You’ve got a big presentation coming up. Like, make-or-break big.

Presentations are all about sharing important information with the right people, be they your bosses, your coworkers, or your future clients. It’s important to make a good impression, and a creative presentation can help put you over the top.

Don’t know where to start? Here are 31 excellent presentation ideas to inspire your next successful pitch.

1) Structure your presentation like a story

Chart outlining the "hero's journey" story structure
(Source: Skift)

A great presentation takes its audience on a journey. What’s the main point you’re trying to get across? Think of it as a driving action, something that will push the audience through the narrative of your presentation. You can break it down like so:

  • Where are we now?
  • What’s changing?
  • What’s going to happen?
  • Where did we end up?

2) Make it minimalist

Minimalist design presentation ideas by Canva
(Source: Canva)

Especially in a business setting, you want your PowerPoint design to be simple, stylish, and inviting. Minimalism can be a great way to give your presentation slides a professional look without sacrificing style. A simple backdrop also helps important facts and figures stand out.

3) Color theory is your friend

Presentation slide illustrating the color wheel

As you’re designing your presentation, remember to use colors that complement each other. Is your company’s color pale green? Combine it with an equally pale pink. To get more in-depth, there are plenty of tools online like Coolors that help you make full color palettes.

4) Black and white with pops of color

Black and white real estate presentation design with splashes of red
(Source: Slidesgo)

On the other end of the spectrum (no pun intended), sometimes one color is all you need. For a more minimal presentation, a black and white aesthetic with a single accent color can really stand out. You can use that color to emphasize key facts and figures, because the audience is already drawn to it.

5) Add music to your presentation

Music themed slideshow template
(Source: Slidesgo)

How do you elevate a presentation above the level of looking at a bunch of static screens? One of the quickest ways to engage your audience is with musical cues. Adding music to slideshows can be one of the easiest ways to create the dreaded technical difficulties, but if you know how to pull it off, it’s an excellent engagement tool.

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6) Ask your audience questions

PowerPoint slide question template
(Source: 24slides)

“How do I engage my audience?” Have you tried talking to them? Question and answer sections can be a great tool for team-building presentations, and they can turn potential buyers into engaged participants.

Try creating questions that will feed into your point. Rather than saying “You need ___,” ask your audience what they need and bring it back around to your product or service.

7) Visualize your data with engaging graphics

Infographic design for presentation ideas
(Source: PresentationPoint)

Data visualization is a key part of any presentation (okay, most presentations). Looking for presentation ideas to make your data pop? Don’t settle for basic charts.

Highlight key figures with bold fonts and colors. Use imagery that conveys what your data means. It’s easy to zone out in a meeting—it’s up to you to visualize data in a way people can’t ignore.

8) Pop culture can be your friend

Avatar: The Last Airbender themed presentation ideas
(Source: YouTube)

Whether you’re leading a team meeting or seeking to engage your customers, pop culture references can help build interest and level the playing field. Even in more “serious” slideshows, a brief pop culture reference can endear you to the crowd. Just remember to know your audience; try not to make a reference that will go over their heads.

9) Pair fonts to keep your presentation dynamic

Canva Google Slides template pairing different fonts
(Source: Canva)

One of the biggest mistakes beginners make when designing a presentation is using the same font and typeface throughout. To keep people visually engaged, you need to offer some variety. Try using bolder, more creative fonts for titles, pairing them with sleeker sans serif fonts for body text. Beyond that, use different weights and styles for different types of text, as well as colors.

10) Make the right impression with visual metaphors

Presentation template with a money tree visual metaphor
(Source: SlideModel)

Ideally, everyone would pay attention to you. But since you can’t account for that, you want your audience to understand the ideas behind your presentation no matter how much attention they’re paying. On top of emphasizing key data and words, visual metaphors are a great way to ensure that even the least attentive listeners are getting the gist of it.

11) Place your images into unique frames

Presentation idea with hexagonal image frames
(Source: Microsoft)

Does your presentation feel dated? Boxy? Undynamic? It may be because you’re stuck thinking in squares and rectangles.

Unique image frames aren’t just fun to look at; they open up the space of your slides. Instead of stiff squares and borders, circles, hexagons and other shapes give a sense of floating in space.

12) Juice up your presentation transitions

Presentation animation options menu in PowerPoint
(Source: PowerPoint)

One of the classic marks of a middle schooler’s first PowerPoint: every transition under the sun. Using different transitions for each slide will make your presentation feel amateur. Instead, stick to one style of transition, or make your use of transitions thematically consistent (e.g. moving in the same direction).

13) Turn your presentation into one moving slide

Free PowerPoint template with one moving slide concept
(Source: PowerPoint School)

This is an advanced transition technique for all you presentation design pros out there. Elevate your slideshow by giving it the sense of a literal living document. You can create a book or folder motif (as in the example above) or create a scrolling graphic format. If nothing else, you can mesh transitions and design to make each slide seamlessly morph into the next.

14) Make room for quotes

Colorful quote slide concept for presentations
(Source: SlideModel)

Whether you’re getting a point across or just trying to inspire your audience, a quote is a great addition to any presentation. Quotes by experts can help lend your point some authority. Meaningful quotes can open up the floor to discussions. Funny or inspirational quotes can provide some levity without sacrificing professionalism.

15) Get your presentation ideas from history

20th century history themed PowerPoint design
(Source: GreatPPT)

Similar to pop culture, history is a language you can share with your audience. Like in the Star Trek episode “Darmok,” moments from history can recall specific feelings for your audience. If you want to invoke romance, for instance, a Shakespearean backdrop can be just the thing.

16) Engage your audience with activities

Colorful activities slideshow ideas
(Source: Canva)

First of all, yes, a presentation is a great idea for facilitating a group game in a classroom or office setting. But believe it or not, any presentation can benefit from capturing the audience’s attention through activities.

For team-building presentations, build trust and relationships through simple games. For pitches, create space to “test out” your product or service. The possibilities are endless.

17) Give your presentation a seasonal theme

Halloween themed PowerPoint title slide
(Source: Slidesgo)

Pop culture references can ensure your presentation is current, but depending on your audience, you may have to avoid being too current. Seasonal themes, on the other hand, keep you timely no matter who you’re presenting to. You can go all in on a theme, like the Halloween example above, or incorporate subtle elements for a more corporate presentation.

18) Be forward thinking with a futuristic design

Futuristic purple esports presentation ideas
(Source: Canva)

In business (especially tech), you always want to look like you’re on the cutting edge. If you’re pitching a new product, service, or strategy, you definitely want your audience to see you as forward-thinking.

That’s where a futuristic design can help. Implement sleek shapes, dark colors, and interactive elements to make your presentation futuristic. Sometimes, it’s as simple as adding images of modern tech products.

19) Keep it fresh with a modern presentation

Modern PowerPoint design from Envato
(Source: Envato)

Futurism has its place, but if you want to convey a cutting-edge feel in a more subtle way, a modern, artistic presentation design is the way to go. Unique shapes and color combinations—as well as bold, sans serif fonts—can help your slides look effortful and fresh. You can work with an expert designer or design service to really make your presentation unique.

20) Enter a new dimension with 3D graphics

Presentation idea with 3D graphics
(Source: Canva)

3D illustrations are relatively novel, and even freely available models are underused in presentations. Even in 2022, they still convey a sense of novelty, whether they’re playful, artistic, or scientific. On top of lending flair to your slides, they can also be great for visualizing data in informative presentations.

21) Come up with a motif inspired by your content

Lighthouse themed slideshow design by 24Slides
(Source: 24Slides)

A strong theme can turn your presentation into a work of art. Consider both the principal points of your presentation and what feelings you want to evoke.

The lighthouse theme above can represent navigating troubled waters or brainstorming new solutions. A cute animal theme could make your audience feel warm and at peace. Be creative, but put substance first.

22) Include your logo in every slide

Hiyya logo design PowerPoint concept
(Source: Dribbble)

A presentation can be a great way to propose a new logo design, but your logo is a great fit for any type of presentation. For pitches, they make your brand look professional. For internal meetings, they help make it feel official, boosting engagement from your audience. Design your slides to make room for your logo and try to balance colors and fonts to fit your brand.

23) Color code your themes

Color coded presentation ideas
(Source: Envato)

We’ve talked a lot about the singular theme of your presentation. But the truth is, many presentations cover a number of different topics, or at least have subcategories underneath their overall theme. Using different colors to reflect different subjects or types of slides is a great way to give your presentation subtle depth.

24) Make it fun with GIFs

GIF of Michael Scott from The Office saying "PowerPoint" while pointing his finger.

GIFs have become a crucial part of the online ecosystem. However you pronounce it (team “jif,” for the record), a GIF is a casual, effective way to evoke emotion, humor, or otherwise build a relationship with your audience. There’s a reason Twitter is overrun with these things; there’s a GIF for every occasion.

25) Shoot for the moon with an outer space theme

Title slide for an outer space presentation idea
(Source: TemplateMonster)

Space is one of the most versatile themes to use in a presentation design. Where a futuristic slideshow places you on the cutting edge, space creates the impression that your ambitions go even bigger. Whether you’re trying to pump up your coworkers or attract new clients, placing your presentation in the final frontier is bound to inspire them.

26) Keep it lighthearted with humor and memes

Two memes involving presentations

Some presentations are serious business. But in public speaking, your primary goal is often to build a relationship with your audience. One foolproof way to accomplish this is with a well-placed meme or punchline.

Yes, it’s true that meme culture travels fast, and it can be hard to tell what will still be fresh when you’re presenting. But if there’s one place where you can get away with an old-school, impact-font-over-JPEG meme in 2022, it’s in a business presentation.

27) Format each slide like a social media post

Presentation design based on Twitter layout
(Source: 24Slides)

Here’s an out-of-the-box idea: what design layout are people most familiar with today? Chances are, a format inspired by social media is one of the best ways to make your audience feel at home. This is best for a presentation where social media is relevant, but it can also serve a similar function to memes, creating a fun dynamic with your audience. Your slide text shouldn’t be longer than a tweet, anyway.

28) Bring your presentation to life with motion graphics

PowerPoint template with moving GIF elements
(Source: SlidesGo)

We’ve already gone over transitions, the animations taking you from one slide to the next. But that doesn’t have to be the only animated thing about your presentation. Motion graphics can help each slide come alive, as well as emphasizing key facts and helping visualize data. Just try not to make the graphics too distracting.

29) Get everyone involved with interactive elements

File cabinet themed interactive presentation design from SlidesGo
(Source: SlidesGo)

A boring presentation can feel like looking at someone else’s vacation photos. You want your audience to feel involved, and one of the best ways to do that is with interactive elements.

These can be animations and transitions triggered by clicking certain items. They can also be as simple as inviting your audience to engage with a fun quiz. Either way, engagement is key.

30) Make it cohesive with photo overlays

Stylish slideshow design with black and white photo overlays
(Source: Envato)

Maybe you’re showcasing your photography work. Maybe you’re presenting a product with a series of photos. You might just be using stock photos to illustrate your point.

Either way, most presentations will involve at least a few photos. If you want a slick, artistic look, you can use color overlays and filters to make these photos part of your slides’ aesthetic. Use complementary colors and keep them consistent for each photo you put in, or go black and white for a luxury look.

31) Alternate your slide formats

Inspirational PowerPoint design with alternating slides
(Source: GraphicMama)

This is a rookie mistake, but one that might be harder to catch. If you’ve come up with a great design, engaging content, and you still feel like you’re missing something, your presentation might just be too one-note.

Alternate the format of your slides, especially text-heavy ones, to ensure your PowerPoint feels dynamic. These changes can be as simple as moving the text from left to right. It’s just an important part of keeping your audience engaged.

BONUS: Give your presentation a pro polish with Penji

Penji presentation idea with red and white cycling theme
(Source: Penji)

These presentation ideas are meant to help you design a presentation that yields results. If you really want to craft a high-power PowerPoint, though, you may not want to design it yourself at all. A presentation created by a certified pro is the best way to wow your audience, and the easiest way to get professional designs every time is with Penji.

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