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Presentation Ideas

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We know, we know, you’ve had enough of Death by PowerPoint by now. And so has the rest of the population. There are plenty of ways to make your presentations effective – for example, by using visualisation – but for some people, effective isn’t enough. Some presenters just want to make a scene; invoke a laugh; or to be truly memorable. At any rate, they want to do something different. Here we have a roundup of some presenters who have truly stepped out of the box, and delivered their presentations in a different, memorable way.

Identity 2.0

In a fast-moving, humorous presentation, Dick Hardt delivers his PowerPoint with one thought per slide. This involves progressing through his presentation at a rough average of a slide a second – which, although it may sound mildly irritating, works surprisingly well.

In fact, the speed with which his slides appear helps to support his point. The different pieces of information that create a person’s identity are limitless, and Identity 1.0 makes the number of usernames, passwords and different online communities an individual belongs to overwhelming. The cumulative pile of the various pieces of information that Dick reveals about himself, and the rapidity with which they are delivered, help to portray the frantic chaos that is the internet today.

The presentation is unexpected, funny and memorable – for all the right reasons.

Humour with a Twist

This is another speedy presentation from Ignite, but with a difference. Fast-paced and media-packed, this is the Action Comedy of the presentation world. Tom Scott takes the audience on a five-minute whirlwind of internet anecdotes, which build up dramatically – presented in a humorous, manic tone.

The slides are great too, demonstrating each development in plot by the position it occurred on a world map, using a range of familiar internet formats that the audience can relate to.

By far the most memorable aspect of the presentation however is the twist. The cumulative atmosphere reaches its peak, and suddenly the audience realises the implications. An engaging and exciting presentation – which the audience will not forget in a hurry. If you’re a big fan of the ‘storytelling’ aspect of presentations, this would be the example to use.

Hans Rosling and Lego

OK, so this may not be a presentation in the traditional sense. Hans is not standing in front of an audience, nor is he connecting with a live audience remotely. Still, the video aims to impart information to share with people around the world, and we love Hans so much that we thought we’d include it.

In the four-minute interview, Hans presents his figures on global growth and economy in the simplest way possible – by using Lego bricks. Rosling has always been great with data; read our Gapminder review to see how he uses the software to deliver engaging presentations on enormous volumes of statistics. Here though, he breaks the data down to the simplest level, and makes his main points in a way that anyone can understand.

The beauty of this visualisation lies in its simplicity. Using a toy to demonstrate his point is certainly different, but the real benefit is just how easy the Lego blocks make the data to grasp – and remember.

Chicken Chicken Chicken

If you haven’t watched the beauty that is Chicken Chicken Chicken, I won’t spoil it by describing it to you. Anyone who has sat through a boring presentation with the same old slides, and the same old humdrum narration will be able to relate. Does this method take some guts, and some thinking out of the box? Yes it does. Would it get you kicked out of the boardroom if you attempt it at your next sales meeting? Probably. But – and this is the key – the presentation gets across the message. Hilarious, different, memorable – and I would put money on the fact that audience members who attended would think twice the next time they went to prepare a presentation.


Sony decided that its E3 2008 press conference should be a bit more entertaining for the audience. Presenting financial information is never easy, particularly if you are delivering it to those whom it may not primarily concern. So, how should a huge organisation discussing gaming engage audiences with data? Why, by using a game of course.

LittleBigPlanet is, in summary, a platform game in which the user can surpass normal play boundaries to create entire levels, personalising them as wished. Not only did Sony demonstrate this in its presentation, but it used the interactivity within the game – push buttons and levers that elicit various changes to the environment – to create bar charts, present data, and show lorries packaging Sony products off to Latin America. All while this little guy (Sackboy, I believe he’s called) jumps around the screen in a manner reminiscent of the original platform games from the 80s. Fascinating, intriguing, and a great game advertisement – whilst presenting the data in an engaging, memorable way.

However, we know firsthand  that making last minute edits to a game level can be a bit tricky – so make sure that you finalise content first!

Cisco Telepresence “Magic”

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. Why describe it when you can demonstrate it? The whole point of Cisco’s Telepresence technology is that it is to be used when one of the presenters cannot easily reach his audience. While it is used more often on large screens in a purpose-built room for business meetings, its use at the opening of Cisco’s Globalization Centre in India is the best way to demonstrate it answering a need.

Aside from the futuristic magic of the technology itself – which reproduces the presenter in a scarily accurate hologram – the real highlight of the presentation comes from the surprise of the projected presenter simply walking onscreen. By demonstrating the product without warning the audience, the presenters create a much more dramatic, memorable effect.

Human Bar Chart

Adam St John Lawrence has a novel way of presenting data to his audience – by making them become it! Rather than depicting data on slides, he calls out members of the audience to become different bars in his human graph. Different and engaging, this practice also gets a laugh from the audience – and members involved can remember the figures a year later. It may not be suitable for all settings, but if you think your audience would appreciate it, including them in your data in this way will surely help the memory last.

Visuals as you go

Is it possible to deliver a presentation on PowerPoint – without using PowerPoint? Well that’s exactly what Nicholas Oulton did last week. He stood up in front of an audience at the UKAPMP conference and sketched out his visuals live with a pen and flipchart – despite having the PowerPoint slides on his laptop in the same room.

In fact, at the end of the presentation, Nick then displayed the slides he had just sketched from within PowerPoint, demonstrating how, while slides are a lot more impressive than crude sketches, the same slides are worth nothing without the thought behind them.

The trick was surprising, as the audience certainly did not expect to attend a presentation on PowerPoint that was delivered without PowerPoint. And nothing could persuade the audience of the importance of the early stages of preparation more convincingly than seeing this literally drawn out in front of them.


Some of the best presentations are those that break the norm. Audiences will almost expect your presentation to be boring (particularly if you are using PowerPoint) but you can use this in your favour. Do the unexpected and surprise them within the first few minutes, and suddenly you have dramatically improved their interest levels, and raised their opinions of you.

Try something new, and help your audiences become engaged. If it will help them remember your message – it’s got to be worth it.

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