Probably when growing up your mom or dad or any other elder told you to think before you act. Nothing wrong with this advice, it’s so true. When making a presentation you should have a story before you even open up your slide design tool, in most cases PowerPoint. Most people just dive into SharePoint and start making slides and ‘go with the flow’. If it works for you, fine by me but it’s always the wrong thing to do. Think, go zen, and outline first what you want to talk about. Why?

Attending a good organized presentation has the same effect on me as watching Bob Ross going crazy with paint and creating trees, lakes and all sorts of animals. It makes me happy, it makes me excited and it gives me the feeling I just spend my time well. Maybe this makes me a little bit nuts as well but it works relaxing. Whenever I’m relaxed, I’m at my best.

Robert Norman Ross (October 29, 1942 – July 4, 1995) was an American painter, art instructor, and television host. With his calm demeanor, Ross came to prominence as the creator and host of The Joy of Painting, a television program that ran for twelve years on PBS stations in the United States. He parlayed this success into a commercial “Bob Ross” brand: an industry of art books and supplies. Bob wasn’t the greatest painter in the world but he was well known for his work. You probably aren’t the greatest speaker or presenter in the world but you can still deliver a hell of a presentation that people will remember you by. All you need to do is to think before you act.

Whenever you take the time to think about your presentation before making it there’s nothing to be afraid of and you can be yourself. Like Bob, he wasn’t afraid to talk to squirrels and rabbits. Whenever you are feeling relaxed on stage you will come up with the greatest stories, even if your life isn’t that exciting there’s always a story that will get your audience their attention and keep them focused.

Just put the ‘smoosh’ in your slides. Whenever you thought about your story and presentation, and outlined it on paper, it’s way easier to come up with well designed slides. Bringing the ‘smoosh’ in your slides will work as an enhancement to your story. Like I always said: “the best slides are probably the ones with no text at all.“

I also stated that Bob wasn’t the best painter but Bob wasn’t afraid to take a little sidestep whenever he was painting. You should take that sidestep as well and leave out as many words as possible. You are not writing a book, you are designing a slide.

Whenever your slide deck is done you have to practice, practice and do some more practice. A good way is to stand in front of a mirror and pitch. Bob talked to trees and tried to connect with it. You can talk to your mirror, it will not answer, there’s no shame in that. There’s nothing wrong with having that mirror as your friend! Try to think of that mirror as your audience. Try to think of your audience as your friends.

Now you can begin on thinking of your next presentation.