Dec 10, 2023

Your presentation may lack power and a point

Published Jun 21, 2005

In a hotel lobby, I passed a seller and a buyer involved in a sales presentation. The seller was engrossed in “making the sale.” He was intensely looking at his laptop computer as he methodically clicked through his PowerPoint presentation.

The prospective buyer, meanwhile, was not paying attention.

Noticing this, I went over to these strangers and said to the seller, “What are you doing? This guy’s not paying attention to you.”

I turned to the prospect and said, “Are you buying or not?” The prospect said, “Yeah, I am.”

I said, “Great! Finish this transaction right this minute,” then I walked away grinning.

The encounter reminded me of the old sales joke: “Don’t buy yet. I’m not finished with my presentation.”

To create a PowerPoint presentation that is engaging and compelling, here are 16.5 elements to consider:


1. Don’t even think about using stupid clip art that any 12-year-old could find. It makes you look like a rank amateur.

2. Add an unexpected, personal, funny photograph.

3. Make a verbal point and reinforce it with a slide, not the other way around.

4. Don’t ever say, “This one’s a little hard to read.” Slides are free. Make two of them.

5. Don’t have your slides spin around or have moving text. That’s a total waste of time.

6. Don’t put more than one point on a slide.

7. Count the laughs. Your goal is at least one laugh for every five slides.

8. Use a white background. The fancy ones are distracting and serve no purpose.

9. Include a logo. I put a bug-size logo in the lower right corner of every slide.

10. Use the font Impact. Set the master screen for 44 point and shadow the type.

11. Emphasize words by blowing them up a few point sizes. Make them a different color. I use red.

12. If you’re laboring over one particular slide to make it work, delete it. It was probably a weak point.

13. Use slides that tell a story, rather than relate a fact. Here’s the rule: Facts and figures are forgotten, but stories are remembered and retold.

14. Are your slides engaging? There are two kinds of slides: engaging and distracting. Review each slide and ask yourself, “How engaging is this?”

15. Do your slides ask questions or make statements? Questions will promote conversation and engage.

16. How many of the claims made in your sales presentation are backed up with proof?

16.5. Incorporate video testimonial clips throughout your slide presentation to prove your claims are real and transferable to the customer.

And there’s one question that you better make certain to include toward the end of your presentation—the one that asks for the sale.


Jeffrey Gitomer, author of The Sales Bible and Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless, is president of Buy Gitomer of Charlotte, N.C. He gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts training programs on selling and customer service. He can be reached by email at or at 800-242-5388. He also has a web site at

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