Tell a compelling story with PowerPoint presentations

Telling a compelling story through PowerPoint is vital for getting your message across in business and getting that all important buy in. Yet, the problem with PowerPoint is the built-in templates are not designed for dynamic presentations – in fact, it’s designed to have our presentations fail. Put differently, it’s not designed to tell a compelling story that will make decision-makers jump with excitement.

Picture the following scenarios.

Scenario 1:
It’s the night before your big presentation. You’re a manager in ABC company that have been tasked with reviewing the operational requirements of the business across various regional offices. You must present your findings.

Scenario 2:

Your company is exploring social media as a strategy to create a more intimate relationship with clients. You’ve been asked to do a presentation on the value of social media for your business.

The thread that ties these two very different scenarios together is that both presentations must hold a diverse group of people’s attention, tell a dynamic story and answer key questions with ease.

Any person that has sat through a presentation delivered by a high-end consulting house like Bain & Co, knows that their presentations;


  • Convey complex business concepts and information simply;
  • Contain loads of data presented in just the right way;
  • Grab the attention of the audience and sustained their interest;
Following request from various client to support them with preparing dynamic presentations, I thought I would share some tips with you on how to create professional presentations like to pro’s and take your credibility to the next level.
Tip #1: Create a Compelling and Riveting Story
Consultants create a storyboard for the presentation they’re going to deliver. Think of a storyboard as a process used to weave a cohesive and compelling story through presentation. It involves collecting your information and then structuring it into a series of key statements, supporting statements and key facts or points. The relationship between these statements is then translated into a business presentation.
There are some key resources used by consultants to learn how to do this well. These include key frameworks such the popular Minto’s Pyramid and the MECE (Mutually Exclusive, Collectively Exhaustive) principle. See end of text for resource references.

Tip #2: Tell story one line at a line
Have you noticed that consulting companies don’t use those big slide title boxes at the top of a PowerPoint slide? Instead, they use the space to present a single statement that tells the story of that particular slide. Think of this statement as the voice-over of a narrator in a good documentary (e.g. Deadliest Catch). At the same time, this statement must support the entire story being told thought the presentation.

Tip #3: Real Estate is Priceless
High-end consultants don’t waste prime real estate. Look at one of your most recent presentations. How well have you used the space and what return on investment did you get? Did you get a “Yes!”. Or did you get a lot of questions, confusing looks or even asked to go back and rework the presentation? Slides prepared by consulting firms generally contain a mixture of quantitative and qualitative data displayed in either a top down or horizontal flow. Space is well used without slides being cluttered.

Tip #4: Consistency is Elegantly Professional
Be consistent in your presentations. What I mean by this is be consistent with the use of fonts, colours, diagrams, positioning of text, etc. across the entire presentation. Most managers have different font sizes, font types, colours, etc. on different slides. Consultants in high-end consulting firms follow a rigorous set of guidelines to ensure a consistent presentation that is functional yet highly professional.

Finally, create presentations that can stand on their own without the need for you to explain it. Presentations that can stand on their own are valuable resources that can be used by all and will used long after you have left.


  • Minto Pyramid Principle
  • David Tracy, Become a PowerPoint Guru
    An excellent resource written by a management
  • MECE



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