Presentation Design For Smart People

By: MJ Truong

Part 1: Narrative Arc

  • Basically a big picture outline of how presentation is going to go 

  • Making your presentation like a story to reach a satisfying and logical conclusion 

  • If you don’t have a narrative arc: 

    • Audience will lose interest 

    • They won’t know what to think about what you are giving them 

    • Makes it harder for you to achieve the goal of presentation 


Part 2: Three types of presentations


  1. Persuasive: Trying to convince the audience of something / getting them to do something 

    • Use of persuasive presentations;

      • Pitch Product

      • Propose Action 

      • Change Minds 

      • Make An Argument 

    • How it is structured: 

      1. Set the stage 

        • Introduce yourself 

        • Provide context 

        • Define the question 

        • Establish the problem

        • Hook your audience 

      2. Explore evidence 

        • Build towards solution with compelling evidence 

      3. Propose solution 

        • Unveil solution and benefits 

      4. Execution/Action Items 

        • Next steps, logistics, Call to action 

      • Breakdown 

        1. Hi. Here’s the situation.

        2. A good solution would do x,y & z

        3. My solution does x,y,z : how great would that be 

        4. Heres how we make it happen 


  2. Narrative: Trying to inspire, provoke thought or entertain the audience 

  3. Explanatory: Sharing information without trying to convince someone 

Part 3: Storyboard 

  • What is a storyboard? : Visual outline of a presentation 

  • Why do you need it? : Really defines how smoothly a presentation is going to go (Hashing out logic of presentation) 

  • Process: 

    1. Open a notepad

    2. Write out narrative arc in bulleted outline 

    3. Fill in outline with subsections and ideas 

    4. Cut out excess content and re-arrange 

    5. Create visual sketches for slides 

    6. Bring it into presentation software 

    7. Develop storyboard from there 

  • Answer these questions before you begin 

    • Why am I doing this presentation?

    • What should the audience walk away with?

    • What do I want the audience to feel?

    • What is most interesting about this presentation? 

    • How can I make this worthwhile for the audience? 

    • Where do my passions and experiences come in?


Part 4: Outlining a presentation

  • Persuasive Presentation 

    • Set the stage:

      • Introduce yourself, tell people who you are

      • Establish need of solution (Don’t give it away) 

    • Explore the evidence: 

      • Explore the problem in more depth 

      • What if it could be like this? 

      • Set the stage: What if you could do x, y & z

    • Solution: 

      • How your proposal meets all the needs 

      • Address counter arguments 

      • Give evidence that this will work 

    • Execution:

      • Show that you have thought about the nitigrity details: Timelines, Budgets, Who’s Responsible, Action Items 

      • Re-iterate the vision, what’s possible if the proposal is accepted 

      • Make it very clear who needs to do what, when and what you’re asking for 


Part 5: Tips for delivery 

  • Showcase your personality 

  • Humanize yourself 

  • Speak clearly and simply 

  • Use descriptive words that come alive 

  • Use body language 

  • Ask questions

  • Use the word ‘You’, ask them to do things, ponder things 

  • Speak in the way you really sound 

  • How to be more confident?

    • Trust your plan 

    • Slow down 

    • Accept your fright 

    • Know your stuff & practice