There are several common problems with business presentations, including failure to relate the message to the lives of the audience, failure to prepare adequately, and trying to cover too much information in too little time, according to Luis Cubero in his book Business Storytelling Guide: Creating Impactful and Compelling Business Presentations Using Storytelling Techniques. Each of these problems can be addressed by taking a storytelling approach to the presentation.
While the use of stories in presentations is well known, the author’s approach involves structuring the whole presentation to follow a particular story structure known as “The Hero’s Journey”. This structure has 12 stages, starting with the ordinary world and the call to adventure, passing through other stages including meeting with the Mentor and the big ordeal, and ending with the resurrection and the return with the elixir. The author provides a parallel for each of these suitable for a business presentation; for example, the “call to adventure” is the business needs or objectives, while “meeting with the Mentor” is your value proposition.
I was not entirely convinced about the appropriateness of the Hero’s Journey framework as a complete structure for a presentation (objectives don’t sound like much of a call to adventure to me) – and perhaps a fully worked example might have assisted in this regard – but I do think that this reasonably short book provides a method of creating business presentations which will help many people become much better presenters.