How to Inject Creativity into Your Next Presentation

Imagine you've taken to the stage for a crucial business presentation.

In front of you are a sea of expectant faces.

How are you going to grab and maintain their attention? How can you make your presentation more interesting? How will you ensure your presentation is memorable?

We've put our thinking caps on and pulled some tips and advice together from our presentation skills training courses to help you generate creative presentation ideas.


11 ways you can generate creative presentation ideas

1 Tell stories

There's only one place to start - stories are crucial for making a presentation engaging.

Nothing grabs an audience's attention quite like a good story.

Stories take the audience on a journey and evoke emotions - vital for persuading and influencing.

And they are memorable. Your audience might struggle to remember facts and figures. But a story can stay with people and affect what they think.

A personal story is particularly powerful.

People want to hear about other people, not corporate strategy, management vision or process.

It is personal ones which stimulate emotions in the audience, persuade them of your point and allow them to see your human side - making you relevant and relatable.

The key to effective presentations is to get the balance right. Your story should reinforce your central theme. It should not be the focus of the presentation.

You can find tips in our recent blog on mastering the art of storytelling in presentations.


2 Use metaphors

The value of metaphors in presentations can often be overlooked.

But they are a powerful tool for grabbing the audience's attention.

They can help people grasp ideas and make the complex understandable by comparing them to everyday situations.

They can make your key message memorable and persuade and stir people into action.

You may remember how Jonathan Van Tam, the then deputy chief medical officer, used metaphors throughout the pandemic.

Here's how he explained why booster jabs should be given early rather than waiting for more evidence on post-vaccination immunity.

“I don’t know if many of you are used to crawling into small tents on mountainsides," he said.

“But if you know a storm’s coming up in the night, it’s better to put some extra guy ropes on there and then, than it is to wait until it’s the middle of the night, it’s howling with wind and rain, and you’ve then got to get out your tent and make your tent secure and by the time you crawl back in you’re soaking wet.”

That's much more likely to keep the audience engaged than saying, ‘It is better to be pre-emptive and prepare for the worst’.

Another one that stuck in my mind was his comparison of the race to beat covid to the Grand National.

“The vaccine effects are going to take three months until we see them properly, and until then no one can relax," he said.

“We are probably in the last few furlongs of this race – like in the Grand National. We just have a couple more fences. We have just got to stick with it.”


3 Ditch the presentation slides

Many presenters in the business world spend a lot of time preparing their presentation slides, finding the right background image, and diligently adding bullet points and bold fonts.

But do you need slides?

Consider what the audience will gain from your slides and whether information could be better conveyed through more creative ideas.

For example, you could sketch an idea on a whiteboard rather than present it through a slide.

If you present without them, the audience's focus will be completely on you. 

And, because most people present with them, not using slides can help make your presentation stand out.

Steve Jobs once said: "People who know what they’re talking about don’t need PowerPoint."


4 Less is more (and bring the visual interest)

Not ready to completely move away from PowerPoint presentations?

Don't worry, ditching the slides altogether can feel daunting. And there are some benefits to using them in a business presentation.

So, if you still want to use them, remember that less is more when it comes to presentation design.

Focus them on what you want the audience to take away. 

Avoid text-heavy slides – people don’t come to a presentation to read slides containing paragraphs of text. 

Instead, opt for just a few words and visual elements that will engage your audience. Use relevant images, infographics, and charts. If you are presenting online, relevant memes could also work.

Our brains love pictures and can process them 60,000 times faster than text.


5 Add interactive elements to your presentation

Giving people the opportunity to take part and voice their opinions can help create a more engaging presentation.

Add in polls and quizzes the audience can take part in through clever digital tools like Mentimeter, which we use during our Media Team Academy masterclasses.

Or ask the audience questions and get them to respond the old-fashioned way with a show of hands. Questions encourage people to reflect on what has been said.


6 Be yourself

People are drawn to speakers who sound impromptu and who can create a natural conversational tone rather than someone who seems rehearsed and scripted.

So, we could give you loads of creative presentation ideas. But you cannot overlook the importance of being yourself and letting your personality come through.

A presenter who reads their slides or a prepared script, or parrots something they have memorised verbatim and leaves their personality behind will struggle to maintain the audience's focus. And they are unlikely to take much from the presentation.

It touches on what we were saying earlier about storytelling. But if you show emotions and vulnerabilities and share a bit of your life, you are likely to produce something which will resonate.

It could be as simple as admitting mistakes, sharing what makes you nervous and worried, or revealing what motivates and inspires you.


7 Humour

Humour is possibly one of the riskier creative presentation ideas.

And it might feel particularly daunting if you are preparing to deliver a serious corporate presentation.

But humour can play a vital role in keeping your audience interested and making your presentation memorable.

Like stories, the key is for humour to support your presentation topic, not distract from it. You are not delivering a stand-up routine.

During our presentation skills training courses, we always stress the importance of knowing your audience. And that advice applies here.

If you understand who you are talking to, you can add humour through shared experiences and create a bond.

If you are speaking as part of a full day of presentations, a little laugh can provide some relief to the audience and bring some energy back into the room.


8 Use personal pronouns

Another creative presentation idea is to use more powerful and persuasive language.

Think about the times you have been in the audience.

How often have you heard people say "the company", "the business", or "the management team"? Most presentations?

What about if speakers use 'you', 'we', 'us' and 'I' instead?

Now the language brings the audience into the discussion. It feels more motivating and inclusive.


9 First impressions are everything

You need to grab your audience's attention from the start.

They will form an almost instant impression of you. 

And they will only pay attention if you sound and look like you know what you are discussing.

So, you need to be more creative than starting by telling everyone your name and what you want to talk about.

Or by tapping on the microphone and asking if the people at the back can hear.

Our CEO James White once began a presentation on the marketing funnel by smashing a plastic funnel with a hammer, complete with a lab coat and safety goggles. One of the more fun presentation ideas and it is certainly memorable.

You don't have to do something as unexpected as that. You could begin with a story, ask a question, add appropriate music, offer a shocking statistic or use a powerful quote.

When Jamie Oliver began a TED Talk in America about childhood obesity, he said: “Sadly, in the next 18 minutes when I do our chat, four Americans that are alive will be dead through the food that they eat."

That's a shocking statistic and one that grabs attention.


10 Invite your presentation audience to imagine

I love the word 'imagine'.

It is the first word in this presentation blog.

And it is brilliant in public speaking. As you ask someone to imagine, they begin to picture what you are discussing.

It's like a magic word. In almost all presentation topics, your audience will begin to use their imaginations to visualise what you are discussing.

From powerful openings to interesting transitions and compelling conclusions, it works at every stage of a presentation and pulls your audience in the same direction.


11 Don't overprepare

This tip always feels a little contradictory because preparation is crucial to presentation success.

But overpreparing can strip all creativity from it.

The pressure we feel to appear perfect can cause us to try to memorise what we want to say rather than focusing on the main themes and messages we want to get across. 

We might go further and rehearse the gestures we intend to use during key points of the presentation. 

This results in a robotic, scripted performance, devoid of any spontaneity. And it is a dull experience for the audience. 


But how do you know if you are prepared or overprepared?

Good question. We say you are prepared when:

  • You feel confident about delivering your presentation
  • You’re clear on the message you want to get across and how you are going to support it
  • You know how you want the audience to feel
  • You have anticipated what you may be asked
  • You know the technology set-up and have a plan B if anything goes wrong

And you are overprepared when:

  • You are lying awake at night trying to memorise your presentation verbatim
  • You have written and memorised answers to every audience question you have anticipated
  • You have rehearsed the facial expressions and gestures you will use at key moments
  • You have put your entire presentation into a huge deck of PowerPoint slides one slide


Knowing your audience is crucial

We've mentioned this several times already in this blog about creating a more creative presentation.

But it is worth reiterating it is vital you know who you are talking to.

To add more creativity, you need to know more about who is attending, what they care about, how familiar they will be with the topic and what questions they might have.

Once you have analysed your audience, you can consider different creative presentation ideas.


Need more help with creative presentation ideas?

Still need more creative presentation ideas?

Or maybe you want to add some polish to your presentation skills?

Whatever your aims and requirements, we will build a presentation skills training course to meet your needs.

Speak to one of our account managers about our bespoke training options.


Media First are leading media and communication skills training specialists with more than 35 years of experience.

We have a team of trainers, each with decades of experience working as journalists, presenters, communications and leadership coaches, and media trainers. 

Discover more about our presentation skills training.

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