It’s tempting to cram in as much information as possible. Don’t! You’ll overload your audience and they’ll lose sight of what’s being asked of them.

Ask yourself:

What do I want my audience to do after this presentation?

Why? What’s in it for them?

How do they do it?


You need to show your audience that YOU and THEY are the same: you’ve felt their worries, you’ve walked in their shoes. Tell a personal story to give an example of how you have been where they are, overcome an obstacle and are now living happily ever after. People feel reassured by a recognisable story structure and a story they can see themselves in.

If you don’t have a story of your own, use someone else’s: create a character your audience can identify with. People love having someone to root for and you’ll engage so much better with your audience if they feel your empathy and know you share their values and their fears.


The first thing you do, when you sit down to write your presentation, is find your passion for the story you’re telling. Note: I didn’t say “your passion for your PRODUCT”, but for your STORY. Your product may not be unique; it may not be better than anyone else’s. But your passion is your own, and passion is contagious.

You might not be feeling particularly passionate for the latest accounting software your company has developed and which you’re being asked to sell. But you might be deeply passionate about helping small businesses grow, and you know this software will do this. Bingo. It’s not your product. It’s your STORY.

Passion is contagious. Passionate speakers ooze passion for their story and, as an audience, we can’t help but be swept away by them.


PowerPoint presentations get a bad press for a reason. Nine times out of ten, they’re boring.We’re not as good at multitasking as we like to think: it’s hard to read a slide whilst someone is talking to you. Often, audiences are patronised by a presenter who is reading the slides word for word. This is usually (but not always) unnecessary, as the audience is able to read for themselves.

If you must use slides, use them carefully. Don’t cram them full of words and numbers. It is impossible to create an emotional response to these sorts of slides. Use pictures instead of words wherever possible (this helps with retention, too – we remember pictures paired with words, better than words on their own).

Instead, frame them in a narrative. Humanise them. Picturise them to help us “feel” them. Talk around them: give them life. Tell us the story behind the data.

When planning your next presentation, don’t start with your slides: start with your STORY. And definitely, definitely shake up a slide deck with some emotional content. Every so often, put up a picture or video which illustrates the emotion in your story. Break up the monotony and create some empathy.

Powerpoint can be a brilliant aid to a presenter: it can serve as a prompt if your mind’s gone blank, and it can illustrate a point you’re making verbally. But don’t be a slave to it.


If you want to stand out, you need to step outside the norm. Business has unwritten “rules” of presentations. But who says you have to follow them?

Your subject might be dry, and the acceptance in your industry might be that presentations are just for the purpose of information transfer.

Why settle for that? Imagine the impact you can have if you get inside your audience’s hearts and minds. What could you achieve, if you just had the courage to push a little bit further and approach this from a different angle?

Get in touch to talk about how we can bring your presentations to life.