Create a Story for a Presentation

In this post we talked about How to tell stories in presentations.

Let’s take a look at how to create a story, to tell, in your presentation.

Stories invoke emotions. They make connections. They help you to remember stuff better. Ok, enough preaching, you probably hear that all the time!

Your name is Helen.

and you have a presentation to make. You work for St. Sam’s Hospital as a Marketing Executive. Your boss Ron has asked you to put together a presentation to present to sponsors for the annual Walkathon that is going to happen in 2 short months. The goal of the presentation is to gain 5 sponsors for the upcoming walkathon and raise $10,000 to give to the American Cancer Society.

What does Helen need?

Loosely based on the classic story structure, great stories have five elements that when put together makes for a compelling presentation. Helen needs to figure out the following five elements of her presentation.

A plot, a background or a problem.

Why are we here? What do we hope to accomplish? In this case, Helen would probably want to start out by telling the audience what problems are being faced by the American Cancer Society. Details about the rise in cancer, a specific story about a cancer survivor that got help, a shocking revelation about the lack of proper care or cancer education; All of these could be a basis for a background for Helen’s presentation.

The good guy

A good guy.

If you are asking for money, the audience is always the good guy!

Talk about how people have helped in the past, talk about how the audience’s help will improve lives of cancer survivors. Make an emotional connection with the audience and let¬†them feel good about making a difference. Helen has to make the audience believe that they are in charge and responsible for the outcome.


The bad guy

The bad guy.

Let’s take a moment to thank the bad guy. Without him we don’t have a story!

As far as Helen is concerned, Cancer is definitely the bad guy here. It is a ¬†growing problem (no pun intended), that has to be stopped. St. Sam’s is taking steps to help curb that growth and it is losing the battle, unless you (The audience) help.

An Aha moment

An “Aha” moment.

Mark Twain once said, “Work is something that the body is obliged to do. Play is something that the body is not obliged to do.” What I am getting at is that the audience has to arrive at the “Aha” moment on their own. Helen cannot point it out to the audience, their mind needs to lead them to it.

Your “Aha” moment in the story needs to be a moment of clarity, a paradigm shift or a revelation that the audience gets when viewing your presentation. For Helen, she has to inject specific elements into the presentation that can create that “Aha” in the minds of the audience. Think, a video of a cancer patient just before their passing away, a cancer survivor is introduced on stage to the audience, a testimonial of the mother of a patient…

The end

The end

“I hope you now understand the volume of the problem we face if we do not take action now”

The end has to be a strong call to action, along with a summary of why that action is important and how it will change lives. And above all paint a positive picture of how that action is the right thing to do.

If you enjoyed this article, get email updates (it's free).