Present Like Don Draper in 4 Easy Steps

Posted on July 30, 2012 in Public Speaking, Tips & Tricks by Toke Kruse | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , ,

  • SumoMe

By Melissa Darwent

“This is the greatest advertising opportunity since the invention of cereal. We have six identical companies making six identical products. We can say anything we want” Don Draper

So if you haven’t already seen HBO’s mad men, you should watch it immediately, and if you are already a Don Draper fan you should check out this amusing blog we found. At Slideshop we are strong believers that inspiration can come from many sources, even a fictional american series.

In the 1960s world of Don Draper and Mad Men, there were no PCs so you may be wondering why as a PowerPoint company we are talking about Mad Men at all? Well, in fact you can learn a lot from a world with no PCs… You are the center of attention and you cannot rely on a prop like a PowerPoint presentation.

Scary huh? Read on to see the ways you can incorporate the ways the Mad Men perform into your presentation.

Who is this guy and what can we learn from him?

Don Draper is a Partner and the Creative Director of the Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce advertising agency in the hit american HBO series Mad men.

Above all this man has style and originality and doesn’t need much more than one picture to perform a breathtaking presentation. Although it is important to create an aesthetically pleasing PowerPoint presentation, and don’t get me wrong, at Slideshop we love PowerPoint, remember the audience will be looking at you.

4 Things Don Draper would teach us about presenting

1. Believe in your product or message and share your vision


When Don Draper presents about anything you can tell from his body language and the way he speaks that he truly believes in his product. Try and use this in your presentation, if you believe in your product then you are simply transferring that belief on to the audience. That’s one good way to be more convincing. When people are watching you present they are judging you not only by your words, but by your actions, attitude, posture, facial expressions, voice inflections, and more. They are sizing you up to see if you believe what you are saying.

“Advertising is based on one thing: happiness. And do you know what happiness is? Happiness is the smell of a new car. It’s freedom from fear. It’s a billboard on the side of a road that screams with reassurance that whatever you’re doing is OK. You are OK. “ Don Draper


2. Treat the audience like the only people who exist


Your audience’s attention will fade over time unless you take specific steps to keep them engaged. When Don draper is presenting he maintains eye contact with the audience throughout the presentation. Not only does he maintain eye contact to create that connection with his audience, but he conveys confidence with the way he looks at people. He also asks rhetorical questions. Even though he does not want them to be answered it makes the audience think about the topic.

Although in Mad Men the audience tends to be quite small this can still be done with a larger audience. Take turns to keep eye contact with people, this will make them feel special and want to pay attention. You might not be able to have individual eye contact with the whole audience, but you can try your best!

Be aware that your audience’s attention span will vary according to many factors – warmth of the room, time of day, how much sleep they had the night before, how intrinsically interested they are in the topic. One of the topics you definitely can control is the attention you give them!


3. Pay attention to your appearance

Don’t worry, we don’t expect every PowerPoint presenter to look like Don Draper, only in an ideal world. Paying attention to your appearance is not about about looking attractive, it is about looking smart, organised and collected. If you show up to work every day with a wrinkled shirt, uncombed hair or dirty fingernails, it will be noticed. Don draper and the other partners from the series always look pristine and this gives your audience the impression that you are professional and organised.

When it comes to business, you’re a reflection of your company. If you meet with a client  and look like you pay no attention to your appearance, the chances are good that this client will want nothing to do with your corporation.


4. Learn to sell anything

If you can learn to put your enthusiasm and energy into selling anything, then you are going to ace a presentation about your own product or information! Don Draper famously believes that,
“People tell you who they are, but we ignore it – because we want them to be who we want them to be.”

At Slideshop, we hope you can take some inspiration from Don Draper and the series Mad Men and although they don’t use PowerPoint, we think the skills can be directly applied to your presentation.

We found a great clip showing Don Draper in his element . One important thing we learnt from our Mad Men research was to keep things simple, don’t rely on the PowerPoint presentation, use it as your prop. You might want to check out Slideshop’s Simple PowerPoint slides to get back to basics and focus on the presenting.


Over to you – can you think of any other fictional characters we can learn PowerPoint techniques from?



Despite being able to learn many great things from Don Draper, there are several things which we do not recommend you to copy from him.

3 things you should NOT do like Don Draper if you want to improve your PowerPoint skills

    1. Smoking at work – we left that in the 1960’s
    1. Being late – The Mad Men cast arrive at meetings hours late, we do not advise this!
    1. Drinking at work – At times PowerPoint might make you want to turn to the bottle but this is not advised by SlideShop!



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