4 Guidelines To Excellent PowerPoint Storytelling

We’ve all been there – sitting in that long, boring presentation after lunch, holding on for dear life to make it to the end awake. Where was this presentation when I needed to put my kid to sleep last night?

To help you avoid this same fate, and not be that guy or girl, Management Consulted has developed 4 Guidelines to excellent PowerPoint storytelling. Follow these practical guidelines, and you’ll be well on your way to crafting effective, powerful, punchy decks that will knock the socks off any executive.

*Note: In case you are unfamiliar, in this context, deck doesn’t refer to that beautiful wooden sitting area in my backyard. A deck is short for PowerPoint presentation in the corporate world. Without further ado!

PowerPoint Storytelling

PowerPoint Storytelling Steps:

  1. Start With The Final Slide

The first mistake we see when working with executive clients on their presentation skills? They save the end, for well, the end. You must start with the end in mind first. What is the goal of your deck? Are you trying to push the room towards a certain conclusion? Laying out multiple options? Know your purpose up front so you can build each slide toward that end. Any slides that repeat other slides, or distract from the purpose of the deck, can now be automatically removed.

  1. Create The Story Using Taglines

Each slide needs a tagline, highlighting one specific takeaway that contributes to the forward march toward the final slide. Instead of pulling in data and then building a tagline around it, start with your taglines first. Give each slide in the deck one, and with that purpose in mind, choose the data/case studies that will make the point you’re trying to make. You’ll find it’s so much easier to determine what makes it into the deck and what doesn’t when you use the created taglines as your guide. Again, this will also keep your slides MECE (mutually exclusive, collectively exhaustive). No slide will even remotely duplicate another, and you’ll be assured you’ve mentioned everything you want to cover.

  1. Build A 3-4 Part Agenda

Why build an agenda? It will segment out pieces of the conversation sure to come in the midst of (and after) you present. Break your deck into sections, and have each section inform that part of the conversation.

  1. Use Paper!

Our favorite way to build an important deck is to start with 8-10 pieces of paper, and build the presentation out on paper. This allows us to rearrange slides into the order that makes the most sense, and see the whole story in front of us at once. If you’ve never tried beginning your deck creation on paper, it’s a game changer. You’ll find yourself critically examining assumptions you made at the beginning of the process, leading to a much stronger final deliverable.


Have your own tips you’d like to share? Hit us up in the comments below!

Want to take your PowerPoint presentation skills to the next level? Chat with our team about a tailored training for your organization, or check out our PowerPoint for Consulting course!

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Filed Under: Consulting skills