This is the third article in the series of six written for students looking for ways to improve their pitching skills.

I already started writing this topic in the previous article, when I covered the realms of storytelling. So today I will be following up on that, writing about other creative ways for making your pitch more interesting to the crowd.

Creativity put in context

The means could be a story you tell, but it can also be a joke, a video or a piece of sound that you share with your audience. These creative approaches could take form as examples or some physical props, that you would bring with you for your presentation. Or something completely different that is only limited by your own imagination.

For instance, if your pitch is about how you have solved the problems with the Greenhouse effect, you could find a local farmer, who is willing to lend you a cow, bring good ol’ Bessie with you to class and let it through the door at a specific moment during your pitch, to emphasize that we eat too much meat, and that cow farts isn’t a good thing for the atmosphere. Okay, granted, these kind of props sounds a bit over the top, and less will also do just fine. But I imagine that you get the gist of it.

The message about surprising your audience and using certain props to exemplify your point is a good one. Instead of the monotone monologue-like speech, you give them new contexts, to remember the stuff you say by. If you know your audience well, you can easily pick out certain means, that will fit them perfectly. Don’t be afraid to try things that may seem a little out there – it’s about making it interesting and memorable!

The points of using PowerPoint

In fact, many already know about using certain means during a pitch. You have most definitely seen your co-students or your teacher use PowerPoint during one of their presentations.

But, there is an important thing to remember about PowerPoint, that most aren’t aware of; A PowerPoint isn’t a tool for remembering your pitch, when you stand in front of the audience, and it is certainly not a “PowerPoint armor”, that you can wear or hide behind, in order to shift the attention from you to your slides. A PowerPoint isn’t the place for the audience to read, everything you have to say.

No, a PowerPoint is a tool for visualizing your message, and it works under the same premises as any other prop. You use it for creating a context for the audience, so that they find, what you say both interesting and worth remembering when they get back home.

Here are some great things to remember when using a PowerPoint during your pitch:

  • Remember to use a large sized font, so everyone can see the text on the slide.

  • A large font doesn’t make room for a whole lot on each slide. And that’s a good thing. Don’t write too much on the slide. Try using single words and bullet points.

  • If you’re adding long sentences, it’s should be because you’re showing a quote. Remember to read the quote out loud, so that everybody hears it. But be smart about only selecting the important bits of your quotes as the clock’s ticking and you have much else to talk about too.

  • Use pictures rather than words. Pictures are a great support, for what you are saying.

  • When you don’t have a point using the PowerPoint, then put in a black slide or a neutral picture. In that way the focus of the audience is moved from the slideshow to you, and what you have to say.

If you’re interested in more practical tips for your PowerPoint slides, I would recommend reading, what Guy Kawasaki has to say about the subject here and see an infographic of his tips here.

Mads Damsø

Mads Damsø

My big interest is to better the communication between people. I hope my background, combining studies of Comparative Literature and Journalistic Communication, where analyzing the great stories and learning how to tell them, becomes handy.

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