Top 5 Tips for Making an Awesome Presentation

See also: Building Self Confidence

When’s the last time you got excited about attending a presentation? Probably never.

In fact, the only person who hates presentations more than the attendees…is the presenter!

It’s true! Public speaking is the #1 phobia.

Do we really have to be so miserable during presentations?

Not at all. Presenting is an art. If stand-up comedians and actors can make it entertaining, you can too.

You just need to learn a few tricks to improve your presenting skills. When you give a great presentation that your audience loves, presenting can actually be fun!

Here’s how to do it.

1. Know your Audience

Imagine putting together a really comprehensive presentation on crime rates with lots of raw data and spreadsheets.

Who is more likely to enjoy your presentation? Teenagers or statisticians?

Probably the statisticians.

Here’s the point: The exact same presentation can thrill one audience and bore another to death.

So, you must consider your audience before you make your first slide or notecard.

Use these questions to frame your presentation around your audience:

  1. What is their experience with the topic?
  2. What’s their education level?
  3. How is the topic relevant to their daily lives?
  4. How can learning about the topic benefit them?


Giving an awesome presentation isn’t about convincing your audience to understand your points. It’s about you understanding your audience and “speaking their language.”

2. Smile

This one seems easy, but it’s incredibly difficult to smile when you’re super nervous about your presentation.

If the presenter is noticeably unhappy or stressed, the audience will be too. If the presenter is relaxed and confident, the audience will be more receptive and at ease.

You don’t have to actually be cool and confident to inspire your audience. You just have to make them think you are. The best way to do that is to smile.

Studies have actually shown that smiles (and frowns) are contagious. That means, as the presenter, you are in control of the entire room’s vibe.

Smile at the back of the room. Smile at faces in the audience. Smile at your boss. And make eye contact when you do it. It might seem awkward at first, but when you see the effect it has, you’ll feel like smiling a lot more!

3. Don’t Read Your Slides

Unless you are presenting to a multinational audience, DO NOT JUST READ WHAT YOU WROTE ON YOUR POWERPOINT SLIDES.

This will drive your audience insane with boredom and rage.

They can read. They don’t need you to read for them.

Instead, use your slides to supplement what you have to say. Here are some ideas of what to include in your slides:

  1. Include images to bring your ideas to life
  2. Show graphs and charts for evidence
  3. Cite quotes to show that you’re really smart
  4. Make jokes to lighten the mood
  5. Play videos, because everyone likes watching movies
  6. Download free music and play it to set the mood (a good one, hopefully)

Your slides are not the focus of your presentation—you are! They should enhance what you have to say and not simply repeat it. You may be a master of PowerPoint, but your slides will never be as engaging as you can be.


Because you’re human. And audiences will naturally connect with your emotions and body language before they ever develop feelings for a slide.

4. Use Humor and Storytelling

A good presentation also has an entertainment element. And entertainment almost always involves a joke or a story. Watch literally any Ted Talk to see this in action. The Ted presenters are experts at weaving stories and humor into their presentations.

Usually, they start with a story or joke to capture the audience’s interest. Then, they go into the meat of their message. They return to the story throughout the presentation to keep the audience interested in the narrative, and then they finish with a satisfying conclusion about a lesson learned.

Not every presentation you give needs to be Ted-worthy. But try to tie in a story or sprinkle some humor throughout to make your presentation pop.

How do you know if your story is captivating or snore-worthy?

A good presentation story only needs two elements:

  1. It should have stakes that everyone can identify with. You can use fear, suspense, or humor to accomplish this.

  2. It needs to tie into the theme of your presentation sooner rather than later. Otherwise, you’ll confuse your audience.

For example, if you were doing a presentation on how to prepare for a public speaking event, you could tell a story about how you once did a speech with your zipper down the entire time.

It’s relatable, it’s funny, and it ties directly into your theme.

Can’t think of a story from your life? Just make one up! We won’t tell Oprah. 

5. Keep it Simple

You probably have bushels of valuable life lessons to dish out. But if you give them all at once, your audience won’t absorb any of them very effectively. When you do a presentation, focus on one simple idea and hammer it home.

It’s not realistic to expect your audience to make multiple changes to their behavior. But one change? That’s doable.

Build on one idea and provide evidence and examples to sway your audience. But don’t go too in-depth. Keep your presentation short and simple—It’s just one idea, after all.

Get in and make your argument or your pitch and then leave the audience wanting more. If you start to see yawns and shifting in seats, it’s a bad sign.

Your Next Presentation Will Be AWESOME

Do you know how impressive it is to be a good presenter? So few people can hold an audience. Giving an awesome presentation can fast-track your career ambitions, unlock your sales potential, and get you way more follows and likes on social media. 

And here’s the biggest secret: It’s not that hard!

The biggest challenge is stepping in front of the crowd. As long as you’ve prepared using the tips above, you can expect smooth sailing from there on out.

About the Author

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