It’s not about PowerPoint … so give them a Show

A quick guide to effective Business Presentations. 

(2 minute reading time)

I thought I would follow up my ‘9 Mantras for Presenting’ blog with a short list of things we can STOP/START doing,things I’ve seen people do (or not do) when presenting, especially concerning visual aids and technology.


STOP Relegating yourself to the position of “Clicker”, someone who is simply there to click the controller to move the slides on.  I’ve said it before, “It’s not about PowerPoint” and there is a reason people have asked you to present to them.  START to present to the audience instead of the screen.  Be the “Presenter” not the “Clicker”.

STOP Filling up your slides with bullets.  We’ve been talking about “Death by PowerPoint” for years now but I still see it.  START using slides as a visual catalyst to the themes you are addressing.  Find interesting graphics or images, quotes, BIG stats or small chunks of info that your audience can enjoy.

STOP Reading out the slides.  It’s pointless as your business audience in all likelihood can read.  START demonstrating your knowledge by elaborating, summarising and linking ideas you are showing.

STOP saying things like “you probably can’t see that”.   If the audience can’t see it, take it out.  There’s no point in putting up a table of data that people will struggle to read, so if it’s important, consider giving them a printout instead.  START rehearsing your slides from the back of the room and ask yourself “Can I read this?” and “Does it add value?”.

STOP  apologising and drawing attention to yourself.  Saying “I’m a little bit nervous” or “I’m not used to doing this” does little to inspire confidence.  I call them “discounts” as you discount your credibility right at the start.  It implies, “don’t expect too much from this, it’s probably not going to be that good” and when I’ve heard this it generally hasn’t been good.  START to develop a healthy mindset to Presenting (see previous blog).

Other suggestions:

Begin your presentation with the very best image/graphic/stat that will pull your audience in.  I once saw some fantastic 3D renderings of huge buildings someone designed demonstrating how good they were at what they did.  I will give you 3 guesses as to where those slides were in a slide deck of 30 slides before I made some suggestions?

Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.  It feels daft rehearsing on your own but believe me it’s worth every minute.  When stakes have been high I have rehearsed and rehearsed to the point I needed no notes. The beauty of this is you can focus on the audience and not on what’s happening on the screen.

Make sure you are in early enough to get set up and run through the slides, whenever you can.  My heart is in my mouth when I see a presenter on a stage with a laptop in one hand and an RGB cable in the other.  Get in early, get it all working, get in the zone.

Invite Questions from the audience. Sounds obvious but very few people do it like they mean it, I’ve even heard things like, “no-one got any questions then, no?”.  Do it with confidence and authority and really mean it.  This is your chance to check they have understood and overcome any objections, so use it.


There’s probably so much more I could say on this but for now I would be interested to hear your views and experiences, what makes or breaks our presentations?


  • What things have you seen that didn’t work?
  • What suggestions do you have for using visuals and other aids?
  • How might we engage with audiences better do you think?


Contact  or call 0844 873 1226 if you want to find out more about what we do in this field.


Posted by John Drysdale
15th April 2016
John's Blog


New Projects for Summer/Autumn 2018

It has been a really rewarding couple of weeks here at No Guru with new work and wonderful new clients added to our portfolio.

This week we met with the Senior Team at Irwell Valley Homes who have commissioned a project in support of their new brand. (more…)

No Guru now working with University of Huddersfield

Quarter 1 has started off with brilliant news, a newly commissioned programme of delivery for the University of Huddersfield to deliver ‘Strategic Thinking in Higher Education’ as part of an ambitious programme of development for Senior Managers. This leads to a recognised qualification from the Chartered Management Institute.  Head of Staff Development, Daniel Benton explains (more…)

Coaching for Results: Event with Professional Liverpool

We are delighted to be partnering with Professional Liverpool to deliver a FREE seminar on Monday 5th March (3pm to 5pm).

This explores the role of Coaching (and Mentoring) in helping staff deliver business results.  The session will be run by John Drysdale and will be a chance to find out how you can coach more effectively and perhaps consider a role in Coaching and Mentoring through our ILM Programmes.

To reserve your place click here. (more…)


John's Blog

The Immortal Memory: Robert Burns

Address to The Liverpool Athenaeum  2nd February 2018

I was delighted to be asked by club President Sir David Maddison to deliver The Immortal Memory at The Athenaeum Burns evening which I attended with my wife Fiona. This is a huge honour for any Scot and I hope I did it justice.  Burns provides such a rich tapestry I found it a real challenge to be succint and speak in a way that would connect with the audience – I chose to set Burns against the universal themes we recognise today and in the challenges we face in uncertain times.  I hope you enjoy it.   JD


The Immortal Memory – Robert Burns 1759-1796

The Athenaeum 2nd Feb 2018

President, ladies and gentlemen, fellow proprietors and distinguished guests.  I am honoured to propose the Immortal Memory this evening.

To one Robert Burns who lived between 1759 and 1796.


Image Triage – be careful what you post

How to avoid public ‘shaming’

If you’ve ever read Jon Ronson’s book ‘Shamed’, you will know the devastating effect social media can have on people who have posted something stupid on the internet.

Ronson highlights the case of Justine Sacco (a director of corporate communications) who, before boarding an 11-hour flight from Heathrow to Cape Town, Tweeted to her 170 followers what she thought was a series of lighthearted, acerbic comments about her journey. (more…)

Across the great divide

Reworking of an earlier blog of mine, marking the 50th Anniversaries of the deaths of Martin Luther King (4/4/68) and Robert F Kennedy (6/6/68)

Let’s be kinder to each other 

There is a striking memorial in a park in Indianapolis.  It marks the spot where, in April 1968, Robert Kennedy told a waiting crowd that Martin Luther King had been shot and killed, before speaking from the heart and his own personal experience, that violence is never an answer to our grievances.  His calming words quelled the rioting that other cities endured in the days after Dr King’s death and, arguably, saved some lives that night.


The memorial itself is an arresting work of art.  (more…)