting a proposal to prospective clients, presenting the results of your work at a professional conference, or presenting before a panel of potential investors, your goal remains the same: to inspire your audience. Inspire trust in them regarding your work that will lead to action you can transform into income for your business.
What makes for an inspirational presentation versus one that puts everyone to sleep?
The following ten creative presentation ideas will help you put together a riveting presentation that keeps your audience glued to your speech.
Guide to Making Great Presentations (Free eBook Download)
Also, before you dig into this article, be sure to download our FREE eBook: The Complete Guide to Making Great Presentations. It will help you with the complete presentation process, taking the ideas you'll learn in this article further.
10 Creative Presentation Ideas
1. Tell a story
The human brain has been designed to respond to stories as both a survival mechanism (Don’t leave the cave! Big mammoth prowling the area!) and an entertainment mechanism (...and then, when the mammoth got near, I jumped out from my hiding place, branches attached to me and all, and started bellowing like a ferocious beast…). And that double role has helped develop it into one of the most powerful communication tools humans have known.
Story is how we perceive and process the world of facts around us.
Stories are much more interesting than facts because stories entertain us. Storytelling grabs and maintains attention. It helps the audience understand and remember what was said long after the story’s over.
Instead of presenting your work solely as a series of facts (budgets, figures, breakdowns) that will bore even the most kind-hearted audiences out of their minds, organize your facts into a story.
And use a professional design, with captivating photo layouts and graphics, to help connect your audience visually to your story, such as the stylish Summit 2 PowerPoint template:
What interesting connections can you make between your facts? What story can you build around them that will keep your audience stay engaged from start to finish? Tell them that!
Learn more about the presentation writing process:
- PresentationsHow to Write a Professional PowerPoint Presentation (Discover the Writing Process)Brad Smith
2. Ask Questions at Crucial Moments
Statements sound trite and expected. Especially during a presentation. Since a presentation essentially consists of a series of statements strung together, one more statement isn’t likely to intrigue the audience—not even an exceptional one.
But what if you ask a question instead?
A question breaks up your regular presentation rhythm and helps mark what you’re saying as important. More than that, a question turns your presentation from a passive story into an active quest that the audience can explore on their own through their answers.
Answering a question (even if only in their heads) makes your audience feel involved in your presentation and keeps their interest glued to your words.
3. Organize Your Presentation Into 3 Clear Points
The number 3 has been considered somewhat of a magical number in many cultures since antiquity. Something about things in threes fascinates the human mind and helps it retain information better: body, mind, and soul; lock, stock, and barrel; pb and j (two ingredients, but three consonants in this abbreviated form); blood, sweat, and tears.
Magical or not, the number three works like a charm. At the end of the presentation, we can all remember three things that were said.
So instead of leaving those precious three things to luck, why not take charge and organize your presentation into three main points or takeaways? Then you can be sure that your audience is paying attention to the important things and not the insignificant details.
Even if you’re making more than three points, which you likely will be, you can find ways to organize all your minor points into three main categories. That way, you can easily address and summarize the gist of your presentation at the end.
Cost, timeline, results. Problem, suggestions, solution. Beginning, middle, and end. Just remember to divide it into three!
4. Break It Up With Humor
Humor makes the world go around. And the same holds true for the business world. At the end of the day, no one likes to work with a stiff.
So even when you’re presenting in front of a “serious” client or investor, remember to use humor in your presentation. This doesn’t mean you have to crack jokes the entire time. It simply means being cheerful, lighthearted, and personable.
Humor not your strong point? No worries. You can find presentations on creating presentations with humor!
While it can be challenging to nail just the right tone with your use of humor it's one of the best presentation ideas to work on. Humor works to break the ice between you and your audience. It helps put everyone at ease, feel friendly, and well-disposed towards you (which can lead to improved results from your presentation). And it also helps open people up to the ideas you’re offering in your presentation.
5. Design Your PowerPoint for Persuasion, Not Distraction
Design a PowerPoint with purpose. Not a PowerPoint that simply fills the empty wall behind you. Or a PowerPoint that repeats your presentation in bullet-point format. Those types of PPTs are useless.
What you want to do instead is create a PowerPoint that complements your presentation. That completes it as a narrative story.
That means selecting a PowerPoint presentation design that best fits your narrative structure. Good presentation ideas are easily lost in a mediocre design. You need presentation slides that highlight your innovative ideas.
And it also means using quotes, key phrases, images, and other visual elements that support and enhance, not overwrite your presentation’s persuasive powers.
Think of your PowerPoint as a way to guide your audience through your presentation while keeping them engaged and focused at every moment.
Find great PowerPoint templates on Envato Market (GraphicRiver) to help you start your presentation with professional design slides. Browse through the creative, trending PPT themes featured below and learn how to customize the slides to your presentation post purchase:
- Presentations20+ Creative PowerPoint Templates - For Presenting Your Innovative IdeasSean Hodge
- Microsoft PowerPointHow to Create a PowerPoint Presentation From a PPT TemplateSven Lenaerts
Don't forget to get our new Complete Guide to Making Great Presentations. This 30 page PDF eBook is available to download now for free, when you sign up to the Tuts+ Business newsletter.
6. Don’t Read From Your Slides
Reading from a slide that everyone in the room can see (and read for themselves) is boring and makes you look unprepared. Your PowerPoint isn’t there to remind you what to say but to help your audience better understand the point you're making.
When you read off your PPT presentation, your audience will inevitably read along with you. And it has been shown that our minds wander 20-40% of the time while reading.
That means that while you’re reading your slides, your audience is traveling down distraction lane wondering if they’ve left the iron on or what they're having for dinner. And that’s not what you want them to be thinking about!
Keep the text of your slides short and only use it to highlight important points you’re making or to mark the headlines of different sections of your presentation.
Your slides should never be a crutch to your presentation when you can’t remember what to say. And they should never contain more than a few lines of text on them.
Slides are not for reading, but for emphasizing your points quickly.
7. Use Visuals to Ground Abstract Ideas
If you can’t use a million bullet points to summarize your presentation on your slides, then what should your slides contain?
Visuals! Lots of visuals!
Graphs, charts, and pies that illustrate your point and help emphasize it. Also, include images that make an impact on the audience and make the gist of your argument memorable.
There’s a difference between saying that your solution will cut costs by 20% and showing what that looks like on a graph with real numbers. It helps bring the idea from the abstract domain of theory into the concrete domain of facts.
And don’t just stick to traditional presentation visuals. This isn’t 1998, after all. Remember that cool presentation ideas today aren't the same as a decade ago.
Bring your presentation into the current era by including a variety of your visual elements. Using graphics, emojis, and even gifs where appropriate will help give currency to your presentation and bring it to life.
Here’s one of our most popular PowerPoint templates, Marketofy. It includes a number of innovative slide design options, from photo layouts, to infographics, and more:
Discover the best PowerPoint templates with great infographics in this curated article:
- Microsoft PowerPoint20 Best PowerPoint Presentation Templates—With Great Infographic SlidesSean Hodge
8. Highlight Important Points With Visual Metaphors
Visuals, whether emojis, graphics, or images, shouldn’t be used gratuitously in your presentation. Instead, everything you put into your slideshow should have a specific purpose.
A powerful way to use images is through visual metaphors. Don’t just tell your client that with your plan new followers will come to them like bees to honey. Illustrate it with an image to help the point stick in their mind.
Visual images of a situation we’re already familiar with help retain points longer in our memory. They give us something easy to refer to.
9. Make Your Examples Personal
Another creative presentation idea is to personalize your talk for the specific audience you’re talking to on each occasion. Whether a prospective client, an audience at a conference, or a potential investor, you can always adjust and personalize your presentation experience to the specific audience.
Give examples in your presentation that involve the audience and show how your solution will benefit them.
People may not care (or may think they don’t care) about your solution or talk if it just discusses the general. But the minute people realize that something can directly affect and benefit them personally, they start paying attention!
Show your audience the direct effects of your presentation by including them in your examples, and you’ll have their full attention and work your way halfway to that yes!
10. Add Music!
This may not be common practice in most presentations you've seen, but it's been proven to work by science. According to research done by Ronald A. Berk of The John Hopkins University, “Music embedded throughout a PowerPoint presentation can sustain attention, while slipping the content into long-term memory.”
And it isn’t new science! We’ve all known this for many decades. Case in point: can you think of how many movies you’ve seen in your lifetime that had no music? I’ll give you a hint: Zero!
Ever since we discovered how to add sound to movies, we’ve not only been recording dialogue but also music from them. Because music helps set the mood, gives the right emotional effect, and adds excitement.
Another way you can use music? To lighten up the mood and give everyone a mini dance break!
However you decide to use it, the addition of music can make for a really cool presentation that stands out in your audience’s mind.
So try this innovative presentation idea and add the appropriate music to your next presentation to help bring it to life.
Make Your Next Presentation Memorable!
Simply presenting the facts makes for a baseline presentation. If your purpose is to impress, convince, and convert your audience with your presentation, then you’ll need to build some structure and excitement into your talk both verbally and visually.
Take advantage of these creative ideas for making your presentation better.
Also, be sure to download our free eBook: The Complete Guide to Making Great Presentations, which comes with a subscription to the Tuts+ Business Newsletter.
This 30 page PDF guide with included checklist will help you with the complete presentation process. Learn how to write your presentation, design it like a pro, and quickly prepare it to present powerfully.
For even more ideas on how to improve your presentation, check out this article featuring presentation tips or browse through our featured presentation material:
How do you structure and design your presentations? And what will you do differently in your next presentation given these presentation ideas? Do you have any other creative presentation ideas to share with us? If so, let us know!