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: Heriott Watt University

We are delighted to announce we are now working with Heriott-Watt University to deliver the Welcome to Leadership programmes for their managers. The university has a large international presence with an ambitious strategy and we are looking forward to working with their Professional and Organisational Development team. Heriott-Watt is the latest University to join our growing list of valued customers within Higher Education and we are grateful for this amazing opportunity.

New ILM Coaching & Mentoring Programme – May 2022

Due to the ongoing success of our ILM Coaching & Mentoring Programmes, we have now scheduled in a second cohort for 2022.

The programme is already receiving plaudits and as a result we are growing our community of ILM Coaches and Mentors progressing towards an internationally recognised qualification.

Watch out also for our special preview events ‘Take Your Coaching To The Next Level’ running throughout March, April and May.

Information on the programme can be found here.

ILM Coaching & Mentoring May 2022

Contact us on:   or call 0844 873 1226


ILM Coaching & Mentoring September 2021

We are looking forward to starting our new cohort joining The Coaching Programme, leading to qualifications in Coaching & Mentoring from ILM at Level 5 and Level 7.

The programme begins on Friday 17th September 2021 with our ‘Coaching Foundations’ session.  All learning is done remotely, making our programme accessible wherever you are.



John's Blog

Why be a coach or mentor?

I am a little biased but I love both coaching and mentoring. I used to enjoy being the ‘trainer’ which satisfied the performer in me but as I get older there is something that I find deeply satisfying in being a coach or mentor.

More than that, I find it a privilege to work with people.  People that trust you enough to share their greatest challenges, dearest hopes, deepest fears and core beliefs about life. I can think of few professions in business that afford you such intimacy. I feel lucky and grateful each and every session I get to spend with my clients. (more…)

Speaking Truth to Power

For those afraid of speaking …

(But) TED is a tough, pressured, hugely stressful gig, even for experienced public speakers, and I’m not that. Standing in the wings waiting to go on, I told the stage manager that my heart was racing uncontrollably and in an act of great kindness, she grasped both my hands and made me take breath after breath. And what you don’t see in the video – deftly edited out – is the awful, heart-stopping moment when I forgot a line, followed by another act of collective kindness, a spontaneous empathic cheer as I composed myself and found my cue. “That’s when the audience came onside,” an attendee told me. “You were human. That’s when you won them over.”  Guardian April 2019


This from Carole Cadwalladr, a journalist at the Guardian who has in this last year investigated the role of tech corporations and their platforms in influencing the workings of our democracy.  What makes her TED talk so compelling is because here she is facing those very same technology giants on their turf.  And speaking truth to power.


Coaching: Deep Impact

This week I had the chance to attend a seminar at the Leeds Coaching Network featuring renowned coach, writer and speaker Julie Starr.  You may be familiar with some of Julie’s work including; ‘The Coaching Manual’, ‘The Mentoring Manual’ and ‘Brilliant Coaching’ and the session was everything you expected it to be. (more…)