The 10 Commandments of Presentations

A few years back I did a version of these.  Today, I was inspired to update them. 


I.  Thou shall speak authentically, from the heart.


II.  Thou shall focus on the audience.


III. Thou shall not use Power Point as speaker notes.


IV.  Thou shall not begin thy speech with a joke*. 


V.  Thou shall speak with all appropriate passion, and not be boring.


VI.  Thou shall tell stories and not kill thine audience with endless data.


VII.  Thou shall not make a sales pitch for thy company or thy services.


VIII.  Thou shall not begin with talk of thyself.


IX.  Thou shall not speak through thy nose, or at the floor, or while advancing thy slides.   


X.  Thou shall not exceed thine allotted time.



(*unless thou is really, really funny.)


7 Comments on “The 10 Commandments of Presentations

  1. Not wishing to seem pedantic, but it should be “thou shalt…” in every instance.

  2. Hi, David — and thanks for the comment, but “shalt” is simply an archaic form of “shall.” There is no usage distinction.

  3. Nick, I love these and would love to know how you would complete the sentence, “and the greatest of these is_______.” I have a hunch it’s number one.
    I have learned so much from following your blog. Grateful!

  4. Hi, Vishal — It’s generally a bad idea because you’re at your most nervous when you’re starting a presentation, so you’re most likely to deliver the joke badly. That’s pressure you don’t need. Also, jokes are risky, and it is easy to offend, misjudge, or confuse an audience with a joke.

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