How do you make a slide presentation engaging? with Brigette Callahan – Ep. 21

Join my friend Brigette Callahan and me, talk about “How do you make a slide presentation engaging?”

Listen to the podcast here:


  • What are some of the biggest mistakes speakers make when making their own slide?

  • How do you improve a poorly designed slide? 

  • What do you do to boost your confidence?

  • Can there be Pros and Cons with slide making?

  • What are the Top 3 tips in turning your audience into raving fans



10:12 – You’re wasting their time because you didn’t put enough thought into your slides to really connect with them, and to match your expertise so that they really understand what you’re saying.

18:28 – Presentations and slides could add that visual component for people who are watching and making a much bigger impact.

27:18 – We got to capture their attention and engage them. We’re not wasting their time, we’re giving them value.

35:176- Always bring a copy of your slide deck with you, because they may not have gotten the email if you sent it to them.

36:25 – Think about just talking to one person and you’re going to come across more engaged, more alive, and more animated when you do it that way. That would be my confidence Ninja trick.


Mostafa Hosseini  0:02 

Hello and welcome to Daily Confidence for Entrepreneurs. My name is Mostafa Hosseini, and I’m your host for the show. At Daily Confidence for Entrepreneurs, our aim and goal is to share tips and actionable advice that you can use daily to boost your confidence when it comes to running your business. 

We are going to be giving away two or three gifts today. You will qualify for the draw and get the gifts, if you like the show on any platform that you’re watching, subscribe, comment, tag a friend that might benefit from the topic that we’re talking about, and ask questions about the topic for today with an amazing guest who is joining me later. This will qualify you to enter the draw for free gifts that we’re giving away. 

There are a couple of ways that we help our tribe and community boost their confidence. We help our community members create their One-Page Marketing Plan in three days or less. We do that through the Simple Marketing Formula that is starting this Friday, October 23rd. 

You still have time to join us if you want to create your One-Page Marketing Plan, hang out with the community, finish the year strong and work in a live environment to bounce ideas, brainstorm, mastermind, and get all the benefits of that. 

I’m going to leave a link to the sign-up page for a Simple Marketing Formula that is coming up this weekend. 

The next thing that we have going on is, we have the Confidence Giveaway coming up on the week of November 16 to November 21, 2020. The aim of the Confidence Giveaway is to provide gifts to entrepreneurs that help them boost their confidence in an area of business. 

We have seven categories available. One is sales and marketing. The other one is speaking. Another one is financing and we got tools and technology and whatnot. There are seven categories that you can contribute to and right now we’re looking for contributors and participants who would like to share gifts with our tribe and community to help them create their list and add more people to the list that you can serve and support so they can finish 2020 strong and start 2021 with a bigger list of people that they can serve and support. 

I’m going to leave the link for you to check the Confidence Giveaway that is coming up. If you want to contribute as a participant and share your gifts, you could do that. 

Today,  I have an amazing guest. My guest is Brigette Callahan. Welcome, Brigette.

Brigette Callahan  2:53 

Hi, Mostafa. Thanks for having me here.

Mostafa Hosseini  2:55 

It’s great to see you. I’m really looking forward to this conversation today. Today on episode 21 of our show, we’re talking about how to make inspiring and engaging PowerPoint slide presentations. 

You can use that to rock the stage and increase your conversions, be happy, and bring more people in to serve and support. Let me do the proper introduction and we’re going to dive right into it.  

Brigette Callahan is a slide presentation designer with 30 plus years of experience creating engaging speeches, presentations, and seminars. 

She has worked with some of the biggest names in the business and industry including Xerox, Acura, Samsung, and PayPal. Those are big names! 

She is on a mission to end the tyranny of boring PowerPoints. I Love that! She is passionate about helping speakers create presentations that engage, inspire their audience, and turn them into raving fans. Welcome, Brigette.

Brigette Callahan  4:08 

Thanks for having me.

Mostafa Hosseini  4:14 

I Love it. I am really looking forward to tapping into your knowledge, experience about presentations, and rocking the stage. Let’s start with your story. What is your story?

How to make an engaging and inspiring slide presentation
The biggest effect that speakers get from having slide presentations is the boost in confidence.

Brigette Callahan  4:25 

Well, once upon a time, I’ll start there. My parents divorced when I was four years old so when I was in fifth grade, we moved to Lincoln, Nebraska. It’s smack dab in the middle of the US and we grew up in California so it was way out of our element. It was hot and the sun stayed up till late. 

How do you go to sleep when the sun’s up? That was my complaint when we had to go to bed, and every day, my experience of my relationship with my stepfather is not very good. I knew that he didn’t like me because he wanted to make me cry every day. 

The game for me was, just to stay out of his way, and not interact with him at all. I didn’t like him either. During this time, I started drawing. I love art and look forward to art class in school every day. Then, I entered this art contest in fifth grade and I really wanted to win to prove that I’m good at this but I lost to this boy in my class. 

I remember my dad didn’t appreciate my drawings. He would say to me, you’ll never make money as an artist. I would go to bed every night hoping that my mother would get back with my real dad. I wanted peace in my family. 

My stepdad was a very successful salesman for locks, doorknobs. That’s why we had to move to Nebraska. He had become this top salesman in the company and would win awards every year. He worked really hard. 

One day, my mom had a dinner party for the top executives of the company, and my dad called me down from my room to meet them. I could smell their cigarette smoke and smell the alcohol on their breath. 

He introduced me to the Vice President of Marketing, saying, you could get a job working for them someday in their art department. I quickly retorted I don’t want to draw doorknobs all day. All of them laughed because they thought it was so funny. I just felt embarrassed and disgusted like, why did you ask me down here, and went back to my room. 

As I grew older, I resisted all attempts of my father’s helping me with my career. I felt like he didn’t really know me and what I wanted to do in my life. In my senior year in high school, we moved to Chicago. My mom really wanted me to stay there after graduating and go to the Art Institute of Chicago but I just wanted to get away from my stepfather and do everything I can to get back to California. 

I went to college in California, I realized that I’m on my own now and have to make it in life. I went to college and majored in art. We always grew up knowing that our college was paid for, from my father’s side and that didn’t happen. I had to get a job. I had to work full time in college and was on the five-year plan but I was committed to finish college, get my degree, and be successful. 

My first job out of college, three weeks after graduating, was working for a Vice President of an Automotive Aftermarket Company. I studied Fine Arts, but I learned commercial art through the jobs. 

After two years there, I moved to San Diego and got a job at a multimedia company and that’s where I was exposed to creating slides. That job was amazing because it felt like I was working in Hollywood. We’re in San Diego, but we produced the film, created slides, video, custom music, professional voice overs, and even had two photographers on staff. 

Fast forward 15 years from that, having worked for multiple companies in their art department, I finally started my own graphic design company. I had just bought my first home five years before that and I owned a new car. The pressure’s on, I got to make this work. I was doing well, enjoyed my career, pushed really hard to make it in life, and proved to my stepfather that I can make money as an artist. 

Twenty years after starting my business, I had purchased two more investment properties. My business thrived through all the ups and downs of the economy, including 911. 

My stepfather passed away 27 years ago, but I think I finally proved my point, I can relax. I realized looking back now, my mom wanted me to go to art school there because my stepfather was going to support it but I didn’t see it that way. 

Looking back, I see he was a scout, successful business person that he really led me to believe I can do it myself. He would work hard and took pride in his work and that gave me a big example. 

What I am today is a person who loves working with sales and marketing executives because I know their world. I help them by creating expert presentations that communicate clearly to their customers so they can see the true benefits of the product and see how it can help them. I know their home life because I lived it and know how committed and passionate they are to their work so I appreciate their commitment to their door knobs.

Also, I know how I can be a part of their success so I realized finally that my stepdad really did care for me and was doing what he could to open doors for me so that’s where I am today.

Mostafa Hosseini  9:48 

Very interesting. I love that story.

Brigette Callahan  9:54 

First time I shared it. You’re the first one.

All you have to do is just tell your story and the visuals will trigger that part of the story.

Mostafa Hosseini  10:05 

You specialize in working with executives. What is it that you do now?

Brigette Callahan  10:12 

My commitment is to the audience having a great experience. I’ve worked many live events for the last 30 years, running their computers and making sure the speaker slides are up to date. If they’d want to make last-minute changes before they hit the stage, I’d be there. 

A lot of times, I didn’t have a chance to design their slides. They were just coming in with their own slide so I saw reactions of the audience when poor slides are put up on the screen. These are big events, they put millions of dollars into these events, giant screens, all kinds of collateral, and hundreds of people in the audience. 

It startled me how little they put attention to what goes on the slide, and what the people are seeing. I would say maybe 5% of all the shows I’ve seen were good. The rest are terrible so can you imagine compounding all that time those people sat in the audience, and how their time was wasted? 

I mean, it’s like if you’re a speaker, and you didn’t put much thought into your slides, count how many people you’re speaking to and count how many minutes you’re wasting their time because you didn’t put enough thought into your slides to really connect with them, and to match your expertise so that they really understand what you’re saying. 

There are speakers out there that don’t use slides and I’m not a proponent of that. You don’t need slides, go ahead, speak. I’ve seen a lot of great speakers speak. They don’t need slides. When do you need slides? When would that visual help the audience to communicate or to remember what you’re saying is what I see? 

Mostafa Hosseini  11:51 

I’d be one of those guys. Before I met you, I would try to make my slides. I didn’t even know someone who would professionally design slides for people. I thought it was a do-it-yourself thing.

Brigette Callahan  12:07 

I think everybody thinks that and that’s a sad thing.

Mostafa Hosseini  12:12 

I’m part of the smart-ass crowd and do it out myself. But you guys redid our slides for my event, and you guys did a great job which we’ll talk more about. How did you get into this presentation and the slide thing specifically, because you were working in the background with the technology? How did you decide to specialize in slides?

Brigette Callahan  12:42 

Well, my second job out of college was working at this multimedia company and I was hired as a graphic designer to assist the art director. He was the storyboard artist, he made sure that all the stories of the slides in the presentations of the events that they were creating, made sense. It was very much Hollywood. I mean, he did storyboards, just like Hollywood. 

My job was to make sure all of his storyboards came to life. Back in those days, there were no computers. We had to ink, draw, typeset, and all this kind of stuff. 

It was fascinating because one of the first jobs he gave me was a globe. He handed me a globe, and said, I want you to paint the water white, the land black, and bring it back Monday because it was Friday. I said, okay. It was the days of MTV when MTV first came out and I was just watching it all weekend painting this globe. 

I come back Monday, and he goes, did you paint the globe? I said, yes, here it is. He goes, perfect. Take this down to the photo studio. I walked down there, and asked, “Do you have a photo studio? I just started working there and I didn’t know how they worked so I didn’t know what they did. The photographer was there and he stuck the globe on a pedestal thing. He rotated it 12 times, two pictures, then still pictures, 12 times. 

They sent that film to the Marin Carroll department which was in the house. They colorized it and masked it. A few days later, we were working in our office and I heard this loud music. I asked my art director, what’s that? He says they’re programming the show. Why don’t you go back there and check it out? I said you have a theater? 

They have this theater for the clients to view the work and they were programming on rudimentary computers, like ones and zeros basically. Think of slide projectors and the carousels, a 35-millimeter slide and you’d have, I think, between nine and 18 per stack of projectors on each of these stacks. 

He had three stacks, so two slides next to each other, the third one overlapping, and they had to have blended in it. It was a widescreen. I’ll put in a lot of work to get to it and think of slide cycles in two seconds so these computers could program all these things to go off.  There was animation and motion. 

I go in there and I hear the sound of the music, and it’s dark. It’s for the NCR- National Cash Register. All of a sudden, I see my globe slowly rotating, the blue, the green, and the lights. I feel like I’m at Disneyland or something. That’s what hooked me to be able to create artwork that could be on that screen and has such an impact.

How to make an engaging and inspiring slide presentation
Your commitment is to the audience having a great experience.

Mostafa Hosseini  15:21 

That is amazing. You’re a great storyteller. One thing that I’ve been working on last week, and this week, was watching and listening to how to become a better storyteller. Knowing how to tell a story through your presentation, which we’re going to talk about, would be a key component. Would you agree?

Brigette Callahan  15:49 

Absolutely. I did a show for the former CFO of Microsoft. He was a business coach, and his coach referred me. He was talking to CFO types at Silicon Valley and the story was about how finance doesn’t get along with sales. 

Everyone wants to be the hero so what finance does is they generate these quarterly reports, then throw them at sales and say, deal with it. 

He had an underlying word for him while he was at Microsoft, and noticed this report that said, no one is renewing the software. He took that report and walked over to sales, saying you need to call every person on this list and find out why they didn’t renew and have them renew.

In three months, they made $10 million, just from that little guy walking over there and saying, hey. His talk was about, we all can’t be the hero, the salesmen are the hero as they’re on the front lines. They’re out there, foot to ground, and doing the work. We’re the mentors. You have to mentor them, you have to guide them. 

He overlapped it in the story of Star Wars, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Luke Skywalker. When he was telling me the story the visuals were like, Oh my god, I love this. When I finished the show, I thought it was some of my best work. It’s very Hollywood, just all visuals. 

I handed it to him and I never met him in person. It was all through the phone and he goes, how do I present this? He’s from Microsoft. He wants bullets. What was amazing about him is he gave me his whole script almost verbatim. He didn’t have to read it, he just recited it, and knew every bit of that story. 

I said, all you have to do is just tell your story and the visuals will trigger that part of the story. That’s like the cheat notes, you don’t have to have words on a slide for people to know what you’re going to talk about next. 

Think of them as like watching a movie or watching TV. You don’t see a lot of texts on TV unless you’re watching the news, you see statistics but it’s the pictures that speak 1000 words. 

When you tie the story to the picture, they’re going to remember so much more and they’re going to walk away, going “Well, I learned a lot today. I’m going to share this. I’m going to tell people, or I’m going to do something about this.” We’re getting into action because of your talk and how you married your talk to some great visuals.

Mostafa Hosseini  18:28 

I love the fact that presentations and slides could add that visual component for people who are watching and make a much bigger impact because if I just stand there and blab, I’d be missing the visual connection. If somebody is visual and not auditory, then I would miss that person.

Brigette Callahan  18:57 

Remember when we did your slide for your hot seat? I actually sent you a couple of concepts of hot seats. He says let’s not use it. Let’s just use the slide I have and it was just the word hot seat. I said no, we have to have a hot seat and I put that in there. 

Now it has become my favorite slide. We don’t have it now but I’ll describe it for you verbally. It was this very comfortable dark red big leather chair you could sink in and it’s in the middle of a dry desert. You see mountains in the background with clouds. 

It looked ominous but that chair looked really comfortable so it was like a hot seat. I’ll sit in that hot seat, it looks comfortable but I’m a little nervous. It really conveyed the feeling of what’s available for them.

Mostafa Hosseini  19:44 

You know what? I’m going to show a before and after later. When you guys did a hot seat, it looked much better and I was proud of that hot seat actually. 

When I have strong visuals when I’m presenting, it just helps me boost my confidence when I have a more solid presentation behind me that I am more proud of, it just has that effect.

Brigette Callahan  20:24 

The biggest effect like the blind effect that speakers get is that boost in confidence. One of my clients was so scared of the stage, but she knew her work really well. She knew that it was valuable. 

When we worked together, she stood on stage, she was proud and she was great. I’m going to show my slides, I can’t wait till they see my slides because they’re going to see me and they’re going to see my work. They’re going to really understand what I do for them, and I increased their credibility by helping them write their book and all this kind of stuff. 

She had to sell a product from the stage and she was only allowed 30 minutes to sell a $2,000 product, which was not by choice, they demanded that which is unheard of in the speak to sell model. It was successful. She had to rush to the back of the room and in 30 minutes made $75,000.

We got to capture their attention and engage them. We're not wasting their time, we're giving them value.

Mostafa Hosseini  21:17 

Gang, here is the hot seat. It’s called Mostafa’s hot seat. With that, we went from a word that just said hot seat to this amazing visual, that people say, I want to take that. It’s actually comfy. It makes a huge difference.

Brigette Callahan  21:45 

It’s how we curate and find these images for you. It’s not like, that’s an image that you find in Microsoft, or when you Google it. We work with a lot of different photo banks. We do this all the time and this is like our superpower to find images that match the story you’re telling. 

In some cases, some clients don’t like the images or don’t relate to them, we’ll find other images, but for the most part, people are wowed. It’s like, wow, that makes total sense. I never saw it that way. 

I’m your audience, when you’re speaking, I want to make sure that all the best of you is coming out so that I can hear it, I can react to it, and I can do something with it

Mostafa Hosseini  22:31 

Can I share my experience? What happened was, when I made PowerPoint slides, the version before that we have here was a bunch of words that I made with some bullet points. When I’m presenting and when I’m teaching, I would just burn through the text, and talk about it. 

Brigette and her team came in and added visuals, colors, and that feminine touch which helped me connect with my audience a lot better, both visually and auditory. I was more confident. 

It was actually quite good so if you haven’t worked with Brigette, I would strongly suggest you reach out to her. 

For those of you who are joining us later or watching or listening. My guest  is a Presentation Slide Master. She has been at this game for the past 30 years and they specialize in helping speakers, authors, CEOs, entrepreneurs, design their slides for better conversion and better engagement. That’s basically the topic that we’re talking about. 

For those of you who are watching and listening, if you like, comment, tag a friend and ask a question, you enter your name for the draw. Brigette is giving away her gift. 

I am going to give away a VIP ticket to Simple Marketing Formula that’s starting this Friday and I’m going to give away a general ticket for the Confidence Giveaway that’s coming up in November. If you like any of those, if that resonates with you, you might want to start engaging while we’re talking. 

What are some of the biggest mistakes that speakers make when designing their slides?

Brigette Callahan  24:16 

Number one is, they don’t create an outcome. 

Merlin the magician, lived from the future so he had the future of what he wanted. He created the future and then he lived into it. 

I work with speakers, I say, let’s create a future. What do you want to happen when you walk off the stage? They don’t really know how to answer that. 

I’ll tell them, I’ll ask them. I say what do you want, a line at the end of the stage If people want to ask you the questions? That would be cool or do you want to rush to the back of the room where they buy your book or product? Well, that would be cool too. Maybe they call you later because they loved your talk and they want to work with you? That would be nice. Consider what results you want. 

You know a lot of people get nervous and they go on stage but the first thing they want to do is to get off the stage. This is an opportunity you’re running away from so that’s one of the biggest mistakes. They don’t create an outcome. 

Then from that outcome, you want to close the gap of where you are, and have that outcome happen. You want to look at your slides, the last thing you want to do is open PowerPoint, start creating your slides. That’s what everyone does. They think I got to create a talk, I’ll just start with PowerPoint. 

My suggestion is to use Post-it notes and just write general subjects or topics. I want to talk about these three ideas. From these three ideas, they’re going to have this resolution or something. Then from there, you can start outlining it. You can even outline it in Word, you don’t have to go into PowerPoint But I think what happens is, people go into PowerPoint. They just start creating the first slide and the second sign-in, then they are too deep into the weeds. They’re not looking from far up, saying, this is how the whole talk works. 

If you understand storytelling, there are these ebbs and flows. I can’t think of the exact terminology right now, but it’s like the suspense and the resolution and that kind of stuff. You want to make sure that you adhere to that because that’s what’s going to engage your audience. I call this creating the Hollywood effects. 

When someone is on stage and a slideshow is about to be presented, we just have this little inkling it’s going to be like television or a movie, it’s going to be great. Nine times out of 10, we’re disappointed. 

The Hollywood effect creates a wow experience. I have grown up loving art. I love TV and I love how animations happen on television. 

This morning, I was ogling over some animations they’re using on the Today Show to bring in some statistics and stuff and just noting, I could do that in PowerPoint but our attention span is so small nowadays. Ours is seven seconds, a goldfish is eight seconds. How do you rank? 

We got to capture their attention and engage them. We’re not wasting their time, we’re giving them value. Whether they hook up with us later or not, we want to leave them with something to remember and something to feel like, I appreciate what they shared. I’m glad I came.

Mostafa Hosseini  27:38 

Love it. What were the top mistakes again? One was creating an outcome which I, which I absolutely love. I’m a big avid fan of creating the goal first, then designing your way there. That’s like poetry to my ears. What was the second one? 

Brigette Callahan  27:55 

Look at your talk as the topics first. Most people just go right into PowerPoint, start creating slides, thinking that’s going to create their talk. Do you actually want to outline your talk like what are your talking points? What are you going to say? 

I think that’s why so many slides look like bullet points because they’re creating the outline of their talk and that’s what they’ll project. What I would do is, create your outline for every talk and then storyboard it.

Mostafa Hosseini  28:23 

You would put the topics in there then you would add details under each topic? Is that what you mean?

Brigette Callahan  28:28 

Right. If you’re outlining in Word or something like that, you got your main topics, so I want to talk about this for 10 minutes, and this for five minutes, but I need to go deeper on this. 

It’s going to be like a story. You want to tell it in a story format, share some examples, share some tension about it, and not just like, here are the numbers. We did well last quarter, and we’re going to keep doing good. Where is the drama in that?

Mostafa Hosseini  29:06 

What is your tip for designing your slides for your audience?

I’m not designing the slides for myself. I need it for the audience.

Brigette Callahan  29:17 

Well, you have to designate who your audience are, the young kids, older adults, or middle age? Are they men or women all over? There are certain appeals that the younger generation likes to do. 

I remember growing up, I will always love current music. You know how our parents hated rock and roll. I was like, how can you hate rock and roll? When rap came around, I say, now I get it. If you had a rap song, it wouldn’t appeal to me. 

You want to know who your audience is and what appeals to them and 65% of all people are visual learners. You’re not going to go wrong with visually appealing slides. 

What I would do is become a little amateur artist and watch. When you watch television, ask yourself, what are they showing here? Why did they show that image? They’re talking about this? That was a cool image that they showed and that really made sense why they picked that. Then you can go back and look at your topics, I’m talking about this but if it was a Hollywood movie, how would they put it together? How would I describe this a little bit differently so it doesn’t have to look like just a bunch of bullets?

Mostafa Hosseini  30:36 

Love it. I think you would go even into more detail about matching the colors to your audience, maybe some of the vocabulary that you’re using on your slides, and images so it matches. Much like what you guys did for us? 

Brigette Callahan  30:54 

Yes. What’s cool about PowerPoint is, when you produce your slides in the correct way, it’s very easy to change the colors. Let’s say, I’ve been using this background for three months, I can change it. I don’t want to do blue anymore so let’s do green, or let’s do purple. If you’ve set up your slides correctly, you can change that in a matter of minutes.

Mostafa Hosseini  31:18 

You could do it in minutes, but probably not me. Well, I try to change something around and the whole structure gets all messed up.

Brigette Callahan  31:36 

Play, by the way. 

Mostafa Hosseini  31:40 

How do you go about improving a poorly designed slide? 

Brigette Callahan  31:44 

If I was doing it for a client? 

Mostafa Hosseini  31:47 

What does your process look like?

Brigette Callahan  31:50 

We’ll have an intake meeting where we’ll go over their slides, and we’ll talk about their content and stuff like what is your outcome? Then I’ll make some critiques about how their client’s slides are currently, and I’ll give them some ideas of where we want to go with it because I want to give them a visual. 

I don’t want to just show them something of a surprise then they will not like it. I have to find out from them. Well, what do you like? 

A lot of times, they say I like it on a white background. I said, do you know what happens to the audience, when all your slides are on a white background? It puts them to sleep. 

Why is that? Well, when we look at projected light, like television, our eyes go to the white. Our eyes go to the light so you don’t see a lot of white in movies. 

Think about it when you go to the theater, you’re about to watch the movie, you’ve seen all the trailers and now the movie starts but they haven’t turned the lights off yet. Someone forgot to turn the lights off and the movie is starting and still, no one turns the lights off, you get really upset. It’s because you can’t focus on the movie because there are lights there. 

That’s the same as what a white background does. You’ll notice it when I have a webinar that I teach. I show them the before and the after. I say, after this webinar, you’ll never look at slides the same again because you’re going to have distinctions that tell you how your brain works, and how you visually walk through a slide. 

I think everyone who designed slides should understand that, where’s my eye going? What do I want them to see? What do I want them to focus on? 

Like these doctors, they put these graphs up, these charts and stuff that have so many numbers, you can’t see any of them. Then they pull out their little laser pointer to point and circle on this little dot thinking that they can see the number. 

There are so many better ways to show that information. I don’t understand why they keep doing that but they don’t know just like you, they think I can figure this out myself.

Mostafa Hosseini  33:49 

Yes. There are a lot of smart asses like me around. We talked about slide and no slide earlier. I think a no slide approach would be for a professional public speaker. You got to know how to manage the crowd and deliver that whole thing without a slide.

Let’s talk about the pros and cons of slides and no slides.

Brigette Callahan  34:17 

I think everyone should be prepared to deliver their talk without slides because what if there was a technical issue? What if we had our keynote speaker whom you’re paying big bucks to be on stage and the lights went out in the whole city? 

We were in Phoenix, and he just kept talking. His mic stopped working, but he projected because he was a professional, he just kept talking and engaging them. It quieted them down because everyone’s nervous. 

It’s pitch dark, they’re in a big rainstorm so we opened up the side door so some light could come in from the daylight. They had the screens back up within 10 minutes, but he made a pretty scary experience, like a blip in the continuum.  

If you had to deliver your talk without slides, how would you do it? Be prepared for it. Maybe you have three by five cards to bring with you if you need them. Always bring a copy of your slide deck with you, because they may not have gotten the email if you sent it to them. 

So, the pros and cons of slides, if your slides say everything that you’re going to say, then get off the stage and just show your slides. 

I look at a slide deck and I know it’s a great slide deck when I don’t know what they’re talking about because then I need you on stage to talk about it.

Mostafa Hosseini  35:39 

That’s actually great practice for presenting on stage to go without the slide because you would have to get more emotional and visual. You would have to use your body language, and your tone of voice which if combined with your slides would become much more powerful on any stage.

Brigette Callahan  36:08 

My quick tip is we’re just talking to each other. We’re not talking to 1000s of people, although there might be 1000s watching, we’re just talking to me and you. So when you get on stage, and there are 200 people in the audience, just talk to one person. 

You have to stare at that person the whole time. Think about just talking to one person and you’re going to come across as more engaged, more alive, and more animated when you do it that way. That would be my confidence Ninja trick.

Mostafa Hosseini  36:39 

Would you say try to find someone that looks like your ideal customer or ideal prospect and talk to that person? Let’s say I find a person that looks like Stephanie, my dear client in the back of the room, I say, Yes. I’m going to talk to her.

Brigette Callahan  37:00 

Whatever works for you. You created a future when you finished your presentation, and what you want to happen afterward. You’re talking to that future. 

What I mean by that is, you have to be present to the one listening in the room. What are they listening for? What are they expecting? A lot of people don’t even get that far. 

That’s why 30 years in the back of the room, made me very acute to the listening of the room. When you sense that listening and someone just does a verbal fart, excuse my French, it’s like, that didn’t work. 

Mostafa Hosseini  37:39 

Exactly. I love what we’re talking about here because public speaking is people’s number one fear even above death. Most people would rather die than speak in front of a crowd. 

What Brigette is sharing here is some amazing tips on how to pull that off and become more confident. 

What are some of your tips on turning your audience into raving fans?

Brigette Callahan  38:10 

Connect with them. Well, a lot of people will go on stage and start their talk with please excuse my slides I was working on until midnight last night. Even if that was true, don’t ever say that even if your slides are bad. Don’t seal the deal that you didn’t care about them.

That’s what it basically says and in the unsaid of what you’re communicating or just say, thank you so much for having me be on your stage. I really appreciate it. 

Who cares? When I go on stage, I look around. I wait for a minute, I pause and then I say raise your hand if you’ve ever experienced the boring slide presentation? They give a little chuckle and they all raise their hand. Yes, we all have. 

It’s finding that way to get them to look at you and get them engaged to you. It’s all about them and what you’re giving them. Not about you and how great you are. 

You have to give a little validity to why you do this but you really want to make sure you’re focusing primarily on them and their years and what’s benefiting them.

Mostafa Hosseini  39:22 

What else could be done to turn them into raving fans so that they will go around, talk about you, and say, this amazing person showed up and did really well with her talk? You should really go talk to Brigette.

Brigette Callahan  39:37 

Well, that’s easy. Just come hire me. I’ll make sure they are your raving fans.

How to make an engaging and inspiring slide presentation
Top 5 Secrets to Create Compelling Slides that Engage

Mostafa Hosseini  39:46 

For a small fee, she will turn them into raving fans for you. 

Brigette Callahan  39:51 

One of my clients shows his deck. It’s all pictures and people are just amazed. Where do you get those slides? He always tells them who did it and they go, what template did you use? It’s not about a template. 

It’s about really engaging you in finding what’s the right image for that moment of the story and when you can marry that, again, it’s like a storyboard of a Hollywood movie. That’s what we’re putting together and it’s going to be completely different than what they’ve seen before. 

If you’re speaking on stage with other speakers, you’re going to win the day. You’re definitely going to win the award for best presentations. I’ve heard other speakers come up and say that it was a really great presentation. Who did your slides? They never call me, but they just find out who did your slides because I think people still feel they have to do their own slides.

Mostafa Hosseini  40:41 

If you’re a speaker, an entrepreneur, or presenting and running courses, delegating that piece, and having Brigette’s team update your slides to make them look good is like a breath of fresh air. 

It’s like getting a mountain off your shoulder. I’ve gone through that and it feels great. 

Now, Brigette, I understand that you’ve got a gift for us. Tell us about that, please.

Brigette Callahan  41:15 

It’s called Rise Above the Rest. It’s a mini video training series that I offered which walks you through how to design slides that really engage with your audience. It shows how I put a video in my slides. 

How do I find good pictures and how do I get my template to have my logo in it? It addresses all those things. It’s not training for how to use PowerPoint but training for how to create engaging slides. Even if you don’t use PowerPoint and you use some other software, you’ll still learn from it.

Mostafa Hosseini  41:50 

Gang, those of you who are watching and listening, I left the link here in the comments on the show. If you’re watching live, it is in the comment and for listening to us later, you can access it here at on our website. 

Then you will just log in and get access to her gift, which is a generous gift for her to show us how this is all done, and how to do the different pieces on PowerPoint. It’s complicated software. There are so many different pieces. Sometimes when I look, I’m like, what do I need to do here? Maybe I should call  and ask. I actually do call her sometimes.

Brigette Callahan  42:35 

I always answer you.

Mostafa Hosseini  42:39 

Yes, she is good. Go out there and take advantage of this amazing offer. An amazing gift that she’s given away. So you become better at creating and designing your PowerPoint slides and create better engaging presentations or sales presentations or whatever type of presentations that you’re doing for you and your audience. What do you do for fun?

Brigette Callahan  43:06 

Well, most people don’t know this but I’m a black belt in Shotokan Karate and I’ve been practicing since 1985 so what you see behind me are my three diplomas or certificates of black belt. 

What I love about it, first of all, the guys are really cute so that’s what keeps me coming back but it’s just such a great philosophy.

Well, most people don’t know this but I’m a black belt in Shotokan Karate and I’ve been practicing since 1985 so what you see behind me are my three diplomas or certificates of black belt. What I love about it, first of all, the guys are really cute so that’s what keeps me coming back but it’s just such a great philosophy and it’s great training. 

It’s really helped me in my work because when you’re working backstage and we’re about to go live, there’s a lot of tension and there’s a lot of things that can go wrong. If you can’t keep a cool head, you’re not going to be successful

I’ve worked for producers that never worked with me before and they would be scared because some graphic designers that work backstage don’t relate to clients very well. 

A client comes back and says, I need to make a change to my slides. The designer says, No. I can’t help. I just tell the producer that the more chaos there is, the calmer I get. The client replies that’s why we hired you because that’s what I learned in martial arts is you’re up against a situation that could be life-threatening. You want to be completely calm so you can assess the situation and know what to do.

Mostafa Hosseini  44:17 

That is amazing. What is the line again? The more chaotic it gets…

Brigette Callahan  44:25 

The more chaos there is the calmer I get.

Mostafa Hosseini  44:29 

Love that.

Brigette Callahan    44:32 

I was super calm. I was just watching. I remember I drove to a friend’s house like two weeks later, late March. There’s no one on the roads. The streets are completely empty. It’s three in the afternoon on a weekday. This is strange but we’ll get through this. 

Mostafa Hosseini  44:52 

If you’re running a show, running an event, or running a boot camp, and it’s your first time so you’re uncomfortable because you don’t have everything sorted out, you definitely need someone that could come in and calm you down. Someone who would say, we got this, why don’t you just go prepare for your talk and we take care of the rest? Can you say that one more time? The more…

Brigette Callahan  45:27 

The more chaos there is the calmer I get.

Mostafa Hosseini  45:35 

We’ll leave it at that. The more chaos there is, the calmer I get. I’m going to display this because I love it.


If the thought has come to your mind, it's proof that you can do it. Otherwise, if you were not capable of doing it, you probably wouldn't think about it.”

Brigette Callahan  45:53 

Anyone who’s practiced martial arts knows what I’m talking about. They can relate to that.

Mostafa Hosseini  45:59 

I think anyone that runs a business should relate to that.

Brigette Callahan  46:03 

I’m running scared as I go.

Mostafa Hosseini  46:10 

Business is somewhat like martial arts. It gets chaotic and if you lose your mind, you can’t fix the problems.

Brigette Callahan  46:19 

The thing with business though, is there’s no practice like we go into the dojo and we practice kicks, punches, and blocks the same thing every day. After a while, you think I’ve been doing this for six months. Why are we still doing this? Well, I’ve been doing it for 35 years and we still do the same thing so it’s not about doing the same thing. 

It’s about peeling the layers of that onion, going deeper and seeing, imagining that opponent. What am I going to do? Where’s my mind going to be? You have to really, practice imagining you’re going to punch this guy, you’re going to block him and he’s two feet taller than you. 

When you practice that mentality over and over again, it’s a no-brainer but in business, we don’t have a practice of mentality. We’re just going in like the fire’s hot. We just got to take care of it. And that at least that’s my experience.

Mostafa Hosseini  47:11 

For sure. I just made a mental note to never piss you off if I’m around you.

Brigette Callahan  47:24 

If you’re pissed off, I just disappear because we always learn to never start a fight. 

Mostafa Hosseini  47:31 

Maybe I’m not. I don’t want to really piss you off because of a couple of those techniques on me… 

Brigette Callahan  47:38 

I don’t think you’ll ever face that.

Brigette Callahan  47:53 

I’m not a reader. If you saw my library, I have a ton of books. I asked my mom one day, why do I have so many books? It’s for reference because she knows I don’t read. I have never been diagnosed with dyslexia, but I think I have perplexia because when I start reading, it just doesn’t work. For me, listening to or seeing a movie is much better.

Mostafa Hosseini  48:13 

What do you recommend listening to? Do you listen to podcasts? What would you recommend?

Brigette Callahan  48:19 

I’m always listening to stuff within my industry, a couple of podcasts about business, graphic design, presentations, and how to speak. 

There are podcasts out there that help you with your confidence and make you see a different way from these professional speakers. A lot of professional speakers out there are sharing their secrets.

Mostafa Hosseini  48:45 

Do you have one favorite resource for speaking or that you should listen to this one video on YouTube or you’re going to listen to this podcast?

Brigette Callahan  48:55 

I haven’t curated anything like that but my idol in the whole business is Spelled as D-U-A-R-T-E.Com. They have been doing what I do longer than me. 

Then they were in Silicon Valley when computers came out and started doing slides for them. They do all the story content and they have some great content. 

I’ve got all Nancy Duarte’s books on presentation so I definitely recommend it if you really want to get deep into how I can be really effective with my presentation, whether it’s designing it or speaking it or designing what you’re saying.

Mostafa Hosseini  49:40 

Love it. How do you spell that again?

Brigette Callahan    49:43

Mostafa Hosseini  49:49 

These guys, What do they do again?

Brigette Callahan  49:54 

This is one of her books. Slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations 

Mostafa Hosseini  50:02 

Brigette Callahan  50:05 

Slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations.

There you go. I don’t need to write a book, she wrote it. There are other people like me that do this, but because we work backstage, we’re behind the black curtain, no one knows us, and we’re all wearing black, we have to hide. 

We can’t tell people what we do, because a lot of times we’re contract workers. We can’t tell people that we do this all the time or try to elicit business from the client because the producer hired us. So, we’re shy and introverted. 

For me to come out and talk on the show and do this, I had to really, assume a throne, so to speak, of that presentation design expert, because there are a lot of them out there. They just don’t market themselves but I see them and we work together. I learned from them. 

There is another one. I can’t think of his name right now but I do follow them. In fact, I’m a member of their site. I’ll have to post it somewhere for you.

How to make an engaging and inspiring slide presentation
Practice in the mirror and give your talk.

Mostafa Hosseini  51:10 

Facebook post? Well , if you had a Facebook ad that everyone on the planet would see, what would your message be?

Brigette Callahan 

You can do it. 

Mostafa Hosseini 

That is awesome. What’s the story behind that?

Brigette Callahan  51:40 

What’s the story behind that? Just like we all can have confidence, it’s in us, and you want to just look back, when was that time where you felt the most confident, like for me, winning a soccer game when I was younger, or winning in an international karate tournament, it’s like I was on top of the world. I was confident and I knew I could do it and everything in my bones said, I can do it. 

When you can get yourself in that state, you can do anything, you can walk on stage, and be nervous but still present and do well. Face yourself forward to those scary things. And you’ll get prepared.

Mostafa Hosseini  52:24 

I think it could have been Bob Proctor or someone else that said, if the thought has come to your mind, it’s proof that you can do it. Otherwise, if you were not capable of doing it, you probably wouldn’t think about it. Take that for another tip.

Brigette Callahan  52:49 

Well, that’s how Olympians rehearse their routine over and over again in their head. I’m doing it like on the big diving board. They’re doing their near twirls and stuff before they actually jump. They’re getting it in their bones and in their muscle memory. 

You could do the same thing with speaking. That’s why they call it Mirror Practice, where you practice in the mirror and give your talk, and is the mirror enrolled in what you’re saying? 

These are some practices and techniques that professional speakers do. I’ve caught professional speakers talking in the mirror in the bathroom, getting ready for their talk, so it’s not just for beginners.

Mostafa Hosseini  53:26 

I would take that as a ninja trick for becoming more confident. Do you have any other ninja tricks for becoming more confident on stage?

Brigette Callahan  53:39 

I have a committed buddy that you could call, just to pump you up or if you have a concern or something, you can just dump your concern onto them, let them swallow it up and deal with it and you can let it go.

I think that helps me a lot. It helps me get out of my head and be present to whatever I’m committed to, like you go into a big negotiating meeting, and you’ve been thinking about it for a couple of weeks. It’s like hit or miss. 

What if you could create a different way of going in there and having fun. You’re going for the gold you want to win but it’s liquid. You got to just roll with how it goes and just have confidence in that.

Mostafa Hosseini  54:23 

I heard Dan Kennedy is one of the famous guys in the speaking world and he’s a writer. He was saying that to pump himself up, he would listen to his favorite music on his way to the event. 

Music would pump him up and he would listen to it probably 12 times by the time he got there but then when he did, he was mentally ready. That was his own trick to get there. 

Brigette Callahan  54:48  

I don’t know if I have a trick like that. It’s just being prepared and I guess standing in the outcome before we even start. Did that with this talk today. I saw past the ending, and I thought it was going to be great. Don’t have notes of what I’m saying. I love how organic this is. You ask me questions, and I respond. It’s just like you and I are sitting on the couch in my living room. 

Mostafa Hosseini  55:16 

Having a friendly conversation. It almost always comes out better when it’s not scripted and when it’s natural and organic.

Brigette Callahan  55:26 

The more you do it, the better you get. That’s why I’ve been doing it live on Facebook, as well. Having people on my shell for my Facebook just to get to know them, to share them with my audience, really get interested in what they’re doing, and asking the questions. It gets me to be a better storyteller too.

Mostafa Hosseini  55:46 

Absolutely. I think I compared that to jumping off a diving board. The first time when you’re jumping off, you look at the water, and the three meters look like 300 meters but as soon as you dive for the first time, you say, that was easy. That wasn’t bad. Then you get used to it. 

Like the first time, a few years ago, I was trying to go live on Facebook. I’m okay being live in front of a crowd but going live.

Brigette Callahan  57:04 

My email is Feel free to send me a message. If you’re brave, and you want it, sign up for one of my free slide reviews. It’s 20 minutes, you’ll send me your slides, and we’ll go over them and I’ll give you feedback. There’s no cost and there is no pitch. It’s just offering an opportunity for you to make your slides better for your audience.

Mostafa Hosseini  57:35 

That is another amazing generous offer, Gang. For those of you who are watching our lesson or listening, Brigitte just shared another gift: if you email her at and send her your slides, she’ll give you a 20-minute complimentary slot review. I would say that’s at least a $500 value for you to just get feedback on how to improve it. Then take it from there.

Brigette Callahan  58:06 

Design expert singular, not plural.

Mostafa Hosseini  58:10 

There’s no S after the end. Okay. Thanks for clarifying, and anything else that you’d like to mention or talk about before we wrap up.

Brigette Callahan  58:20 

If you opt into my gift that we sent you the link earlier, I’m also doing an Office Hour once a month. So if you get on that list, we’ll send you the link to get it. We usually do it towards the end of the month, the last Monday or Tuesday of the month. You can bring any questions you have about slides, and I’ll answer them live for you. 

If you want to set up, send me a couple of slides beforehand or even share your screen so we could talk about that. It’s really just office hours, it goes 90-minutes. 

A lot of people come and they don’t have any questions. They don’t know what to ask and just want to see and that’s fine too. 

I don’t mind looky-loos because you’re learning and I’m always teaching something because I’m standing for your audience. I’m representing your audience. I want to make sure that they get the best of you.

Mostafa Hosseini  59:15 

Very generous. If you have any questions about PowerPoint presentations and how to make things happen, show up on her monthly Q&A, call or take her up on her 20-minute slide review offer. Send her an email at and send her your slides. They’ll do a review and get on a call with you to give you feedback on how you can improve your presentation. 

Brigette, this has been an amazing conversation. I feel we could easily go on for another two hours and if we have a few things to do, I’d probably do that. Thank you for the generous offers and the gifts. 

Gang, if you need help with your presentations do reach out. She is really amazing and she’s got a pretty good team behind her as well. Thank you for joining us. 

Like I mentioned earlier, we will do a draw today. I’m giving away a VIP ticket to Simple Marketing Formula starting this Friday, October 23rd. Also, I’m giving away a general ticket to the Confidence Giveaway on top of a ton of value that just gave away. 

I feel this has been a very rich episode in terms of gifts and content. 

Again, the Simple Marketing Formula is starting this Friday, October 23rd. Look for the link in the show comments. We’re doing the Confidence Giveaway in November on the week of November 16 where your gift would help entrepreneurs boost their confidence in an area of business. 

To learn more about that, visit For you to enter the draw for the gifts, Like, Subscribe, Comment, Tag a friend and ask questions. If you rate our podcast on Apple, Google, or Spotify, you enter the draw for the gifts that we just talked about. Thank you for joining Daily Confidence for Entrepreneurs. My name is Mostafa Hosseini, and I hope you have an amazing week. See you in our next episode. Bye



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