Convince in your presentation with a before and after comparison

Every speaker wants to be as convincing as possible with his presentation. The better the presentation of the facts and the argumentation strands are structured, the easier it will be for you to win the audience over to your arguments. Particularly effective is the comparison of a state before an event with the state afterwards. Advertising has been using this tool with success for decades. A before and after comparison works just as well in a presentation.

Before and after comparison as a popular principle

Advertising and the tabloid press very often work with a before-and-after comparison. How often have we seen advertisements of some diets showing how a corpulent, unimpressive person has turned into a dynamic and youthful-looking person with a dream body after applying a diet. The same principle uses almost every detergent advertising. Before that, the laundry stares so dirty that you want to dispose of it as hazardous waste. But just a few drops or beads of a detergent makes the clothes shine again as if they came fresh from the boutique. Even the voyeur in us is tempted to look at the snapshots that show the famous Hollywood star without makeup or toupee or after a drug crash.

Of course, we know that advertising and the press like to exaggerate excessively. And yet we allow ourselves to be a bit impressed by it. A before and after comparison can simply make differences visible in a very striking and easily comprehensible way. We can also make use of this effect for the presentation.

The before and after comparison is useful, for example, when you need to present balance sheets. Savings or gains can be effectively highlighted using this method, of course only if the difference is truly remarkable. Instead of hiding the differences in tables or pie charts, you can impress your audience by donating an extra PowerPoint slide for the comparison: “Here you can see the amount we used to have to invest annually to run our plant. And here you can see how much we save per year after modernization.”

The If-Then Comparison as a Variant of the Before-After Comparison

You can also move a comparison into the future and use it for an impressive forecast. This way you use an additional variant, the if-then comparison. This allows you to present future scenarios in a way that makes the urgency of your argument or recommendation particularly easy to understand.

To begin, describe the current as-is state. Then explain what steps need to be taken now. Following this, explain what will happen if nothing is done. Finally, you could return to the measures you presented and outline the benefits of following your suggestions and how further hesitation would further adversely change the current state.

You can also use the if-then comparison when unpopular actions need to be taken. Savings, discontinuation of business units or staff reductions are topics that are always sensitive and unpopular. Nevertheless, there are situations in which harsh cuts seem unavoidable. Here you can use the principle of before and after comparison to show what will happen if no action is taken and what would happen if the plan you presented is implemented. This allows you to illustrate that while the planned changes will be painful, without this change of course, an even greater disaster looms.


Whenever you should use a before and after comparison in your presentation, remember that you can use it to highlight or emphasize facts. Nevertheless, you should remain credible and not gamble away the trust of your audience with excessive exaggerations.

Portrait of Trainer Matthias Garten - Expert for Presentations and PowerPointDipl.-Wirtsch.-Informatiker Matthias Garten as the expert for multimedia presentations and professional PowerPoint presentations knows about the art of professional slide design. He is an entrepreneur, speaker (TOP 100 Speaker), trainer (TOP 100 Excellence Trainer), multiple book author, presentation coach (presentation training), member of the GSA and Club 55, organizer of the Presentation Conference, Presentation Bootcamp and Presentation Rocket Day. In addition to PowerPoint and presentation training, he inspires and advises companies to present themselves even more effectively and thus stand out from competitors. He is the business owner of the presentation and PowerPoint agency smavicon Best Business Presentations and with his team has created over 15,000 professional PowerPoint presentations for over 150 industries since 1993.