SlideRocket Blog

What Is An Online Presentation?

By Nat Robinson on April 5, 2011

In 1997 IBM coined the term e-Business which helped define a decade of change in the way we use technology to conduct business. This concept caught on like wildfire and soon everything became prefaced with an “e” e-New York, e-fiction, e-ciao (see below), e-thwack etc. but over time e-Business just became business, or rather that which was new and different became the norm. Now it’s just business as usual.

e-ciao. Vespa is an IBM e-business.

Today SlideRocket is helping define a new category of communication technology known commonly as online presentations. Just like e-Business we believe that over the next few years online presentations will become the new norm and what was once typified as an online presentation will be just a presentation. The reason this will happen is that online presentations represent significant advantages in the way that you experience presentations and deliver stories (story = strategy + value).

To understand those advantages we first have to understand what an online presentation is. Enter the 8 Principles Of Online Presentations, a list we’ve devised to serve as a guideline for our category. It’s a work in progress so feel free to comment and add your own thoughts below.


#1 Available – Access anywhere you have an Internet connection and a browser, nothing to install, upgrade or (more…)

Incredible Presentation Resources: Adding Humor to Your Slides

By Nat Robinson on November 23, 2010

No matter how hard you try, the content of your presentation will sometimes be dry and boring.  And, it can be quite a challenge to keep your audience interested and engaged while you’re flipping through one slide, chart, or graph after another.  Sometimes, even pictures and videos aren’t enough to spice things up.

Everyone loves to laugh.

That’s why more and more presenters are seeking ways to add humor to their presentations.  Everyone loves to laugh, and nothing will grab the undivided attention of your audience more than something that makes them smile or chuckle.

What can you to do make your slide deck or speech more amusing?

1.  Set the Tone
Start your presentation off on a light-hearted note.  Give your audience a big smile, and let them know that you want them to not only learn, but to enjoy themselves as well.  They’ll immediately relax and take notice.  But be careful, experts warn that it may not be wise to open with a joke.  If it bombs, the rest of your session will suffer.

2. 101funjokes (
If you need a good joke, this is the place to go.  Dozens of categories – from jokes about celebrities, the Internet, kids, and the medical profession, to funny bumper stickers, limericks, quotes, and witticisms – make it easy to find whatever you need to incorporate some fun into your slide deck and give your audience a good giggle.

3.  Humor Writers
Let’s face it, some people lack a “funny bone”.  If you are one of those unfortunate souls, you may want to hire a professional writer to help incorporate humor into your slide deck.  They’ll be able to take your existing content, and make it more chuckle-worthy.  Check out the Comedy Writers Guild (, or conduct a search on Google, Yahoo, or other popular search engine to find one in your area.

4.  Comedy Coaches
Comedy is about more than just “scripting” jokes and quips.  Delivery is also very important when you want to get the laughs.  Check out your local comedy clubs or theater groups.  Most of them will offer classes to help improve your comedic timing and execution.   Or, you can check your Yellow Pages for private comedy coaches who will work with you one-on-one.

5. Learn from Professional Comedians
Many professional comedians measure their success by evaluating one important metric – laughs per minute (LPM).  As you gain more experience adding humor to your sessions, you may want to use this indicator to gauge how effective you are.  How many LPMs should you strive for?  That depends on your content.  Some presentations may warrant several LPMs, while others that are more serious in nature may require just a handful of giggles throughout the entire slide deck to lighten the mood.

This is the continuation in a series of Incredible resources for presentations. If you have an idea for incredible resources or want to add one of your own just add a comment below this post. See the whole incredible presentations series here.

Find more great tips and resources at the Presentation Skills Launch Pad.

Incredible Presentations – Presentation Methods

By Nat Robinson on August 24, 2010

Many presenters, particularly novices, struggle to find a presentation style that works best for them.  Luckily, throughout the years, after much trial and error, many successful techniques and methodologies for presentation creation and delivery have emerged, giving speakers a variety of existing approaches to “borrow” from.

From top left: Lawrence Lessig, Masayoshi Takahashi, Seth Godin, Mino Monta

Here, we’ll describe and evaluate some of the most famous – and popular – presentation methods.

1. The Takahashi Method
This extremely unique method calls for the use of very, very large text.  The goal is to use no more than a handful (preferably, less than three) of easy-to-understand words, or a single image or photo with no accompanying words, on each slide, to deliver a very clear, very high-impact message in a very short period of time.  Many believe that this approach forces the audience to listen to the speaker, since the slides alone do not demonstrate all the content to be delivered.

2. The Lessig Method
Based on the style of Stanford Law professor Lawrence Lessig, this method is quite similar to Takahashi’s approach in its simplicity.  Presenters who use this technique incorporate only a brief quote, a short sentence, or a photo with a caption onto their slides, and spend only a few seconds on each.  But, while Takahashi-style presentations are often rather short – usually ten slides or less – Lessig presentations are often quite long, sometimes hundreds of slides that are passed through very quickly.  The idea behind this method is that the rapid-fire pace of delivery prevents the audience from growing bored or getting distracted.

3.  The Godin Method
Although not yet formally recognized by presentation pundits, this method, made popular by best-selling author and marketing guru Seth Godin, focuses mostly on the element of presentation slide design – particularly, how to select accompanying visuals to enhance messages appropriately.  Godin promotes the use of bold fonts, contrasting colors, striking images, and other clear, compelling visuals to better convey thoughts and ideas.

4. The Monta Method
Like the Takahashi approach, this technique originated in Japan.  Introduced by a knowledge worker in the tech field, it emulates the personality and charisma of a popular game show host.  Presenters are encouraged to use questions and answers on all their visuals.  When the question is posed to the audience, the answer is kept covered or hidden, only to be revealed once attendees have tried to “guess”.  The advantage of this approach is that it is highly effective at keeping the audience interested and engaged, and thus, their attention is less likely to wander.

This is the continuation in a series of Incredible resources for presentations. If you have an idea for incredible resources or want to add one of your own just add a comment below this post or see the whole incredible presentations series.

Find more great tips and resources at the Presentation Skills Launch Pad.

SlideRocket Tip – Presenting to Top Management

By Nat Robinson on July 22, 2010

This is a guest post by Vivek Singh. He is a marketing manager by profession. He is also the author of the popular blog Visit his blog for useful tips on presentations.

If your CEO remembers the top 3 things you said during the presentation, you've done a great job.

Making a presentation to top management is very different from making a presentation to the middle/junior management. Today we will try to understand what exactly this difference is and how to successfully present to top management.

Present the conclusion at the very start
In school you would have written a précis. A précis is a summary of the main points of the story. You need to do the same thing for your top management. First you make the presentation the way you normally do. Then add an empty slide at the very start (let’s call it the summary slide). Run through your presentation and put down the main points on this summary slide.
Top management is not here to listen to the complete story. You cannot afford to build the argument gradually and reveal the conclusion at the end. Instead put the conclusion at the start. Then go on and explain how you arrived at this conclusion. Your audience will ask for explanations and details wherever they need. You need not provide too much information. Remember, less is more with the top management.

Time is money
Be short and sweet. Do not be slow and do not repeat your points. Your CEO is always busy and cannot manage to sit through hour long presentations. Neither does he have the time nor the attention span. You need to share everything you have to say in crystal clear terms and then leave the questioning to the CEO. Whenever he seeks explanation, you can go in-depth.
The success of your presentation can be measured by a simple question. “If your CEO remembers the top 3 things you said during the presentation and why you said those things; you have done a great job.”

Use Back up Slides
When you present to the top management use what is called a ‘Back up Slide’. Suppose you are presenting on cost cutting. You have done a lot of study and your presentation talks about your 5 findings; the areas your organization is losing money and how to cut costs in these areas.
You have made detailed calculations to arrive at these findings. Your presentation has these findings and then you go on to recommend cost cutting measures. You are not going to present these detailed calculations (which led you to the findings) else the presentation will stretch for hours.  In such a case, keep these calculations ready on a slide (place it after the last slide). You might be asked to prove your findings, in which case you can open these back up slides. These slides support your findings. They are to be presented when your findings are being questioned and investigated in details.

Do not try to show you have worked hard
There is a strong urge in managers to show to the CEO that they have worked hard. Because they get to spend less time with the CEO they make their best efforts to impress him. This behavior leads them to fill their presentation with minute details. The number of bullet points is treated as directly proportional to work done. The more the bullets, the harder you have worked.
This needs to stop. What will impress the CEO is a simple presentation which shares the crux in a few slides and is backed up by solid reasoning. If your presentation gets your point across clearly, the rest will take care of itself.

Give a Handout
Your CEO will be busy with his/her Black Berry most of the time. He will check his mail and get urgent calls. Understand that there are more important things for him to do. It would be great if you carry a print out of the main points of the presentation. Make it no longer than one page. If you HAVE TO share some data/charts to back up your main points, then use Annexure. In the annexure, share the chart/graph; give a suitable heading and a one sentence summary of the chart.

To read more presentation tips visit Vivek’s blog All About Presentations or read other tips in this SlideRocket blog series.

SlideRocket Tip – 6 Secrets for Pitching Your Startup

By Nat Robinson on July 7, 2010

Investors hear, on average, five to eight presentations each day from entrepreneurs looking to obtain financial backing for their new business ventures.  But, only a fraction of these startup companies will get the funding they want.  How do you make sure yours is one of them?

Investors hear, on average, five to eight presentations each day.

Here are some valuable guidelines to follow when preparing your pitch to venture capitalists, angel investors, and other financiers.

1. What’s the Goal?
You won’t know if you were successful, unless you know exactly what you were trying to achieve in the first place.  Whether you’re looking to secure a funding commitment, or simply spark enough interest to schedule a follow-up meeting, clearly define your objective ahead of time.

2. Sum it All Up at the Start
You’ve got one minute to grab an investor’s attention.  So, a pitch that gets off to a slow start is bound to fall flat.  Kicking your presentation off with a dynamic one to two sentence summary that highlights your idea and its potential value will help you get them interested.

3. Back it Up with Details
In order to win the confidence of investors, you’ll need to show them that you have more than just a winning idea.  In addition to explaining your high-level vision, be sure to provide some details about how you plan to execute, such as a go-to-market strategy.

4.  The Proof is In the Numbers

Venture capitalists and other investors like numbers, particularly “mega trends”. So, back your ideas and theories up with as many industry benchmarks, statistics, and metrics as you possibly can.  The more reputable the sources, the better.

5.  Leave the Spreadsheets at Home

Your audience wants to see anticipated return on investment in the form of revenues, profits, or market share.  But, boring, dry spreadsheets or profit and loss statements are not the most effective way to do this.  Instead, wow investors with charts, graphs, and other exciting visuals that clearly convey expected value.

6. Speak with Passion
If you don’t show conviction in your idea, it will be very hard to get your audience excited about it.  Strong voice inflection and dramatic hand gestures are just a few of the ways you can demonstrate your passion for your concept, and your belief in its viability.

Want more valuable tips on effective presentation creation and delivery? Review our archive of presentation tips and check back every week for new posts.

Find more great tips and resources at the Presentation Skills Launch Pad.

SlideRocket Tip – How to Give an Amazing Product Demonstration

By Nat Robinson on June 30, 2010

Many speakers follow up their presentation with a demonstration of their product.  Whether it’s a software application, a piece of mechanical equipment, or a small appliance, the demo is the presenter’s chance to put their words into action, validating the claims they made during their slide deck.

The demo is your chance to put words into action.

Yet, most presenters are so focused on the quality of the presentation itself, they forget to fine-tune the demo.  As a result, they build up audience expectations, then fall flat when it really counts.

Here are some great tips for giving an amazing product demonstration.

1. Differentiate Yourself
Chances are, the prospective customer already has evaluated similar products, or will be speaking to other competitors in the near future, before making a final decision.  Since time will be limited, don’t waste it walking them through all the “me too” features.  Instead, highlight the characteristics of your product that make it unique and/or superior.

2. Customize It
Every product has countless interesting features and functions, but you’ll only have time to demonstrate a fraction of them.  So, it’s best to gather a little intelligence in advance.  Find out what the customer is trying to achieve through the use of your product, and focus on those capabilities that will help them get there.

3. Make It Interactive
Keep your audience engaged at all times, especially if the product you are showing is complex in nature.  Allow them to ask questions, or even select an audience member to participate “hands on”.  This will not only prevent their attention from wandering, it will give you the opportunity to capture valuable information about what they want to see, so you can structure the demonstration accordingly.

4.  Keep It Simple
Always remember that your audience doesn’t have the same level of technical or mechanical savvy that you do.  To avoid confusion, whenever possible, steer clear of technical or engineering jargon, and present the features of your product in layman’s terms.

5.  Be Flexible
Scripting and practicing your demo ahead of time is a wise idea.  However, you need to leave some room for “on the fly” change, based on audience response.  For example, a prospect may request to see a certain feature that you weren’t planning to show.  Or, they may ask a question that requires you to go back and re-explain functions that were already covered.   While preparedness is important, you also need to be able to “go with the flow”, so the audience is satisfied.

6.  You Need a Plan B
You’ve finished delivering your slides, and you’re getting ready to show your product.  But, you discover that it’s broken.  Now what?  Make sure you always have a backup plan in case of such emergencies.  For example, if its equipment you’re demonstrating, bring a second piece, just in case.  Or, keep a brief tutorial video on hand, so you can convey how certain features work.  If you’re showing software, be sure the room has a Web connection.  If your laptop fails, you can simply access the application via the Internet.

Want more valuable tips on effective presentation creation and delivery? Review our archive of presentation tips and check back every week for new posts.

SlideRocket Tip – Presentation Theatrics: Adding Drama to Your Presentation

By Nat Robinson on June 17, 2010

While in some presentation scenarios, the subtle approach in the better one to take, many cases call for a very over-the-top delivery, one in which everything – from the speaker’s hand gestures to the tone of his voice – has a theatrical flair to it.

Add some drama and give the audience a presentation they'll never forget.

By taking up the excitement and energy up a notch or two, and sprinkling in a little drama, you can give your audience a presentation experience they’ll never forget.

How can you make your delivery more theatrical and dramatic?  Here are some great ways to breathe life into your presentation:

1. Tell a Story
Nothing adds drama to a presentation more than an action-packed, one-of-a kind tale that demonstrates your key points.  Trying to teach attendees about motivation and perseverance?  Talk about the time your brother finished a triathlon – in first place – while battling the swine flu.  Giving advice on effective interview techniques?  Share the story of when you were put in front of an executive “firing squad”, and how you managed to keep your cool – and get the job.  Interesting, thrilling stories will captivate your audience, and create a sense of excitement around your subject matter.

2. Bigger, Bolder, Louder
At the heart of every dramatic presentation is the strong use of emphasis. Drama is all about exaggeration.  So, everything from your voice inflections to your hand motions and facial expressions, and even the images you use on your slides, should be far “grander” than normal, particularly at times when you want to draw attention to the most important elements within your content.

3.  Act It Out
Speeches can get dry and boring.  The presenter talks, the audience listens.  Yawn.  Whenever possible, jazz it up by acting out the ideas you’re trying to convey.  For example, if you’re training new customer support reps on how to handle angry clients, act out a mock conversation between a caller and an agent.  You can even engage your audience further by asking them to participate in these “acts”.

4. Its All About the Showmanship
When you are delivering a dramatic presentation, keep in mind that you are the host, the ringmaster, the emcee.  It’s up to you to set the tone, and to make your presentation as entertaining as possible.  Put on your showman’s hat, and bring all the charm and charisma you can muster.

5.  Put Yourself in the Audience’s Shoes
Review your presentation from the perspective of your attendees.  Go through it section by section, and analyze it carefully – for both content and delivery.  If it isn’t attention-grabbing, compelling, or high-impact, find a way to make it so – or remove it.

Want more valuable tips on effective presentation creation and delivery? Review our archive of presentation tips and check back every week for new posts.

SlideRocket Tip – Why You Need to Put Your Presentations Online

By Nat Robinson on June 10, 2010

You’ve done your research.  You’ve fine-tuned your content.  You’ve created a killer slide deck.  And, you’ve practiced over and over again.  What could possibly go wrong?

Are your presentations online?

The answer is – a lot!  If your slides are stored on your desktop or laptop, you may be leaving yourself open to major problems.  Many experts believe that hosting your presentation on the Web can reduce risks and help ensure a more seamless and trouble-free delivery.

Why do you need to put your presentation on the Web?

1. Computer Crashes
It’s the night before the big presentation, and you’ve decided to do one last dry run.  Halfway through slide number four, you get it – the dreaded “blue screen of death”.  And, to make matters worse, you didn’t make a back up copy of your deck.  You’ve now got a big problem on your hands, and will have to stay up until all hours of the night to re-create your presentation.  But, if you had posted a final copy on the Web, you could simply rent or borrow any Web-enabled PC to gain access your slides.

2. Corrupt Files
Perhaps your security software is out of date, creating major gaps in how completely your desktop or laptop is protected.  What happens if you get a virus (one that corrupts your presentation file)?  You’d be left with no visual aids for the audience – an issue that could seriously impact the effectiveness of your presentation.  But, if your slide set had been stored on the Web, it would be safe, virus-free, and easy to retrieve, regardless of what happens to your PC.

3. Version Control
Like most presenters, as you edit and modify your slide set, you likely end up saving multiple version of it on your PC.  Yet, in the midst of you pre-presentation jitters, you may accidentally open the wrong file on the big day.  Even worse, you probably won’t even realize your mistake until well into your session.  Which means, you’ll have to stop and switch decks mid-way – throwing both you and your audience off track.   But, if the final slide deck is posted to the Web before delivery, version control issues become non-existent.

4. Hyperlinks
Many presenters include hyperlinks within their slides, so they can easily get to Web pages they wish to refer to as they are speaking.  Now, imagine you have an outdated laptop without much processing power.  As the browser is opening, your PC locks up, making for one very awkward moment.  However, if you had been delivering a slide deck that was already on the Web, the browser would already be opened and the Web site would load quickly.

5.  Absentees
What happens if someone important can’t make it to your scheduled session, due to traffic, weather, or some other unexpected event?  In certain scenarios (for example, if you’re a sales rep giving a product pitch, and the missing person is the decision-maker), absences can make it nearly impossible to achieve your goal.  If your slides are on your laptop, there will be no way to share them without using a third-party tool – something that can take time to set up, and may delay the start of your session.  But, if you’ve already got your presentation hosted on the Web, it can be easily accessed from remote locations.  So, all important stakeholders can experience your slides, even if an emergency has prevented them from doing so in person.

Want more valuable tips on effective presentation creation and delivery? Review our archive of presentation tips and check back every week for new posts.

SlideRocket Tip – 4 Ways To Measure Presentation Success

By Nat Robinson on May 27, 2010

You delivered your slides perfectly. Your timing was impeccable. Your audience was fully engaged at all times. Even your old, outdated laptop – which often fails you at the most inopportune times – performed flawlessly. Everything seemed to go as smoothly as possible.

How are you measuring presentation success?

But, can your presentation really be considered a success? Here are some of the best ways to decide:

1. Track Views and/or Downloads
This can be an extremely valuable performance metric if your presentation was made available “on-demand” via the Web. How many times was it viewed, and by how many different people? Those numbers will help you determine whether or not your slide deck, and its key messages, are resonating with your target audience.

2. Count the “Drop Offs”
Every speaker can expect to lose an audience member or two during the course of their presentation, especially if it is being broadcast over the Web, where attendees are subject to countless distractions. But, an unusually high number of “drop offs” is a clear indicator that your presentation, or its central theme or topic, is lacking something, and may need more fine-tuning.

3. The Call to Action – The Ultimate Test
Did your audience do what you wanted or asked them to do after your session was over? For example, if you were conducting a training course for an upcoming exam, how many of your students passed the test? If you were pitching a new product, how many customers requested more information, scheduled a demo, or made a purchase? The actions attendees take immediately after a presentation – and whether or not those were the desired or intended outcomes – is one of the best ways to gauge how successful it truly was.

4. Measure the Business Impact
Although you likely had a specific “call to action” in mind when delivering your presentation, there are also other, secondary benefits that can be achieved – benefits that can have a profound impact on your business. Did you build stronger customer loyalty? Win new business? Generate awareness in your market? Help your audience learn and grow? These factors can also be used to help evaluate the success of your presentation.

If you’re having trouble measuring presentation success you’ll want to take a closer look at SlideRocket’s industry leading presentation analytics to find out who’s watching your presentation, how long they watch it, which parts of your message resonate with your audience and what actions they take afterwards.

Want more valuable tips on effective presentation creation and delivery? Review our archive of presentation tips and check back every week for new posts.

SlideRocket Presentation Tip – 6 Best Practices in Sales Presentation Delivery

By Nat Robinson on May 5, 2010

No group of professionals is more reliant on presentations than sales representatives.  Day in and day out, the primary job of the sales rep is to deliver pitch after pitch, “wowing” potential customers to win new business and generate new sources of revenue.

The sales pitch is a critical part of any sales cycle.

The sales pitch is a critical component of any sales cycle, giving reps one shot to sway their audience into signing on proverbial “dotted line”.  But, surprisingly, many reps don’t present as effectively as they could.  Here are a few best practices to keep in mind when delivering a sales pitch:

1. Keep It Short and Sweet
Most sales reps want to highlight each and every single feature and benefit of their product or service.  While this may seem like a good approach, most prospects simply don’t want to sit through a 90-minute sales pitch.  Keeping it brief, and focusing primarily on key differentiators and what it is that makes your offering unique, will have the greatest impact.

2. Customize It
When it comes to sales pitches, there is no such thing as “one size fits all”.  Every potential customer will need or want your product for a different reason.  Perhaps they have a challenge they are looking to overcome, or a certain goal they want to achieve.  It is best to gather a little intelligence ahead of time, and structure the presentation in a way that speaks directly to the audience’s specific problems or objectives.

3. Engage Your Prospects
A sales pitch should never be a “one-way” conversation.  During the process, you will need to interact with your audience, to learn more about what makes them tick, and what will compel them to buy.  One of the best ways to do this is to ask open-ended questions frequently throughout your presentation.  This will give them the opportunity to freely share important information that will help you close the deal.

4. Image Is Critical
Of course, you want to present your product or service in the best possible light. But, today’s buyers want not only superior products, but loyal and reliable vendors who will be there to support them throughout its life cycle.  Therefore, it is also important to project a positive image of both yourself, and your company – one that convinces your audience that you will be a trusted business partner.

5. The Proof Is In the Pudding
While hype and marketing-speak are a great way to grab your audience’s attention, you’ll need to back it up with hard facts.  Be sure to sprinkle in as much third-party validation as possible, such as endorsements from industry experts or testimonials from satisfied customers.

6. Save the Demo Until the End
Product demonstrations can be highly effective selling tools, but they work best after you’ve already provided an overview of the solution you’re pitching, and demonstrated the potential value it can provide.  This background will enable the prospect to view the demo in context, with a greater understanding of how they can apply and benefit from it in real-world scenarios.

Find more great tips and resources at the Presentation Skills Launch Pad.

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