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6 Must-Have Elements for a Winning Presentation

April 18th, 2013 ::

Travis KalanickThe best presentation I ever encountered was at a startup conference in DC almost 2 years ago. The presentation was given by Travis Kalanick, co-founder and CEO of Uber, who was entertaining and had everyone laughing while he shared the story of how he persevered and started Uber despite a hostile regulatory environment.

Travis’s presentation stuck with me to this day. I am sure a lot of other people remember it too, because he got a big reaction. After the conference, he was mobbed with people who wanted to chat with him.

Because being boring – and being bored to death – is something I avoid like the plague, I decided to make a list of all the reasons Travis’s presentation was so darn good. Here’s how to be like Travis:

1 – Love your subject

The more passionate you are about your subject, the more energy you will bring to your presentation. Your knowledge of – and love for – your subject will just pour out of you and wash over the audience. You will engage your audience and really pull them in. In turn, your audience will believe in you.

2 – Understand your audience

The presentation Travis made to a bunch of startup founders was peppered with jargon the community understands and full of curse words. I doubt he’d give the same presentation to potential investors. Instead, he’d focus on numbers – revenue, profit, and loss projections – and use financial terms.

3 – Have a conversation

All of the best presentations I have ever sat through, watched, or listened to included this very important element. I like to be talked to and feel like the speaker is conversing with me. I don’t like to be talked at, which, for me, feels like a lecture. Which do you prefer?

4 – Know your stuff

The more you practice your presentation, the more comfortable you will be with the material and the better your delivery. Travis didn’t have notes. He walked around the stage, telling his story. He knew the points he wanted to make and how to make them.

5 – Be visual

The most remarkable thing about Travis’s presentation was his PowerPoint deck, which contained zero words. It was all images – images that related to the points he was making. This is a brilliant idea, as you want people to pay attention to what you’re saying, not what is written on a slide.

6 – Practice timing

Watching Travis was like watching a seasoned standup comedian who knows exactly how and when to say something to elicit the biggest reaction. Practice your timing – where you should pause, how to deliver a punch line, and the most powerful way to make a point.

Do you have any other tips for an awesome, engaging, and fun presentation?

Image courtesy of washingtonian.com

The views expressed here are the author's alone and not those of Network Solutions or its partners.

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Posted in Branding, Marketing | 4 Comments »

  • Diane DiResta

    I enjoyed your article and agree with your 6 steps. I’d also add that for speakers to go from good to great they must be master storytellers, use humor, and involve the audience instead of being a talking head. The best speakers give the audience an experience.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks Diane! Yes to all of your tips – especially storytelling. A good story is the best way to create a truly memorable experience.

  • Alan Hoffman

    All very good tips. For those interested in learning how to make your PowerPoints more effective, I have posted a five-part presentation on slideshare.net under the general title “Ban the Bullet: An Irreverent Guide to Producing Presentations that Get Results.” You can view part one at http://www.slideshare.net/mobile/TheMissionGroup/ban-thebulletpt1-avoidbullets. For the other four parts, just search for “Ban the Bullet” (in quotation marks) on slideshare.net. As always, feel free to share these presentations on your networks.

    • Anonymous

      Very cool Alan – thanks for sharing. I will check them out!