I recently worked with a lovely client called Amanda, who is a health data analyst.

Her presentations were all about, well…data. How to capture it, and what to do with it.

Presentations about data – about numbers, statistics, and graphs – have the potential to be boring. And Amanda’s presentations were.Really, really boring, even by her own admission.

How could we make Amanda’s presentations more engaging when they still had to be about data?

My first step was to establish Amanda’s own connection to her presentation. What was it about data that gets her fired up? What is it about data that really excites her?


Turns out, Amanda didn’t have an emotional response to data. She doesn’t get excited about it in the least. Who can blame her? Numbers don’t invite an emotional response unless they’re framed in an emotional narrative.

So, we stepped back and worked out what she DOES like about data. And we discovered that it’s not the data itself, but what it can DO for people that Amanda loves. Data collection means nothing without accurate analysis, and Amanda absolutely loves finding patterns in data that, when used effectively, solve problems and, ultimately, help patients.

Long and short of it: Amanda loves helping people solve problems. THAT’S what fires her up. That’s what really excites her. Her passion for problem solving.

And now, before we’ve even started to write, we’ve already elevated her presentation, because she’s talking about her PASSION, not her product. As an audience,  we can’t help but be moved by passionate people – their passion is contagious; it’s exciting, and we’re drawn to them.

When the motivation for Amanda shifted to sharing her passion, suddenly the whole focus changed. And, what’s more, she became far less nervous – her “presentation” was now a “conversation” about something that lit up her eyes.Who doesn’t look forward to the opportunity to talk about their passion? She became more expressive, because when we’re excited about something we can’t help but let it spill out of us through our expression and body language.

Before you start writing your next presentation, think to yourself: what fires me up? What am I really in the business of?

Not your product, but the passion. Not the sausage, but the sizzle.