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5 Brain Hacks For Generating Presentation Ideas

by Adam Noar

 Presentation Ideas - 5 Brain Hacks For Generating Presentation Ideas

Stunning slide presentations usually require a bit of creativity.

However, coming up with creative presentation ideas can be a real challenge sometimes

… even for professional presentation designers.

If you find you’re getting stuck, here are five essential “brain hacks” to get those creative juices flowing again.

1. Exercise

It’s well researched now that exercise can increase cognitive creativity stimulation.

Exercise improves your chances of generating presentation ideas by increasing the flow of Oxygen to your brain, which allows your thoughts to become clearer and sharper.

A study published in Brain and Cognition found that after just 30 minutes of doing an easy bike ride, subjects completed a cognitive test FASTER than they did before exercising … and JUST AS ACCURATELY. And the brain-boosting effect lasted for at least 52 minutes after the ride.

Need more proof?

Check out the image I created below that highlights the research done by Dr. Chuck Hillman at the University of Illinois.

Presentation Ideas - Exercise improves your creativity - creative presentations

Looking at the image, it’s pretty easy to see that even 20 minutes of walking has a pretty dramatic impact on brain activity.

More brain activity = More presentation ideas.

So, use this cardio-induced clarity to your advantage by timing your daily workout sometime BEFORE your start working on your slides. That way your brain will be fully primed by the time you start working on presentation ideas for your slides.

Here’s an extra tip: Whenever you’re working out, and new ideas start popping into your head, take a moment to pull out your smartphone and enter your ideas into your phone right away. That way you can remember them when you get back to your computer.

2. Take A Shower

Taking a shower is usually a relaxing and enjoyable experience for most people.

However, most people don’t know that showering can be a great facilitator for generating presentation ideas.

Here’s why:

1)    Increased dopamine. Similar to exercising, when you take a shower dopamine is released in your brain. Dopamine production has been linked to creativity in many research studies.

2)    You self-reflect more. When you’re in the shower you often have a relaxed state of mind which allows you turn the spotlight of attention inward.

3)    You’re distracted. Distraction gives your brain a break so you’re subconscious can work on a problem more creatively.

While I don’t recommend taking a pen and paper or your smartphone with you in the shower for taking notes, make sure you jot them down as soon as you get out so you don’t lose them.

3. Listen To Coffitivity

Contrary to popular opinion, many research studies now show that it’s pretty hard to be creative in a quiet space.

On the other end of the spectrum, a loud workplace can be frustrating and distracting.

However, in the middle exists a mix of “calm and commotion”, such as a bustling coffee shop, which has been proven to be the perfect sounding space to get those presentation ideas flowing.

Therefore, try working on your slides in places that provide this ideal background noise.

A few good places to consider include:

  • Your local coffee shop
  • A lunchtime lounge
  • A college campus café

But, what happens when you don’t want to leave the house?

Personally, I often prefer to stay indoors when working on certain projects. Therefore, when I don’t feel like leaving my home, I bring the local coffee shop to me by using websites like coffitivity.

Presentation Ideas - Use Coffitivity to boost your creativity for creative presentations

Coffitivity is a website that plays recorded background noises of coffee shops and other gentle work environments.

This way, you get the benefits of working in a coffee shop environment without leaving your house.

I use coffitivity all the time when I am coming up with presentation ideas for clients and also when I do my writing for Presentation Panda.

Here’s an extra tip: If you want to switch things up, add a bit of music (set to very low) while coffitivity is also playing. I find that this works wonders for me.

4. Put The Technology Away For A Bit

Without the distraction of your phone ringing, or your Twitter notifications constantly buzzing, it can be helpful to organize your thoughts “offline.”

Too many distractions can take away your level of focus.

So, try turning the phone off, shutting the computer down, and shutting off the television while you work on your slides.

It might be good idea to spend some time with just a notebook to crank out some good ideas.

By limiting all the distractions you just might find new presentation ideas starting to flow.

5. Change Up Your Environment

According to new study, a group of people performed significantly better on a standard test of creativity when they were seated outside a 5-foot-square workspace, perhaps because they internalized the metaphor of thinking outside the box.

What’s the lesson here? Your cubicle/desk/office could be holding you back.

So, if you feel some presentation block coming on, try taking take your laptop somewhere else and see if that helps.

Also, make sure that you are taking plenty of breaks from the computer to go outside for a walk and fresh air. Often times you will find that in the middle of your break a great set of ideas for your slides will pop into your head.


Coming up with ideas for creative presentations can be challenging sometimes. However, you can make the process easier by using these five brain hacks covered in this post.

Our brains need to be stimulated, in one form or another, in order to come up with creative ideas.

Here’s my question for you …

Now that you have learned about some different tricks to get your presentation ideas flowing, do you think that you give any of these tips a shot? Why or why not? What are some of your favorite presentation tips for getting into the creative mode?

Please try to be as specific as possible.

Also, do you have a friend that is struggling to come with good presentation ideas for his/her current project? If so, send them a link to this article by using the sharing buttons below.

Finally, if you found these presentation tips helpful. Please remember to like and share!


Special thanks to Moyan Brenn for providing the background image for the cover photo I remixed (at the top of this post).

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