Category Archives: essay

Updates to the Blog!









Hello everyone!

While it’s been a long time coming, today I finally updated the site! In addition to some updated text and photos, I’ve reorganized the Resources section to make it easier to find what you’re looking for. New finds will be posted here in the appropriate category.

I’ve also created a  new Publications section and brought all of my writings and instructional materials together in one place. You can use these materials to learn more about the Three Simple Rules and how they can improve your presentations.

Information about new resources and blog posts will be available via my Twitter feed (@leehilyer) and my LinkedIn profile. There is also a new Contact page with a simple form for you to get in touch – I hope to hear from you!




Delivering a “Power Presentation”

Read this the other day – too good not to share:

“Nothing is worse than a long, drawn-out meeting that feels like a trip to the dentist. The last place you want to find yourself is leading a snooze fest or a presentation that has people checking their watches every other minute.

Is this going to be YOUR presentation? I hope not!

To be an effective salesperson [presenter, speaker, decision leader, etc.], it’s important to master your presentation skills and learn to engage your audience effectively with highly targeted information that gets results in the shortest period of time.”

Gerber, Scott. “Ten Things You Need to Know to Deliver a Power Presentation,” In: Never Get a ‘Real’ Job: How to Dump Your Boss, Build a Business and Not Go Broke. 2011. pp. 185-186.


New article published in Texas Library Journal

Hi all,

I’m very, very happy to announce  a new article, “Three Simple Rules to Great Presentations,” published in the newest issue of Texas Library Journal 86(3): 87-89.  Will let you know when the PDF is online. Now ONLINE at!

Peace out,


A picture is worth 1000 words, and a couple of high finishes (Guest Post)

Good evening! My apologies for the lack of posts over the Spring and early Summer. I’m kicking things off with something new: a guest post! I give a number of short talks on the UH campus each year on presentation skills and I am always glad to hear “success stories,” when students are able to take the rules and create successful and effective presentations.

This guest post is from Mr. Harold Arnold, a student in the Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston. He’s had phenomenal success with his revamped approach to presentations, and I wanted him to share his story. –Lee

A picture is worth 1000 words, and a couple of high finishes!

My name is Harold O. Arnold, III and I am the Chief Operating Officer for the student organization The Houston Think Tank.  Our organization strives to bridge the gap between the theory we learn at school and the realities of the working world.  We believe that we gain a great education at the University of Houston and strive to implement our ideas on and around campus.  Most recently, we have come up with the idea of the Cougar Invasion.  We plan to invade Lubbock, TX next year for the Texas Tech Football game.  It was with Lee Hilyer’s help that we have been able to hone our presentation skills and win the awards we have received to this point.

Sometime last year I had the pleasure of being invited to a class taught by Lee Hilyer.  The class was on how to make your presentations not just better, but enjoyable.  While serving in the military I have been tortured by long PowerPoints–it was more like a paper just put on a slide.  It was unbearable:  if the military used it on some of the terrorist captives it would be considered worse than torture.

[I gave a workshop on “Three Simple Rules” for Great Presentations as part of the University’s Learning through Discovery initiative ( You can find an abbreviated version here on the site.]

Since that time, I have been determined to practice what Lee preaches, and it has been difficult to say the least.  Nothing is harder than trying to break down the status quo of what business people see and what they are used to.

The first time I implemented Lee’s ideas into a team PowerPoint presentation I got a little blowback from my team.  They loved what they saw and thought it was better than what they had thought it would look like.   However they questioned if this was what the judges were looking for?  Being a strong-willed individual I told them now is the time to change the status quo.  In the APICS Regional Case Study Competition, we finished third and as I saw nineteen other teams go before me I could tell why there needed to be a change. [My emphasis.]

The second time I used Lee’s Ideas was for the C.T. Bauer School of Business Ethics Competition.  Each team was given the guidance to come up with a topic that was unethical, write a two page executive summary, and build a PowerPoint presentation.  I was given the job of building our presentation and of course leveraged the skills I had received from Lee.  Most of our slides were picture-based with a couple of slides that needed other types of information.  In this instance our team finished in Second place out of sixteen teams.

Recently I was asked by APICS, a student organization at the business school, to prepare and deliver a PowerPoint presentation to a group of potential corporate sponsors.  The first presentation was to a panel of judges who gave us a raw score of 34/40.  One of the comments made to us after the presentation was our use of pictures and how it made our presentation stand out. [My emphasis.] I hope that our presentation will further our success and help raise money for the Cougar Invasion, this fall.

Thanks, Harold, for sharing your success!



A Radical Suggestion

Since we make sure all of our published articles are peer-reviewed, or at least reviewed by an editor, why couldn’t we have the same thing for our presentations? People could submit their script and slides (or even a video of them giving the presentation) for review before the conference. Editors with presentation experience would provide feedback and suggestions and presenters would modify their presentations as needed.

Would this take time? Sure. Resources? You bet. Worth it? I’m certain it would be. Is it likely to happen? I can dream, can’t I?



Your Presentation Resolution for 2009

Hi guys and gals!

It’s the last few days of 2008 and you might be formulating your New Year’s resolutions for 2009.  Here’s what I suggest for your presentations (it’s only one):

Resolve in 2009 that you will PRACTICE your presentations at least TWICE before delivering them.

I firmly believe that the reason people stink at giving presentations is because they do not practice enough. It shows up in the “ums” and “ahs,” in the rushed pace of a presentation, and in the reading of text on slides.  In 2009, don’t be one of those people who give stinky presentations–be a superstar and practice!

Now by “practice” I mean really and truly pretending you are in front of your audience and delivering your presentation.  Keeping this resolution means that you’ll have to complete your script and your slides with enough time to practice — try to shoot for a week beforehand. Practice one day and identify anything that needs to be fixed (typo on slide, pacing of a section, etc.). Rest a day, then fix the problems and repeat your practice.  The more you have rehearsed your content, the more professional and confident you will seem to your audience.

All the best for a successful 2009!


Ideas and Advice from SlideShare Presentations

SlideShare is a website where users can upload and share their presentations. Some of the presentations uploaded are awful, truly awful. Others are visually great, but without the speaker’s narration, I can’t understand what the slides are trying to tell me. And in with the jumble of stuff are some true gems (or at least, I think they’re gems). Here’s a few I’ve added as favorites to my SlideShare account:

This one was created by ReThink (real name: Oliver Adria) and is about presentation design. The slides are well-done, and the entire presentation can be understood by itself.

Here’s one by jhaustin (real name: Jennifer Austin) with some great tips for improving your presentations.

This one is by chereemoore (real name: Cheree Moore(?)) and I think it either won or was a finalist in SlideShare’s “World’s Best Presentation” contest. Unlike the previous two, it doesn’t specifically teach presentation skills, but its structure and style are worth studying.

So if you haven’t already, go visit SlideShare and make yourself a free account. Browse through the presentations and ask yourself which ones “work” and which ones don’t? Which ones are superb examples of design and which ones should be deleted? And your final question: how do your presentations compare? Do they belong in the “this works” category, or the “this stinks” category?