Can Your PowerPoint Pass The “Coffee Test”?

In Attracting New Clients, Business Networking Groups, Business Presentations, PowerPoint, Public Speaking on August 18, 2011 at 3:58 PM

Guest Author Bruce Gabrielle

Want to build a presentation that will grab attention and hold it until the end? Want to make sure it goes viral?

Then don’t build slides until they pass the “coffee test”. The coffee test comes from Robert McKee, author of Story. His advice to screenwriters: don’t spend 18 months writing a screenplay until you know it’s a winner.

Here’s how. Take your friend out for coffee and tell them your story in about 5 minutes. What is their reaction? Are their eyes wide? Their mouth hanging open? Is their coffee now cold because they’re hypnotized by your words? Then you have a winner. Go home and write your screenplay.

But if they’re bored. Distracted. Their eyes are listless, drifting to see who is coming in the door next, if they’re fidgeting, then you don’t have a winner. Go home and work on it some more.

Same with your presentation. You want to captivate your audience? Make them hungry for more? Then take someone to coffee and tell them the story of your presentation. Then you’ll know if it’s time to start building slides, or keep working on your story.

About the author: Bruce Gabrielle is author of Speaking PowerPoint: the New Language of Business, showing a 12-step method for creating clearer and more persuasive PowerPoint slides for boardroom presentations.  You can read more of his writings at

iSpeakEASY offers workshops on how to create and deliver Effective PowerPoint Presentations. Click for information.

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