How to make your next presentation a Hollywood blockbuster

Presentation pro Emma Bannister shares her tips on how to bring the drama to any presentation.

Words by Emma Bannister, founder and CEO of Presentation Studio

The lights go down. You’ve got your popcorn and you’re ready for the action to start.

The music swells as the opening scene begins – it’s the latest Hollywood blockbuster. There’s nothing quite like the thrill of a great movie. It’s engaging, moving and memorable. Most of all, it makes serious impact.

Now, imagine if your event presentation could have the same kind of impact? It can! In fact, every presentation should be a Hollywood blockbuster. Here‘s why.

Drama

The number one characteristic of a great movie is drama. Whether it’s a superhero risking his life or the knight in shining armour winning the damsel in distress – drama unites all blockbusters. Your presentation needs drama too.

Emma Bannister

Drama is created by suspense. This should be central to the structure of your presentation. No matter what topic you are presenting on, you can create drama by ensuring there is a clear climax in your storyline.

This climax could be a contrast between a problem and your proposed solution. Or, the results of your research. Whatever it is, remember that as the expert in the room – you know something your audience doesn’t. Strategically revealing this information is the way to create drama.

Investment

Every presentation needs to be a Hollywood blockbuster to ensure real audience buy-in. Why do we care so much about the fate of our favourite movie characters? Because we are invested in them. Following this blockbuster movie pattern in your presentations is a great way to deliver impactful content.

Remember to create your presentation with your audience in mind. What do they care about? What are they already invested in? Use that as the driving force behind your presentation.

Hollywood blockbusters create deep investment for the audience – they care about what happens in the movie. Your presentation needs to do the same. Establish what your audience cares about and present accordingly.

Emotional connection

Hollywood Blockbusters come in a whole range of genres. Some make you laugh and some make you cry. Either way – they use this to create emotional connection. Follow suite as you create your presentation!

Think about how you can best connect with your audience emotionally. Use powerful images and evocative design techniques. Tell stories and use examples which will trigger certain emotions. Think about comedy and tragedy – the pillars of every great movie – and take a leaf out of Hollywood’s book.

Narrative

Just like a blockbuster, your presentation needs a clear narrative structure. Good movies are easy to follow – they have a beginning, a middle and an end. There is a complication, a climax and a resolution. Your presentations need the same structure to ensure clarity and engagement.

Imagine taking the middle section out of your favourite movie – it doesn’t make much sense does it? The Notebook wouldn’t be a famous movie if it was missing its last scene. The opening shots of Lion King are essential to its success. Similarly, without all the logical sections of your presentation, it won’t be effective.

Characters

The most memorable element of a movie is its characters. They are who audiences fall in love with. Characters define how engaged and responsive an audience is. This is the same for your presentation. And, guess what? As the presenter – you are in the starring role!

There are several characteristics central to any successful movie character. They apply to your role as a presenter too:

Likeable – Just like the main character in a film, make sure you are likeable. This means thinking about your mannerisms, analogies, clothing and content to suit your audience.

Relatable – The best blockbuster characters are distinctly human. Use this principle to ensure you are genuinely connecting to your audience’s experiences.

Confident – every Hollywood star can strut their stuff! The same should go for you. Carry yourself with confidence and present like the expert you are.

Impact

Every presentation needs to be a Hollywood blockbuster. With a few simple tricks of the trade, you’ll be getting standing ovations in no time. Embrace the blockbuster traits of drama, investment, emotional connection, narrative and characters – and watch your next presentation transform into something truly Oscar worthy!

Emma Bannister is the founder and CEO of Presentation Studio, APAC’s largest presentation communication agency, and author of the book ‘Visual Thinking: How to transform the way you think, communicate and influence with presentations’.

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