6 Wildly Different Presentation Styles

When you give a presentation, there is usually a default expectation that you use Powerpoint and what style your slides will be. Maybe you have to conform to some corporate identity style.


Sometimes you are free. Free to chose a style, which lets you communicate more effectively using your personal style.

Do you know your personal style? Let me tell you about different options. You will probably have an idea what suits you. Still, wouldn't it be exciting to try something new? This list can give you ideas.

No Beamer Style

Matthias Pöhm is an advocate for not using a beamer. He founded the Anti-Powerpoint-Party, an "international movement". The proposed alternative is the flip chart.

This style is not appropriate for technical talks, where you need the visual support to communicate complex thoughts. It is great, if you want to emphasize yourself as a person.

Flurry Style

Lawrence Lessig has a very unique style, where he goes through multiple slides per second at times. Some slides contain only a single word. Of course, this requires precise preparation and leaves you with little flexibility. It also has an impressive effect, though.

Personally, I find such presentations overwhelming. If this is the effect you aim for, use it.

Custom Tool Style

Some people build or reuse custom tools. Hans Rosling used his Gapminder for presentations. It visualizes plots using animations and Rosling vividly presented this. This blurs the line between a live demo and a presentation.

If you have a tool, which is useful for live presentations, then use it. It communicates energy and invites interaction.

Many Images Style

Seth Godin is a marketing expert, who uses lots of images often without captions or text. Without his oral explanation the slides are worthless.

I have seen so many slides where the content is just an image, yet the author got lured by the template to add a title, a logo, a page number, the title of the presentation, and more distractions. If something does not help you bring across your message, it is a distraction and you should remove it.

Pure Style

Sir Ken Robinson has given the most popular TED talk of all time. He used no slides, no flipchart, and overhead projector. He just stood there and talked. He did not even walk around because of his paralyzed leg. Maybe this helped for the video, because the camera operator could do lots of close ups, which is hard if the subject moves around a lot.

While Robinson is a positive example, remember all the boring laudatory speeches you certainly endured. Being a great story teller is not as easy as it looks. It probably needs more preparation than giving a speech with slides.

Animations Style

Al Gore gave a famous talk on climate change. That talk was turned into a documentary, which primarily consists of the presentation. Gore used Apple Keynote and this talk shows what presentation software can do if used by experts. The experts in this case were Duarte.

Using animations well is hard. The problem is that it is so easy and tempting to misuse animations. The safe advice is to avoid it. Still, some people can use animation effectively.

If the design part of presentations scares you, I have tips for graphically-challenged people. Also, I wrote tips for technical presentations specifically.

A list of various presentations styles with and without slides