School is over for our kids, so we took them to the circus in town this afternoon. Here are a couple of ideas from today's performance that can help presenters. The first is something not to do. Twice during the show, they had two acts going on at the same time, one in each of two of the three rings. I was unable to watch both (who would), so I jumped between the two and missed most of the great tricks in each. When you create your PowerPoint slides, make sure that you are not competing for your audience's attention with what is up on the screen. Your slides should enhance your message, not compete with it (yes, this means get rid of the twirling clip art and flashy animation effects). Second, it was interesting to watch the clown that they had who came back in on a regular basis. He certainly had a knack for getting the crowd involved and entertained through the skits he performed. The lesson I took was how important it is to be engaging with our audiences, and one of the best ways to do that is through our use of stories. Stories take our audience on a journey and have an ability to hook each person into our message. Think of what stories you can use from your own experience that would illustrate a point at the same time as engaging your audience.