10 Tips for Creating Engaging Presentations

Recently, during one of my presentation workshops, a participant asked me in the Q&A session: “In a nutshell, what’s your recipe for creating an engaging presentation? One where nobody nods off and the audience pays close attention.”

Wow — I thought. — Good question. Can it be answered briefly and concisely? I provided some tips, but I thought that here, in today’s post, I would share a more elaborate answer. Here are 10 of my suggestions for creating a truly engaging presentation.

1. Know your audience

Before you start preparing your presentation, you need to know who it’s for. Not just who your audience is. But also, what expectations they have, what needs they have, what their level of knowledge is. The more you know about your audience, the better you can tailor your message.


2. Define the goal and structure

Your presentation should have a specific goal. Don’t know how to define the goal? Think about what you want your audience to do right after the presentation. For example, to sign up for the CRM system you’re presenting. Or to agree to a longer meeting where you’ll discuss more details about your startup idea. The first step your audience should take after the presentation is your goal.


3. Use visualizations

Visualizations will enhance the attractiveness of your presentation, and consequently, the message will stick more in the audience’s memory. But be careful – visualizations should not overshadow the essence of the matter! Make sure they are simple, coherent, and organized.


4. Be concise

Write in bullet points on slides. This will achieve two things. Firstly, there will be less text on the slides. Secondly, it will force you to come up with/narrate the story in your own words. So, it will be your – I emphasize: your – narrative. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be any different from a robot reading texts from slides with its back turned to the audience and disregarding building any relationship.


5. Practice and repeat

Practice makes perfect! Practice in front of a mirror, in front of a friend, record your presentation. Pay attention to your body language, voice. Gain confidence that you know what you’re saying and how you’re saying it. Notice as many positives as you can in your recorded presentation. There are surely plenty of things you could brag about.


6. Engage your audience

Your presentation should not be one-sided. Build interactions with the audience, ask questions, request feedback. Maintain eye contact and show your enthusiasm. Use anecdotes, quotes, and humor. This will liven up your presentation and help you build a connection with the audience. Finally, don’t forget to ask for questions and feedback.


7. Be prepared for questions and opinions

Your presentation should not end when the slides do but after the Q&A session. Be prepared for it. Prepare a list of the most common and toughest questions so that you have answers ready in advance. Listen to them carefully and respectfully. When you don’t know how to answer – admit it. Be prepared also for criticism. React to it calmly.


8. Create a captivating narrative

Storytelling is a technique that offers immense possibilities. It makes the presentation stick in memory and is more persuasive. Your stories should capture attention, evoke emotions, and illustrate the topic at hand. Be credible – use your own experiences, those of your clients and colleagues.


9. Start strong and finish strong

The introduction and conclusion of your presentation are the most important points. Because the audience will remember them the most. So start and finish strongly – with a brief anecdote, humor, paradox, or strong statement. Break the pattern. From the beginning, signal to the audience that they are about to see a presentation unlike any other. Different, because much better!


10. Be yourself and have fun

The most engaging and effective presentations are those that are authentic. Don’t try to be someone else. Show the audience that the topic you’re discussing is interesting to you and that you’re glad to share your knowledge with them. Smile, relax, and be positive. The audience will appreciate it.