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How to make the perfect recipe for better presentations

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Shreya Christinahttps://londonbusinessblog.com
Shreya has been with londonbusinessblog.com for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider londonbusinessblog.com team, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.

Opinions expressed by londonbusinessblog.com contributors are their own.

PowerPoint and other presentation tools are great tools when used properly. It can be a challenging experience for the public if not done properly. Hopefully you’ve had the experience of watching a really good one. If you’re lucky, you presented it. Why aren’t more of them better? In general, they don’t have a great reputation, which means we have a great opportunity.

We all watched great TV, read a gripping novel, and enjoyed a compelling movie. Why should slideshows be different? The key to an impressive slide deck to make a great presentation comes from the basics of storytelling.

Whether you’re selling a product, educating a customer, or motivating employees, your presentation will go from basic to compelling if you focus on telling a story — and it’s not that different from great cooking.

Related: 6 Easy Ways to Impress With Your Next Virtual Presentation

Read the recipe: Storytelling defined

The classic line chart for storytelling may not be familiar if you’ve never taken a writing class. Still, it’s pretty simple: a horizontal line represents the introduction, slopes sharply with the rising action, peaks at the climax, goes back down with the falling action, then flattens back to horizontal with the resolution. This is a general format.

It can be helpful to have a defined beginning, middle, and end. The beginning is your agenda. Why are we here? What’s the problem? Sometimes we even give away the punch line at the beginning to make sure we get the audience’s attention. Your center must address pain points or seek solutions. It is also a place where you can introduce differentiators. An effective ending should show a solution to the problem, introduce next steps, or present a call to action. The ending should leave your audience fulfilled.

Gathering the Ingredients: Convincing Stories

A persuasive storytelling style aims to convince the audience to agree with the narrator’s goal or point of view – i.e. to get buy-in – by inviting them to an experience. This experience can create empathy, make connections to the real world, and increase retention by using emotions or imagination. Your goal could be to bridge the gap between what is and what could be.

Related: The Best Way to Answer Questions After a Presentation or Meeting

Preparing your garnishes: visual storytelling

A visual is only as good as the work it does. For an internal, decision-based presentation, sometimes simpler is better – avoid confusion and focus on the task. Sometimes a visually dull slide deck can’t produce the same impact, even with the most compelling copy. If you don’t feel comfortable writing, you can still tell a story, mainly with images. As you start to lean more on your visuals, you need to understand what your visual storytelling is supposed to achieve. It should grip visual cognition; this is especially effective when presenting to visual learners.

Images can be more interpretive and make it easier to convey messages subliminally. Be careful though; poorly executed images can confuse your audience. Finally, visual storytelling evokes emotions, which is crucial to achieve the purpose of your presentation.

Mixing everything together: the presentation process

As you prepare your storytelling presentation, you will find it easier if you follow a process. First, understand the vision, challenges, goals, and objectives you outline in your presentation. if you don’t know the story, it’s hard to tell anyone else. Next, identify your audience. Who are they, what do they find important and how do you achieve your goal with this specific group of people? Before creating your presentation, make sure you know the practical limitations. When and where is the presentation? How many people will there be? Do you need time for Q&A, etc.? Knowing the answers to these questions will give you a solid structure to build on.

Now it’s time to brainstorm. Think broad and let yourself be considered something; you can delete it later. Organize your thoughts and consider the theme as you do so. Balance your content so that you are not too focused on one part of the story, and make sure that the dots between problems and solutions/goals are connected. Build the bones first and follow the line of the story structure from the beginning. Create a strong frame and then fill in the text and messages.

Related: Harness the power of storytelling to transform your business for the better

Put your meal on the table

Now it’s time to design individual slides that fit your theme, audience, and outline. Just as your entire presentation should be a story, every slide should also contain narrative elements. When designing, ask yourself: what’s the best layout, color and function to get your message across?

Each slide should display concise content that summarizes your main points. You shouldn’t just be reading a block of text, although that can sometimes be the right format for the job. The visuals should match and enhance the copy, help clarify the sequence and demonstrate core concepts. Carefully put together your layout so that it is clear and logical. The layout is your tool to help your audience digest the content. Think carefully about horizontal versus vertical elements and your use of color, and be careful not to get too excited and too busy.

Enjoy your dinner

In my experience, employees and clients want to be stimulated by presentations and to be clear in their interpretation of the content. They want to feel that they have gained knowledge, motivation or appreciation.

When you lead, you want your presentations to be effective. No one wants to waste time watching a slide show that isn’t worthy of their attention. To wrap up my cooking metaphor, if you serve your audience something well thought out and expertly presented, they’ll be pleased when they walk away from your table — or conference room.

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