The 5 best presentations ever - what makes these so special?

Do you want to have such a riveting, awesome presentation that your audience won't even consider playing on their smartphones during your talk? There is an art and science to creating a visually memorable presentation.

Steve Jobs

When you search online for great presenters, the late Steve Jobs appears in almost every search. His talents reached far beyond developing groundbreaking products; he knew how to create visually appealing, non-traditional presentations.

As he introduces the new iPhone, he explains one idea at a time without using boring bullet points. He then uses a strong visual to sum up his three key points — a master presenter, no doubt. 

Jobs’ style is magical, it’s about leading the crowd to see what he will unveil next, what is the next big exciting toy that we can become obsessed with, what magical features will he discuss that are revolutionary and cutting edge. We wait to see what he will uncover. We wait with baited breath.

What can we learn from Steve Jobs’ style?

  • No bullet points
  • Minimal use of text
  • Effective visuals
  • Strong Storytelling capability
  • Animated tone, created build up to his main points

Amy Tan

Author Amy Tan has an interesting unique storytelling style that creates intrigue. Her use of text as visuals interweave with relevant images. She creates contrast with red and white type against a black background, which draws us into her ideas and to the level of importance that she is trying to emphasize. Her presentation discusses the barriers to creativity, and her mages reflect this confusion. Her goal is not to bring answers to her audience, but to make us think, to pose questions as she discusses her personal challenges with becoming more creative. 

With Amy Tan, we enjoy her journey, her story, her questions, the possibilities, and the relevance in our lives.

What can we learn from Amy Tan’s style?

  • No bullet points
  • Effective use of text
  • Powerful visuals
  • Strong Storytelling capability
  • Humor

Malcolm Gladwell

Talking without slides, photos, text, props, just relying on strong storytelling skills is Malcolm Gladwell's style. He incorporates humor throughout as he paints a descriptive picture. Without the use of bullet points or graphs, he illustrates some key elements about marketing and innovating, while he simplifies concepts in his out-of-the-box approach. 

His colorful description replaces the need for images. His clarity replaces the need for boring, convoluted graphs and bullet points. He chooses to keep his presentation personal, as though we are out in a social setting with him and he is sharing an interesting story. This effective approach requires many, many interesting details, anecdotes, and facts, which is not lacking in his presentation.

What can we learn from Malcolm Gladwell’s style?

  • Strong Storytelling capability
  • Humor
  • Animated tone, facial expressions and hand gestures

Susan Cain

Susan Cain demonstrates the same storytelling talent as Malcolm Gladwell. She uses strong anecdotal recollections so descriptive that we can fully relate to her comparisons between introverts and extroverts. Although she chooses not to use visuals, she does use one prop. This one prop, a closed bag, sits by her side throughout her entire presentation. Does she ever open it? What’s inside? 

She has the ability to remain animated and interesting, as she takes a personal approach and shares her views and funny stories about her life as an introvert.

What can we learn from Susan Cain’s style?

  • Strong Storytelling capability
  • Humor
  • Prop placement to create intrigue
  • Animated tone, facial expressions and hand gestures

Tony Robbins

The name Tony Robbins speaks for itself and most of us already know that he has fascinating, inspiring presentations.

This presentation below was crafted in a clever way. He explains the issue that many of us face: juggling our daily demands. In his presentation he offers three clear solutions. His technique here is a buildup to his three-step solution, which keeps us hooked because we know that he will not pull out long lists, graphs on world stats, or overload us with information. His style of breaking down the problem and solution without slides, just the use of a few relevant improvised scribbles, is a great balance and a great tactic.

He is animated throughout, using many hand gestures and various facial expressions. His tone is captivating and he hooks us from the first few words.

What can we learn from Tony Robbins’ style?

  • No bullet points
  • Effective use of text
  • Powerful visuals
  • Strong Storytelling capability
  • Animated tone, facial expressions and hand gestures

A common theme among these great presentations is the entertainment value, not just finding ways to keep their audience from falling asleep, but keep them sitting on the edge of their chairs.

Let's analyze our 5 presenters techniques

Steve Jobs Amy Tan Malcolm Gladwell Susan Cain Tony Robbins
Props Best Presentations by PowToon Best Presentations by PowToon Best Presentation tips by PowToon PowToon best presentations what makes best presentations
Animated Tone and expressions
Bullet Points

All of the presenters that we analyzed made sure, without a shadow of a doubt, that they had compelling stories to share. This is worth noting as the most important part of a presentation. And in telling their amazing stories, they also understood that avoiding bullet points at all costs was so critical in preventing the disconnection and fragmentation of their messages.

Quick pointers to remember for great presentations

  • Strive for one idea per slide
  • Use minimal text
  • Avoid bullet points
  • Focus on telling a great story that will keep your audience hooked
  • Remain animated and enthusiastic
  • Use props to support your story

Now that you area aware of some key elements that worked for these presenters you can take it one step further and add some quick, non-technical animation and color to your best presentations with PowToon. See for yourself!

Written by Daniel Glickman and Janis Raisen at PowToon.