Presentations and storytelling

More people afraid of public speaking than dying.

Some time ago I was at the workshop striving to useful information to become a better speaker. Though, I managed to attend the workshop of Trevor Holmes. He is an energetic speaker who seasons presentations with reach stories. To add, he trains how to do it others and thus, shared his knowledge with us.

The only way to learn about presenting is to do it.

Main questions everyone has came to the workshop with were how to create inspiring pitches? How to deliver stories in a memorable message? How to continue developing my presentation skills?


  1. Goal: what is the goal for the presentation? In other words — what do you want to achieve in the end? Which action do you want people do after your presentation? Or which thought they should take out of the building with?
  2. Audience: you need to understand for whom you are presenting. Different audiences need different approaches and vocabulary. In other words you cannot speak about the 3-d law of Newton the same as to the NASA tiger team as to the group of high-school students.
  3. Extra factors which could influence your speech and you should count on are:
  • you are first speaker (the audience is sleeping);
  • you are second speaker. You`d better know who was first speaker — maybe he was boring, or maybe he was a speech-star — this matters how audience will perceive you;
  • you are talking after lunch (it is better to give a joke. The blood is in peoples` stomach — not in brains. You need to present in “tough conditions”);
  • you are talking in the evening (sometimes it happens. Not only when you are the only guest to speak — it is easier, but also when you are the last speaker and everyone looks for the afterparty. Jokes may also be useful.



  1. Exposition (inciting moment) — where everything begins. Like what it is now.
  2. Complication (rising action) — something started happening. The antagonist starts to distract our heroes` life.
  3. Climax (Turning point) — the ‘drama’ part. The hardest challenges are lying here. Boy, hold on!
  4. Reversal (Falling action)- a hero is strong and he could beat the obstacles.
  5. Denouement (Moment of release)-the solution created. Everybody smiles, applause. A hero meets princess. Wedding. Game over. The end.
  • relevance — whether the audience will understand the metaphor? Is this story applicable to audience`s experience? Doe it illustrate well your main idea?
  • detail — “a devil is in details” someday once said. Sometimes “less is more” — do not overwhelm your stories with more unnecessary details.
  • narrative — tell your listeners a story to fascinate them. Tell them the story, not a text of words which were but together.
  • from our experience;
  • from other`s experience;
  • from imagination (risk of credibility).

Steve Job`s presentations created added value for the company.

You listener will go through emotional objections. This is the aim, because when people “remember emotionally” something — they remember it even better, because they literally “feel it”):

  • feel (during the story);
  • felt (after taste);
  • found (associations).

Sell via emotions.

Stories are around you every day.

Learn how to tell stories — because some time you will get old.

To sum up, it was a great time investment as it helped me to structure my knowledge and practice one more time. In my everyday life I often give presentations — either to clients on different products, or to the team, or, even more, to other people who I need to share my experience with. So I will practice my “storytelling” muscle.

BA track

If you are a business analyst/marketer or are familiar with problem solving techniques, I would like to make it short (everything which was told before):

  1. State a problem (your “business goal”).
  2. Find the stakeholders. Analyze who is your main Target audience.
  3. Create the road map for the presentation according to your Target Audience.
  4. Put into some “wow-effects” as jokes etc.
  5. Make a presentation in the “customer journey” type. Where your target audience is “persona” and this “persona” has a journey.



Passionate about IT and startups. Books lover. Made in Ukraine.

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