Success through Creative Presentations

In the process of doing business, we are called upon to do presentations about our products or services.  Those presentations may be to large groups or small; they may be to gain support,  raise funds, educate or they may be direct sales calls.  The universal goal is that they need to intrigue, inspire and motivate the audience. So, what does it take to make an effective presentation?  Here are a few ideas that might help. 


Some people are good at being able to talk “off the cuff.”  It’s a great talent, but it can also cause problems at times.  If a presentation is important to give, then it’s important to prepare.  Sometimes what’s important to you may not mean anything to your attendees and trying to focus too much on how good you are at what you do doesn’t address their needs.  Identify very clearly for yourself what your most important messages are.  Then identify what is most important to the people who will be attending your presentation.  And now blend the two, thinking about how you can express your messages as a benefit to them. Once you’ve done this, prepare an outline for the way your story should be told, including an introduction, your important points and a conclusion.


The best presenters are story tellers.  We all know someone who can tell captivating stories.  It’s a talent, but it’s a learned talent.  Think about what you have in your own life that can grab the attention of your listeners immediately and really get them involved with who you are and what you’re doing.  Every strong presentation should start with a good story.  If it’s a true story, that’s great.  If it just needs to be a story that is compelling, that’s ok too.  Look at your story like your headline.  It’s a way to grab attention so that the attendees will want to continue listening to what you have to say.  Sprinkling stories throughout your presentation that are relevant to what you’re trying to achieve will keep your listeners engaged. 

Visual Effects

There’s an old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words.  Keeping that in mind, think about the last time you sat in a presentation where someone had a long script and perhaps visuals that were copious amounts of written words.  Not only is it a hard presentation to remember, but it probably became tedious enough that you were busy on your phone while the presenter was working his/her hardest to get your attention and present their materials.  Visuals in a presentation should represent what you are trying to say.  They can be graphs, charts, photos or infographics.  They will grab the attention by saying more than words on a page.  They provide color and clarity in a busy, over-crowded world.  And they may be the only part of your presentation that your audience remembers, so make sure they say what you want them to say. 


It’s not bad to leave them wanting more.  Leave time for Q&A, so that you can address the subjects that are really concerning to your attendees.  And remember that if your presentation drags on too long, you start losing the attention.  If you have been given 20 minutes, don’t make it any longer.  If you’ve been given an hour, make sure you have enough material so that by the end of the hour, the audience wishes you were staying longer. 

What’s the follow up?

When you finish a presentation, you probably don’t want your audience to say it was nice, walk away and never think of you again.  Don’t be afraid to tell them what you want them to do, and where they should go from the point you left them. Give them a way to engage more fully with you, your company, or your products and services.  In a society with too many choices to make and too many things to do, people like to be led to the next step.  Be a leader and they will follow.

Effective presentations can be the difference between success of your company and mediocrity.  At Oster and Associates, we have been helping our clients with effective presentations for over 30 years.  If you’re ready to grow and prosper, then maybe you need some help on how to present that future vision you have for your company and your customers.   

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