20 Apr

No matter what business you are in, giving professional PowerPoint presentations is part of the job. Excellent presentations can help a firm communicate their pitch effectively and bring in clients. On the flip side, very bad presentations can kill a firm’s chances of ever getting hired, especially by big companies.

By following these easy tips from CMO Johnny Chan of the San Diego digital marketing consultancy firm eBoost Consulting, your pitch will impress and win the business of your next client.


There are three things that you need to do in order to produce an excellent pitch:

  1. Craft a compelling message
  2. Enhance with compelling visuals
  3. Deliver with impact

The message
Children are great story tellers. They are not only energetic and enthusiastic about what they are saying, but they focus everything around the listener.

As a presenter, you must tell the same listener-focused stories that will engage and spike the interest of your audience. You do this by crafting your message around your intended listener. Start with your point of view or the “thesis” of your presentation, move to the actions your client can take to achieve their goals and then explain the benefits of these actions.

Be compelling and grab your client’s attention with what you have to say. Sprinkling your presentation with anecdotes or opening with a story that will lead into your pitch is a great way to grasp attention.

The visuals
Compelling visuals can make your presentation interesting, engaging and memorable.

The most important visual aspect of your presentation are killer title and opening slides.

These will set the theme (style, tone, color) to make it a cohesive story. Using beautiful and relative visuals will stimulate the listeners interest throughout the entire presentation. Websites like Flickr and iStock are great places to find royalty free visuals, while Colour Lovers is a good site to help with strategically choosing your color scheme. Of course, taking your own photos is a great idea, too, because it will ensure that no one else will ever have the same slide.

Along with photos, data are also effective story-telling visuals. Data provides concrete and tangible detail to your presentation, and allows for minimal word usage. Remember that your entire presentation should be no more than 25 words.

When choosing visuals for your slides, think of the visuals from a photographers point of view by keeping C.R.A.P. in mind:

Contrast: Make sure that your visuals hold contrast, whether it be in size,  shape or color. For example, one slide can be an open picture with lots of space, and the next one can contrast that by being a close-up shot.
Repetition: Recurring fonts and colors and the revisiting of certain themes will give the story a consistency of look and feel.
Alignment: Every slide should follow the exact same alignment. This adds a cohesive visual effect to your PowerPoint.
Proximity: Slides should be grouped in categories and placed in the right areas of the presentation that will allow you to speed up the presentation when you want to and slow down when you want the listener to really focus on something.

The delivery
Delivering a message with impact relies completely on the presenter, and what that presenter does.

Human beings rely on three areas for communication clues:

  1. Visual (55%): Non-verbal body language speaks much louder than words. The way you hold yourself is very important. People who stand tall, chest slightly raised comes off more confidently and credible than someone who slouches. Maintaining eye contact with a few people in the corners of the room gives the impression that you are actively engaging with your audience, which can be a powerful tool.
  2. Vocal (38%): It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. Word inflection and the strategic control of speed makes what you have to say a whole lot more interesting.
  3. Verbal (7%): Again, what you say is significantly less significant than how you say it.

Of course, it is not enough to just pay attention to your vocal inflection and body language, you must also present with excellence. The entire delivery of your presentation should include these five things:

  1. Story
  2. Humor
  3. Analogies
  4. References
  5. Pictures

Extra tips

+ Use Guy Kawaski’s 10:20:30 style: 10 slides, 20 minutes, 30 size fonts.

+Always supply the client with a document of the proposal along with the presentation. The effects of your stunning presentation will eventually fade and that is when the document comes into play.

+If you get presentation nerves, practice your presentation at least 20 times so that you are completely comfortable and familiar with it. Theatre classes can help with this, too, as well as developing your delivery effectiveness.

Anyone can do it
Chan believes that you don’t have to be a natural-born presenter in order to give engaging, compelling and interesting presentations. If you remember the principles of this blog post, you can nail your next presentation, too.

Find out more about eBoost Consulting at www.eboostconsulting.com.

Follow @eboostconsults for digital marketing news.

What kind of tips do you have for presenting effective PowerPoint presentations?

2 Responses to “Pitch:ology”

  1. Johnny Chan May 2, 2011 at 1:06 am #

    Wow Sam, you weren’t kidding when you said you took good notes. 🙂 Thanks for the write-up and for the link-love. I figure you to be a great presenter, you have a very approachable conversational style as evidenced by the tone in which you write your blog.

    Keep writing and producing great content on your blog. You have 17 more readers here at eBoost. 😉


    • SamAfetian May 12, 2011 at 7:51 pm #

      Thanks, Johnny!

      I’ll always be a fan of EBoost Consulting.

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