Effective Presentations — Part 2 of 2

In the previous article, I wrote about my attempt at improving my pitches. I left off from that piece with the promise of a formula that can improve the quality of your slide decks immediately.

The answer: storytelling.

The problem with this statement is it seems too simple, even patronizing, an answer.

From another perspective, it could be that because the answer is so simple, it is easy to dismiss.

But if you can take a moment to digest this answer, you will begin to realise that it makes sense. Notice that in any TV series, every episode tries to end with a cliffhanger. Producers do that because they know that it makes the audience look forward to watching the next episode to find out what happens next, that they want to “fill in the gap” in the whole story.

Storytelling is a process from the start to the end. Anything missing in this process is a gap. No one likes gaps. Everyone wants closure. That’s why it is more painful to lose a loved one suddenly because we lose the chance to say our last words — closure.

Every Hollywood movie nowadays have equally stunning visual effects but what makes one movie A-grade and another subpar is really the quality of the story, an element that is not as much observed as it is felt.

“If storytelling is the answer, then what is the formula?” I can already imagine this question surfacing in your mind as you read this.

The answer can be found from this Medium piece by Andy Raskin.

I replicate below the points which he made in that article:

  1. Name the enemy
  2. Answer “Why now?”
  3. Show the promised land before explaining how you’ll get there
  4. Identify obstacles — then explain how you’ll overcome them
  5. Present evidence that you’re not just blowing hot air

If you are really interested in brushing up your presentations, go read that piece. It’s only a 5-minute read.

I also like to share this video series on YouTube featuring Ira Glass from This American Life where he talks about creating compelling storylines using anecdotes and a series of actions and questions.

I’m certainly no presentation expert (far from it), but by just applying what I’ve learnt from the Raskin article and Glass videos, I do think that my works have improved from what they were before.

I hope they will do the same for you. Share your thoughts with me in the comments below or on Twitter @chuacheehow

(Originally posted on http://rojakcoder.com/blog/2017/02/24/effective-presentations---part-2-of-2/)

(Also posted on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/effective-presentations-part-2-chee-how-chua)