There’s a revolution in the design of PowerPoint slides, but not the delivery.

Most speakers still rely on their slides to cue them. They click, they talk, click, talk, click, talk…

Here are five methods that will make the delivery of your PowerPoint presentation stand out.

1. The Reinforce method

Most presenters click on the next slide, and then speak about what’s on the slide. You can stand out by reversing this order. Make your point and then click on the slide to underline or reinforce what you’ve just said.

Here’s an example of how I use this technique:

“Here’s the main thing that I want you to get. You can reduce your nerves by managing your thoughts.” [click]


I stay silent while the audience takes the slide in. I start talking again when I can see that the majority of the audience has transferred their attention back to me.

This works best with a PowerPoint slide with a plain background with your message written on it in a clear font in a large point size. No clutter.

2. Let the slide speak

You don’t always have to say what’s on the slide. Let the slide speak for itself.

“Here’s the main thing I want you to get:” [click – silence]


This is also effective for single numbers and statistics. For example:

“Here’s the amount of the increase:” [click – silence]


This method asks the audience to do a little more work – that engages them. The first couple of times you use this technique with an audience, gesture to the slide so that they know that’s where they should be looking.

3. Let the slide move

Sometimes the animation on the slide can do all the talking. Here’s an example of how I use it on our presentation skills courses when I talk about previewing what you’re going to say in your presentation:

“Here’s your audience:” [click]

“When you outline the three parts of your presentation it’s like doing this:” [click for animation which makes the boxes appear – silence]

“It’s like opening three boxes in the minds of your audience – ready to receive what you have to say.”

4. The Mystery method

This method uses the power of intriguing your audience. Here’s how I use it:

“Now I’m going to talk about this:” [click – silence]


“Signposting. Signposting is letting your audience know where you are in your presentation, where you’re going and where you’ve been.”

5. The Set-up method

In this method you start by stating a controversial statement on the slide. For example:

“By the look of most people’s PowerPoint slides this is what they seem to think:” [click]


“This is what I think:” [click to make the next line of text appear – silence]


In New Zealand, we have a well-known beer brand that uses the “Yeah Right” phrase on its billboards. We’ve adapted the billboard:


6. The touch-screen trick

On US election night, the political commentators on CNN had high-tech touch screens. You don’t need one – it’s easy to replicate if you know your slide well and have a remote. On this slide, the yellow boxes are animated in one at a time. I co-ordinate touching the screen at the exact spot the box will appear and clicking with the remote – and it looks as if I’m controlling the animation by touching the screen.


Update: Bert Decker just tweeted a link to a YouTube video showing an even more impressive fake of a touch-screen – using a Wii remote:

Final thoughts

To implement these methods you’ll need to know your slides intimately. I have a printout of my slides in front of me so that I always know what’s coming next:


This is a printout of the Slide Sorter view of your slides. This printout is useful because you can get lots of slides on one page and it has the slide numbers so that you can jump slides (use the keyboard to enter the number of the slide you want to jump to and press Enter). PowerPoint doesn’t have an easy way of printing the SlideSorter view, click here for a screencast on how to do it .

Most presenters simply click and talk. So using these methods will make the delivery of your PowerPoint presentation stand out. What  methods do you have which are a little out of the ordinary?

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