Some presentations are better than others. Some have gorgeous designs. Some have insanely actionable takeaways. Some just give down-to-earth advice. But the best presentations represent all three.
And if you’re looking to get started making your own presentation, why not learn from the best of the best?
To help you kick your own presentations up a notch, we’ve curated 24 awesome PowerPoint and SlideShare decks below.
When you’re clicking through the presentations below, notice how they weave an interesting story through the format, design their slides, and make their presentations interactive with features exclusive to the platform on which they were created. These are all crucial elements to making an awesome presentation — ones that you can certainly adapt and apply them to your own, with the right approach.
Even better — you may just learn something new about marketing while you’re at it.
How to Create a Presentation
- Less is more.
- Keep text to a minimum.
- Rethink visuals.
- Incorporate multimedia.
1. Less is more.
Here’s the thing — SlideShare exists for a reason. It allows users to view information in a presentation format without having to go somewhere else to see it presented. When you, a human being, deliver a presentation, chances are that that’s part of the reason why people are tuning in. They care about the topic, but they also are curious about the person speaking on it.
That’s why it can be valuable to keep your slides simple when delivering a presentation to an audience in-person. You want the focus to be on the message, rather than just the slides themselves. Keep the slides on-topic, but simple enough that people can still pay attention to what you’re saying, using the visual presentation to support your message.
2. Keep text to a minimum.
One way to accomplish the aforementioned simplicity is to reduce the amount of text in your presentation. People recall information better when images are paired with it (as opposed to text), so to help your message resonate with the audience, focus on visual content when you create your slides — we’ll cover more on that in a bit.
3. Rethink visuals.
When you reduce the amount of text in your slides, you’ll need compelling visuals to support the message you’re delivering to your audience. But that doesn’t mean you can just throw some nice-looking photos onto your deck and move on. Like any other content strategy, the visual elements of your presentation need to be strategic and relevant.
While PowerPoint templates have come a long way since the program was first unveiled to the world, chances are, they’re still commonly used. To help make your presentation unique, choose a theme that your audience hasn’t seen dozens of times before — one that matches your brand and complements the topic you’re speaking about.
Sometimes, it pays to look beyond to other presentation platforms other than PowerPoint to find unique templates, like Prezi. There are also many visual content design sites that offer customizable templates that you can adapt for your own brand and topic, like Canva. In fact, in addition to templates, Canva also offers its very own platform for building presentations from scratch.
Additionally, you can also take a look at Venngage’s free presentation maker for more professionally designed templates, icons and high-quality stock photos that you can use right away.
Charts and Graphs
One of the best ways to support the message you’re delivering in your presentation is by including data and statistics — and the good news is that they, too, can be represented visually, rather than bulleted out in text.
That’s where charts and graphs come in: They provide a colorful and engaging way to present the details that support your point. That said, make sure they fit in with the rest of your presentation’s visual theme — otherwise, it’ll distract the audience from what you’re talking about, rather than enhancing it.
There’s been some research around the way color can influence our emotions, especially when used in marketing.
And while the goal of your presentation may not necessarily be to make a sale, you might be trying to invoke certain feelings or impressions, which a strategic use of color can help you do. Check out Coschedule’s guide on the psychology of color in marketing, which highlights the ways different tones, shades, and combinations can influence purchasing decisions.
When you do include text, you want it to be readable enough for your audience to fully consume and interpret it easily enough to avoid becoming distracted from your message. If you include text that’s too small or dense to easily read, they’ll become too focused on trying to decipher it to pay attention to what you’re saying.
That’s why the designers at Visage recommend choosing Sans Serif fonts that opt for “legibility over fun,” noting that text should not only be big enough for people in the back of the room to read it, but also, presented in the right color to maintain visibility over your background.
Incorporating this fabulous visual content into your presentation will go to waste if the images are low-quality. Make sure your photos and other visual assets are high-resolution enough to be crisp and clear when displayed on a huge presentation screen.
4. Incorporate multimedia.
There’s a reason why we love examples. You can give out the best advice available, but sometimes, in order to believe it, people need to see it in practice.
Multimedia is one way to achieve that — in a manner that can also capture and maintain your audience’s attention. A simple Google search for “music in presentations” yields enough soundtrack results to suggests that it’s a unique way of engaging your audience, or at least create a welcoming atmosphere before and after you speak.
Within the presentation itself, video — as it is in so many other applications — serves as valuable visual content to keep your audience engaged. After all, 43% of people want to see more video content from marketers, often because it helps to illustrate and explain theories in practice in a way that the spoken word or photographs can’t do alone.
Best PowerPoint Presentations
- How to Produce Better Content Ideas, Mark Johnstone
- How Google Works, Eric Schmidt
- Fix Your Really Bad PowerPoint, Slide Comet
- Why Content Marketing Fails, Rand Fishkin
- The What If Technique, Motivate Design
- Digital Strategy 101, Bud Caddell
- 10 Ways to Win the Internets, Upworthy
- Crap: The Content Marketing Deluge, Velocity Partners
- What Would Steve Do? 10 Lessons from the World’s Most Captivating Presenters, HubSpot
- How I Got 2.5 Million Views on SlideShare, Nick Demey
- 10 Powerful Body Language Tips for Your Next Presentation, Soap Presentations
- What 33 Successful Entrepreneurs Learned From Failure, ReferralCandy
- Displaying Data, Bipul Deb Nath
- Design Your Career 2017, Slides That Rock
- A-Z Culture Glossary 2017, sparks & honey
- The History of SEO, HubSpot
- 5 Killer Ways to Design The Same Slide, Crispy Presentations
- The Seven Deadly Social Media Sins, XPLAIN
- The Minimum Lovable Product, Spook Studio
- How to Teach Yourself HTML and CSS This Month, Ryan Bonhardt
- How People Really Hold and Touch (Their Phones), Steven Hoober
- How to Really Get Into Marketing, Inbound.org
- Search for Meaning in B2B Marketing, Velocity Partners
1. How to Produce Better Content Ideas Mark Johnstone
We all get writer’s block sometimes. You’ll stare at a screen, hoping for inspiration to strike — and for that idea to be amazing.
But that’s not actually the best way to think of ideas. In the presentation below, Mark Johnstone outlines a better way to brainstorm ideas that will help build your business.
2. How Google Works by Eric Schmidt
Ever wonder what it’s actually like to work at Google? The presentation below from Eric Schmidt (Alphabet, Inc.’s Executive Chairman and ex-CEO of Google) could clue you in — it outlines some of the top lessons he and his team have learned from running and hiring for one of the top companies in the world. Besides giving you a peek behind the scenes of a top company, it could inspire you to make changes to the way your business runs.
3. Fix Your Really Bad PowerPoint by Slide Comet
Okay, maybe your PowerPoint isn’t that bad, but this presentation has some awesome takeaways we all could learn from. Even if you’re following all the tips in this presentation (inspired by Seth Godin’s e-book), you can sure be inspired by its expert copy and design.
4. Why Content Marketing Fails by Rand Fishkin
Sometimes, the most helpful pieces of content tell you what not to do. Rand Fishkin’s presentation does just that. He takes an in-depth look at the most common reasons people fail at content marketing — and offers practical, original advice on fixing it.
5. The What If Technique by Motivate Design
Most marketers are looking to grow … but sometimes they can get stuck making incremental improvements. While these improvements are growth, larger, bigger growth jumps are what most people want. To help you get unstuck from incrementalism, Motivate Design outlined a process in the presentation below.
6. Digital Strategy 101 by Bud Caddell
Even though this presentation is almost 100 slides long, its content is pure gold. Caddell answers some of the biggest FAQs about digital strategy in a very accessible way. The reason his slides are so straightforward is because of the way he’s laid them out. He’s really adept at making “animated” slides explain his story — something we all should learn how to do.
7. 10 Ways to Win the Internets by Upworthy
Even though Upworthy’s got a bad rap for creating clickbait headlines, their lessons on going viral are incredibly interesting. Besides having great advice about going viral, Upworthy does a great job of making its presentation interactive using clickable links.
8. Crap: The Content Marketing Deluge by Velocity Partners
Even though this SlideShare is a few years old, it’s one every content marketer should flip through. The reason we love it so much is because the message — and delivery of that message — is pretty much flawless. Definitely take a second to flip through the presentation, as you’ll learn a great lesson while also soaking up a great piece of SlideShare content.
Not to toot our own horn, but this presentation has been one of our most successful ones, so we wanted to share it with you. I personally love how actionable tips are provided in a visual way. For example, in slides 47 through 49, the author explains the difference between “showing” and “telling” by putting the word “circle” next to a picture of a circle. Although showing, not telling, is a key storytelling technique in writing, it’s especially effective in presentations.
10. How I Got 2.5 Million Views on SlideShare by Nick Demey
Feeling inspired to create a SlideShare of your own? Make sure you flip through Nick Demey’s presentation first. He shares some tried-and-true tips for creating awesome presentations that rack up tons of views.
11. 10 Powerful Body Language Tips for Your Next Presentation by Soap Presentations
This presentation is inspirational from a design perspective — we especially love the color scheme. Using complementary colors (colors opposite each other on the color wheel) can be overwhelming at times, but because Soap Presentations uses them with lots of white space in the background, the colors draw your attention to the content of the slides.
12. What 33 Successful Entrepreneurs Learned From Failure by ReferralCandy
Learning from mistakes is a crucial part of growing in your professional and personal lives. But sometimes, it’s better to learn from others’ mistakes instead of making them yourself. This presentation outlines some core lessons successful entrepreneurs have learned by making mistakes. Read on so you don’t have to make the same ones.
13. Displaying Data by Bipul Deb Nath
We admire presentation for its exceptional display of data — now this post will explain how to do the same in your own presentations. I also love how this presentation is very concise and minimal, as it helps communicate a fairly advanced topic in an easy-to-understand way.
14. Design Your Career 2017 by Slides That Rock
This advice of this presentation is applicable (and its design admirable) even a few years later. The whole black-and-white color scheme really makes the salmon accent color pop — and the SlideShare creatively combines these elements for different slide layouts. Definitely bookmark this presentation as an example of a great SlideShare design.
15. A-Z Culture Glossary 2017 by sparks & honey
The first time I heard the phrase “on fleek,” I had no idea what it meant. (Apparently, it’s a term that means “on point,” in case you were wondering.)
If you’re like me and feel like it’s nearly impossible to keep up with the latest cultural trends, spend time with the presentation below. It’ll outline the most popular trends you should know this year — most definitely worth a read.
16. The History of SEO by HubSpot
SEO’s changed a lot in the past two decades. Most of us are concerned with keeping up with the latest and greatest changes … but have you ever taken a minute to step back in time? The presentation below will walk you through SEO history from the very beginning — it’s been a fascinating ride.
17. 5 Killer Ways to Design the Same Slide by Crispy Presentations
Once you start designing presentations, it’s easy to fall back on tried-and-true layouts, photos, fonts, and colors. While keeping everything consistent can be good for branding or for shipping a deck quickly, it can also prevent people from noticing the awesome new content you’ve put together. The quick presentation below shows you a few different ways you can design the same slide — all depending on what you want it to accomplish.
18. The Seven Deadly Social Media Sins by XPLAIN
Besides having some great takeaways for any inbound marketer, I love how this presentation successfully uses Creative Commons images in almost every slide. It’s pretty inspirational — even if you don’t have budget for stock photos, you can have an engaging presentation.
19. The Minimum Lovable Product by Spook Studio
When they’re first getting started, many startups and agile teams talk about creating a minimal viable product — using the smallest amount of resources to produce something that’s good enough to begin testing. After all, why pour tons of resources into something that you don’t know will work?
This presentation challenges the MVP concept in favor for creating something that people love. Check it out — it has lessons even for those of us who aren’t building technology every day.
20. How to Teach Yourself HTML and CSS This Month by Ryan Bonhardt
Lots of people have “learn to code” on their to-do list … but they never get to it. In marketing, knowing how to navigate code is becoming even more important to being successful. If you’ve been waiting to get started with coding, check out the presentation below.
21. How People Really Hold and Touch (Their Phones) by Steven Hoober
When you hear the phrase “design for mobile” what do you think? Probably that you need to create a responsive website, and that’s about it.
But that’s not all you need to worry about. When you’re creating mobile-optimized content, you need to know how people actually use their phones — and the presentation below will you a great overview of consumer behavior.
22. How to Really Get Into Marketing by Inbound.org
If you’re graduating from school or making a career change and looking to get into marketing, it can feel tough to actually get started. It’s one of those “you need experience to get the job, but you have no experience” conundrums.
Well, that’s where this presentation comes in. Hull growth marketer Ed Fry — once employee #1 at Inbound.org — gives real, actionable tips to help you get your foot in the door at your next marketing gig.
23. Search for Meaning in B2B Marketing by Velocity Partners
Sometimes, it’s easy to get bogged down and think you’re doing “just marketing.” You’re not operating on people and saving lives, right?
From the creators of “Crap: The Content Marketing Deluge” comes the following presentation. If you’re ever feeling down-in-the-dumps about marketing, I’d highly recommend reading it. It’s thoughtful, funny, and a great presentation to keep in your back pocket for a rainy day.
PowerPoint Your Presentation in the Right Direction
The best PowerPoint presentations have gorgeous designs, give insanely actionable takeaways, and provide down-to-earth advice.
Learn from these best PowerPoint presentation examples to create your own that represents all three.
Originally published Nov 17, 2020 7:00:00 AM, updated November 17 2020