Customizing Your Presentations

by Derek Featherstone

Customizing your presentations is a great technique to show that you're in tune with the audience. That doesn't mean writing a brand new presentation every time. It means some easy changes that help you connect to the people in the room.

I customize my presentations. You should too.


Simple: You want everyone to know that you’ve put in the effort to cater to them. To the city that they live in. To the sports teams that they cheer for. For their locale and their language.

Here’s some quick, lightweight examples of customizations that will take you about a minute each to prepare:

  1. I use Google Maps for some of my examples. If you do, whenever possible, center the map on the location where you're speaking and create a new screenshot. It helps to create a feeling that this presentation is for THEM.
  2. Take local photos and put them in your presentations. Look for photos that have a point. They help you connect the concepts you are teaching to things in the real world that the audience may have seen near the venue. (See Use more effective photos for an example.
  3. I often use screenshots of the conference web sites that I’m speaking at and use those as examples too. I teach exactly the same content and concepts but with a different screenshot or movie capture. Why? It’s about THEM.

Yes, it takes me a bit longer to get prepared. Yes, I do it anyway.

Do you customize your presentations? If so, how?