How to use quotes in your presentation – 25+ tips from Six Minutes & me

“First, why should I use quotes in my presentations?”

Decisions are made on feelings about facts, not on facts themselves.(In a rush? Jump to the tips.)

Quotations offer a kind of social proof to support the claims you make in your talk. The well-known people who said each quote make your message more credible. And in boardroom-style presentations in business, well-chosen quotes make your talk stand out and look more professional because so few business presenters use them.

These days, I recommend this 3-part formula for using quotes:

  1. Be shrewd, by which I mean use quotes sparingly, and quote a source your audience admires, like Melinda Gates or Richard Branson.
  2. Keep it short. Typically, the shorter a quote is, the more power it has.
  3. Make it shine. For a “professionally designed” look, put it on a full-screen photo and wrap it in oversized quotation marks, like in the example below:

3-part formula for using a quote in your presentation:
“Be shrewd. Keep it short. Make it shine.” Tweet this

For in-depth tips about using quotes, check out the sections below

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How to instantly start a high-stakes PowerPoint presentation – for a key client, sales prospect, top management, investor pitch, or other VIPs

instant open opportunityGot a high-stakes presentation coming up? Find out how to start your slideshow “auto-magically” when you’re ready to present, so with the simple 2-step technique in this post, all you do is connect the projector and start your laptop, and slide 1 of your slideshow’s already on-screen!

As a bonus, you’ll also find out these neat tricks for your preparations:

  • Hide all your desktop icons in just 2 clicks, so if you exit your slideshow at the venue, your laptop looks extremely neat. (This works in various Windows versions, and you can get the icons back just as quickly afterwards.)
  • Turn off your screensaver and system messages on Windows 7 in just 2 keystrokes, to avoid rude interruptions.

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When’s a table not a table? When it’s a series of striking stats! [Video]

Want to turn a table of dull data into visually and emotionally striking stats instead? The 3½-minute video below shows you how, with before-and-after slide shots to bring it all to life. Continue reading

4 parts of your body that’ll improve your next talk

Here’s some neat presentation advice that ticks all the boxes – it’s:

  • audience-centred
  • effective
  • memorable.

It’s brought to you by John Richardson of the blog called Success Begins Today. (I love the positive outlook in that name.) Continue reading

Improve your image: Get 1000s of free photos for your PowerPoint presentations

Update: Microsoft no longer provides photos or
clipart on Office Online, so parts of this article that
no longer apply (as at February 2015) are now
marked with strikethrough formatting (like this).

To get free photos for your slides, I highly recommend (which also has clipart and vector
graphics) and

Did you know you can find 1000s of
great free photos for your slides –
without even leaving PowerPoint?

Over the last couple of years, I’ve used this method to get 2500 high-quality photos for free. For instance, here’s a photo I used for an Ignite talk I gave recently:

Find images that work so well together, people will think you hired a graphic designer!

In this post you’ll quickly find out how to get numerous photos that are as crisp and useful as that, including ways to find images that work so well together, people will think you hired a graphic designer! You might be surprised where you can get all the photos, though… Continue reading

Stop Q&A hypnosis – keep audience attention during your talk or webinar

In this post:


The pain: What most audiences see

During Q&A at the end of a talk, you know how most presenters show a slide saying something like “Questions” the whole time? As you can see here, that can quickly get very boring to look at, causing your audience’s minds to wander:

Well, here’s a far more engaging technique, so not only will you grab people’s attention, you’ll also come across as being really polished. This technique’s particularly handy when you present online, where your audience can get distracted all too easily. Continue reading

Learn 4 pro slide layouts – in 2 minutes [Video]

pencil erasersIn just 2 minutes, this video shows you 4 simple ways to design your slides like a pro.

(You can even jump straight to slide 12 to see the 4 slide layouts in under a minute!)

(Update – January 19, 2012

If you prefer to see the layouts in screenshots – which can be even quicker than watching the video – Ellen recently published 3 of the layouts in a short blog post.)

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Wow them: How to spotlight part of your PowerPoint slide [Video ×2]

Golden Gate Bridge San FranciscoHere’s a great 3-minute video that shows how to sharply focus attention on part of your slide – by using a dramatic spotlight effect:

UPDATE: Here’s a video of a 2nd method that automatically adjusts to show the new background if you move the spotlights (or even if you change the background picture).

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