Our company culture at adidas is certainly rather extrovert. Whether you like it or not: it matters how convincing and inspirational you are. Most employees are keen on presenting their ideas and finding a followership for them – be it in daily meetings, at retailer events or on the big stage when the next product collection is launched. Some feel more confident presenting, others have to work harder for top results.

“There are 1.7 million Google entries on how to deliver a good presentation, but we all still have to listen to many poorly delivered presentations in our daily business.”Jan Runau, adidas Group’s Chief Corporate Communication Officer

You can draw online on the experiences of the likes of Steve Jobs, Martin Luther King and Groucho Marx. You can listen to TED talks, sign up for tutorials, buy books, join a presentation class and hire a coach. So if there are a million ways to improve your presentation skills, why are there still millions of poor, boring presentations? My theory is that the excessive supply of tips just adds to the problem. Don’t try to follow every single tip, focus on a few. Here is my selection that helped me to improve my presentation skills, too.

1. Forget Steve Jobs, follow Groucho Marx

Groucho Marx, the American comedian and actor, part of the famous Marx Brothers siblings, once said: “Before I speak, I have something to say.”  The quote to me says: think about what you want to get across before you start your presentation and develop a nice storyline.

How to scare off your audience – leave busy slides to busy consultants.

2. PowerPoint is out

Present without PowerPoint. At least minimize the slides you use. There is no way that you can present 30 slides in 15 minutes (although people try over and over again). And there is no one who wants to see 72 slides. Calculate at least 2 minutes per slide. If it is a good slide that illustrates well what you are talking about, you can even talk longer per slide.

3. Don’t read, present

If you need a teleprompter to deliver your presentation, then please do not hesitate to order one. Barack Obama does it all the time, so it is all fine. If you didn’t order a teleprompter, however, please don’t write text on your slides just to read that text out loud. Everybody in your audience can actually read. They don’t need you doing it for them.

4. Show your face

Your colleagues are your audience. It’s neither your laptop in front of you nor the slide on the screen behind you. The only way to captivate your audience is by addressing them directly. So please face your audience. Or did you ever see Barack Obama turning his back on his audience when speaking?

Keep it clean, puristic and focus on the core message. Presenting will get the attention, not just to read out loud.

 5. Leave busy slides to busy business consultants

The busiest slides I have ever seen are usually created by business consultants. They manage to put so much text on a slide that you wonder if they are paid by the line. As long as you are not paid by the line, please leave busy slides full of text to consultants. Build your presentation on great pictures that illustrate what you are actually talking about.

6. Don’t get childish at the end

Still remember when you were young. What did mum and dad always have to remind you about saying when you received a little gift or token from somebody? Say: “Thank you!” Those were the days. Today I hope nobody has to remind you to say “thank you” anymore so please don’t remind yourself by putting a “thank you” slide at the end of your presentation. Either you say thank you at the end, or you don’t because the applause is already roaring so nobody hears what you are saying anyway!

7. Feel the pleasure

I could go on for a while but I want to keep it short and simple (which by the way would be just another smart tip for delivering a great presentation). Ultimately, I would love to encourage you to find your own presentation style that fits your personality. Only then will you feel the pleasure of standing in front of an audience.

How to feel that pleasure by learning from another great comedian is a totally different story but one that you can read soon here on the adidas Group blog. Stay tuned!


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by Prakash 25.03.2015
Very well summarized. Really a presentation is a story told using some figures/graphics on board to prop the storyline. One has to be passionate about the subject.Speakers passion clearly coming through makes for effective presentation and communication. It helps if one has made his own presentation.
by Jay Johansen 26.03.2015
Whenever I speak to a group of people or any customer I make sure to always smile. It's amazing haow a simple simple smile works in so many ways. Thank you, Jay Johansen
by ev dekorasyon 26.03.2015
Thanks for sharing and expression.
by Nicoletta Ferrini 18.06.2015
I've always said that when opening PPT program, a pop up should give an alert message such as "use with care: a bad use could create real damnages to the comprehension of your exposition"
by Gemina Stroud 01.06.2016
I have found that some presenters fail to identify their audience and neglect to take the setting of the presentation into consideration. I think these provide a solid foundation upon which to build the presentation. Create a conversation!