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Present stories, not just slides

22 Sep, 2022 | Presentations العروض التقديمية
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Keeping your audience engaged whilst trying to clearly deliver your key messages can be difficult. A helpful way of doing this is by telling stories where you take your audience on a journey and appeal to their emotions. In this blog, we discuss storytelling components you can incorporate into your next presentation.

Every story-driven presentation has four main components. If any of these components are missing, your story will be incomplete and won’t have the impact you are hoping for. The 4 components are:

Present stories, not just slides

Setting:

This is where you build context and set the stage for everything that is about to happen in the story. The goal is to get the audience to really step into the character(s) shoes and get on the same page with him/her/you. Try to describe the world you are painting for the audience as vividly as possible. 

Characters:

Just like you did with the first component of “setting,” it’s pivotal to develop the character(s) as clearly as possible. Describe the characters in detail – talk about what their goals were, who they were, their background, their emotions, etc. The character(s) here are people who the audience can easily connect with and empathize with. It’s also extremely effective to give that character a name – or if that character is you, make that crystal clear. 

Conflict:

The third component is “conflict” – as the name suggests, this is the part where your story picks up momentum and gets interesting. It is also the part that can either make or break a story-driven presentation. The focus here is to build friction and tension. Explain the point of conflict in detail and highlight key aspects of the conflict. Make it as relevant as possible to your audience so they can feel the conflict themselves and begin to empathize with the characters.

Big idea:

Now that you have established the setting, defined the character, and built up conflict, the next step is to unveil the “big idea” that will act as a bridge toward a miraculous resolution. Drum roll….

This “big idea” is the one thing you want your audience to remember and take away from the presentation if they forgot everything else.

The big idea could be something like:

It was time for us to rethink our decades-old holy grail – our sales process  – because what we had wasn’t working and was painfully flawed

Or

We needed to find better ways of listening to our customers

Or

The industry was dying quickly and so were we as a company. It was time for us to pivot and pivot quickly

The importance of structuring your presentation around one big idea is massive and we wrote a blog on it How to effectively structure a “big idea” pitch for maximum impact.

Resolution:

The resolution part is where you safely carry your audience through the conflict, using the bridge of the big idea and into the “resolution.” It is where you tell the audience how everything resolves with the help of that one big idea.  

Most presentations make the mistake of stating their presentation design efforts with a resolution that makes the entire presentation boring and potentially could have the opposite effect since they already know that things will eventually end well. There is no conflict – therefore no interest – and therefore no memorability.

Many times in presentations we see designers get carried away with visuals and graphics while not working on their story first. Remember that the best-designed presentations won’t have half the impact they should have if there isn’t a solid story behind them. Don’t get us wrong, we are huge fans of presentation design ourselves, so much so that we wrote an entire blog on it How Great PowerPoint Design Impacts Your Presentation.

If you are looking for a story-based presentation that cuts through the noise and delivers your message with nuclear-level impact then drop us a line. We are more than happy to help you define, outline, and present your story most effectively.

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