In a previous post,  I attempted to split the atom on what made for a great presentation.

I arrived at the conclusion that beyond some general guidelines, any format could work depending on the idea, how it catered itself to the presenter and how it delivered to its audience.

Of course, usability, utility, clarity and desirability  were all important.

By looking at the same 20 popular slideshare presentations, its clear that different motives drive six distinct types of presentation formats.

It’s also annoyingly clear, presenters, even professional ones, oftentimes lack a self-awareness of what style they need to be in for their particular situation. You’ve likely seen the mismatch of style-to-objective e.g. hard-selling at a blogger conference, being too cutesy at a management meeting, looking to inspire a practitioner audience that wants to know the “how”, lecturing to a sales force about next year’s program instead of motivating them

So which of the following 6 styles is your next presentation? and do you have the right style and assets to back them up?

Presentations with emotional appeal:

I) Entertaining

Goal – to provoke a reaction with your crowd, elicit enjoyment without particular care for message quality or impact

Audience Need – Need to escape, blow off steam, establish a tone change, build culture/camraderie

Format –  Offsite kickoffs, Viral videos/stunts, Brand awareness, Personal journey

Visual/Content Tactics:  Cartoons, Story/chapter template, Headlines, Photo Gallery, Sight gags, Mashups, Absurdity, Interactive Games, Unprovable points/stats, Video, Audience Participation


II) Persuading

Goal – to convince a person of the quality of your offering or position, to get people to act in a preferred way, to show as superior between different options

Audience Need – Need to be convinced, Build superiority of your argument, See evidence of multiple sides, Creating additional validation

Format – Sales presentations, Product launches, Agency pitches, Competing theories, Competitive beliefs

Visual/Content Tactics – Tables, Case Studies, Testimonials, Criteria, Amazing Facts, Side by side Comparison, Magic Quadrant, Strategy Map, Leading Questions, Concentric Circles, Venn Diagrams, Clustering


III) Evangelizing

Goal – to immerse people in your point of view and inspire them to rally around and feel linked to it

Audience Need – need to become part of something bigger, need to feel something resonate deeply

Format  – Employee Town Halls, Customer Celebrations, New Brand Positioning, Impactful Change, Tribal Recruitment

Visual/Content Tactics – Tip of the Iceberg, Pattern Recognition, New Definitions, Historical Progression, Future Projections, “Did you know”, “Inspiring Quotes”, Call to Action, Immutable Laws, Formulas, T-shirtable Slogans, Grand Reveal, Storytelling, We’re not them, Alarmist provocations, Pyramid Factors, Personality Profiles, If You Believe This…You Must


Presentations with rational-appeal

I) Analyzing

Goal – to present results without determining conclusions or placing a subjective value on the information

Audience Need: Need to understand the facts, Need to sift through the evidence, Need to share information before conclusions

Format – Presentation of financial results, Just breaking research results/polls, Stimulus for Review

Visual/Content Tactics – Pie Charts, Bar Charts, Scatterplots, Line Charts, Data Maps, Rankings, Histograms


II) Educating

Goal – to provide insight and teach audience based on evidence, to throw light onto a new/unfamiliar subject

Audience Need – need to know what happened, provide a summary of learnings, develop institutional knowledge

Format:  Research Conclusions, Post-Project Evaluations, Lunch and Learns, Audits

Visual/Content Tactics – Matrix Diagrams, Lists, Tree Diagrams, Mindmaps, Force-field Diagrams, , Concept maps, Callouts, Visual Evidence, Examples Brought to Life


III) Coaching

Goal – to provide a mentored, step-by-step learning experience

Audience Need – need to learn to do it themselves, solicit mentorship and past experience

Format – Training Workshops, Mentoring, DIY Tutoring,

Visual/Content Tactics – Cycle Designs, Critical Paths, Decision Trees, Process Chains/Steps, Gantt Charts, Sequential Pictures, Watchouts/Callouts, Insider Tips



Pin It on Pinterest

Share This