Storytelling in presentations

Yesterday evening, I was fortunate enough to go to a wonderful presentation by a man called Garr Reynolds – renowned famous, umm, presentation-giving guy.

maths floor

Garr has written a number of books on the subject of making and delivering presentations, which he calls Presentation Zen.  He has also written a number of books on the subject.

Garr encouraged us all to forget what we knew about giving and writing presentations:

  • putting bullet points on slides
  • reading/expanding on said bullet points
  • (eg the slide has 4 bullet points, you are a good presenter and know you are not supposed to just read what is on the slide, so in your notes you write 8 bullet points to read)

And to go back to basics – plan away from the computer and to make sure we tell a story with accompanying, visual imagery.

To make messages “sticky” you can use emotion, unexpectedness (this can be done through contrast – a big image with a small one, a coloured image next to a non coloured image).

What is the story you want to get across? Simplify!
Your story should have some character building at the beginning so we can sympathise, get involved and concerned; then a problem or obstacle, and finally a resolution/solution.

We have a departmental meeting at the start of November when I had planned to speak anyway about the fact that despite the major changes in the team, yes we were still here, and yes we were still doing some work and these were the projects we would be working on.

So after this talk, I lay in bed wide awake thinking, and have pretty much got the whole presentation planned out; I even now what I need to get photos of to add some of this visual impact to my story, rather than using a bullet point list of the projects we are working on.  I will report back as to how it goes, but I am pretty excited about it!

Oh, and I also have subscribed to Garr’s RSS feed to, linking back to Thing 7!


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