Presentation Roulette

Kate Bennet
Jan 30, 2017 · 4 min read

Presentation Roulette is a great tool for helping you think on your feet and improve your public speaking. Each participant has 3 minutes, 12 powerpoint slides and a topic to talk about. The catch? You don’t know the topic and haven’t seen the slides before. Ah yes- and the slides automatically change every 15 seconds.

The resulting event is lively, tense and feels a bit like a game show- with nervous energy filling the room and people egging each other on.

I created Presentation Roulette and have run sessions with designers, sales people and growth marketers. Each participant learned from and enjoyed it, so I’m sharing the process here for others to give it a go.

Follow these 5 steps to quickly get started with your own Presentation Roulette!

Equipment you’ll need:
- Laptop with internet connection
- Pens (1 for each attendee) and post-it notes
- Meeting room with a projector
- A container (bowl, box, hat) for the topic papers
- (optional) Prizes for the speakers (cake works well!)

Step 1: Set up your room and gather the group

Presentation Roulette can be played with as many or as few people as you want. I recommend 2 to 20 participants to give everyone who wants to speak a go and to encourage feedback… though you could also just play by yourself.

Use a room that has a projector. Connect your computer to the projector.

Give everyone in the room a pen and a few post-it notes.

Step 2: Gather the topics

Have each person in the room write a topic on a piece of paper. Fold the paper (so you can’t see what’s written on it) and put the papers in a bowl.

The topics must be simple to understand and talk about. “Cooking” and “School” are good. “Particle physics” and “The merits of voting systems” are bad.

Step 3: Select a speaker, pick a topic

Ask the first participant to choose a topic from the Topic Bowl.

Have the speaker stand at the front of the room facing the rest of the group.

Step 4: Start the presentation

Check the participant is ready then click one of the links below. The slides will start immediately, so when the first slide is shown the speaker should begin.

Roulette 1
Roulette 2
Roulette 3
Roulette 4
Roulette 5
Roulette 6
Roulette 7

The presentation ends when the last slide (which says “Wrap up!”) is shown.

Warning: The images in the slides are completely random. Don’t be surprised if you see tortoises, jungles, puppets or graphs!

Step 5: Give feedback

Have everyone spend 2 minutes writing down feedback on a post-it note. The feedback should contain:
- One positive thing about the presentation.
- One thing that the presenter could improve.

Collect the post-it notes and pass them to the speaker.


And that’s it! By the end of a well-run Presentation Roulette your speakers will feel more comfortable thinking on their feet and every participant will be more confident giving and receiving feedback.

If you have any questions about Presentation Roulette or want to share your experiences drop a note in the comments.


Creating your own Roulette deck

Want to take it a step further? If you want to create your own Presentation Roulette slides follow the steps below. Share a link to your deck in the comments.

1. Create 15 slides in Google Slides

Each slide should have a random stock image on it. Sites such as Pixabay, Pexels and Stocksnap are good sources of free images.

2. Set up the slide timings

a. In Google Slides, click File > Publish to the Web.
b. Under “Auto-advance slides” choose “every 15 seconds.” Click Publish.
c. Copy the link shown in to a new tab.

3. Share a link to your slides

Add a link to your slides in the comments below.

Kate Bennet

Written by

Product consultant and chaos organizer. Currently at Lab Zero, formerly Product Management at Imgur, Mindjet and Spigit.

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