Writing blockbuster movies and creating award winning presentations aren’t as different as you may think.

Sure, we are unlikely to bag an Oscar following a great sales pitch, but winning more business can sometimes feel like a time to roll out the red carpet! Story, scripting, storyboarding, structure, editing, timing and knowing your audience are key elements that apply to both situations.

1) Story:

Even with the best special effects an audience can quickly get bored of a movie without a good storyline. A presentation is no different. It’s not enough to know how to use flashy animations and transitions in PowerPoint, you need to create an attention grabbing message for your audience.

Oscar winning presentations - illustrations

2) Script:

No movie is filmed until the script has been written. The same method should apply when building your presentation. Know what your key messages are, and what call to action you want. Write yourself a script containing these key points as chapters so that all your material can fit into a chapter. This keeps the content relevant. Do this for each slide before you even open PowerPoint.

3) Storyboard:

All movies have a storyboard created, outlining key scenes and important messages. Storyboard can be award winning in themselves. Here we can outline the dramatic moments, the key questions, the pace as well as the look and feel of the presentation. Showing this visually can help to get your team on track, which is important if you are not the sole person responsible for putting a presentation together.

4) Structure your presentation:

Continuity is important in a good movie. If the structure wobbles or breaks with tangents and dead-ends then the audience will become confused and their attention lost. Set the scene. Establish your themes and key messages. Structure your presentation with a beginning, middle and end, and follow this rule so that your presentation doesn’t become disjointed.

5) Audience:

The visuals and design of a film aimed at horror movie fans would obviously be vastly different to a film aimed at children. You need to know your audience and do your research before you start designing your slides. A presentation for a board of directors would be approached in a very different way to one aimed at university students.

6) Dialogue:

If the storyline is well executed and visuals are effective, a movie can get away with some scenes with no dialogue. In a well designed presentation the visuals will speak for themselves and won’t require text on the screen. What you say is vital. Use language that is easy to understand (and speak clearly of course). Conversational language is more authentic and arguably more convincing. Don’t use language that doesn’t come naturally to you – it won’t feel authentic.

7) Editing:

After filming is complete a movie undergoes a strict editing process, and so should your presentation. Run through the full slide deck (as a slideshow) to check for any errors, and cut out any slides that don’t benefit your message.

You may not produce award winning presentations every time (there aren’t many contests in this category!) but follow these rules and we are confident that your next presentation will make you a star in the office.