Storytelling in PowerPoint presentations

Storytelling is on everyone’s lips. Storytelling in PowerPoint presentations is also being used more and more frequently. Fascinating stories around the presentation topic should touch the audience emotionally and reinforce your messages. There are some basic elements of a good story that we would like to introduce to you.  

Good stories are always well received. We have been telling each other stories for millennia. Some are for pure entertainment, but some also convey important information or instructions for action. It is important to tell the story in a way that is entertaining, understandable and comprehensible. There are a few tried and true elements to this that have hardly changed since the dawn of mankind. 

As old as mankind: the heroic story  

If you think of ancient tales like Odysseus or the Saga of Arthur when you think of heroic stories, you’re not wrong. But let us turn to the basic structure of these stories. Because we can use them just as much for your storytelling in PowerPoint presentations.   

These hero stories have the following elements: 

  1. An acting person, the “hero”, 
  2. This person has a goal,  
  3. To achieve this goal, he must work hard, overcome challenges, resolve conflicts. 

These conflicts can take the following forms: 

  • Inner conflict: the person is stuck and does not know what to do, 
  • Personal conflict: He has a conflict  with the boss, the competition, a customer, etc. 
  • External conflict: A conflict with its environment, institutions, laws of nature.  

The hero stories can be divided into three chapters: 

Chapter  1: Description of the initial situation. Who is the “hero”? Is he perhaps the managing director, head of the development department or sales manager at company X?  

Chapter 2: Now the problems are described. What does the protagonist have to struggle with? What challenges does he have to solve? What did he try out?  

Chapter 3: The solution is described (e.g. the company’s product or service) that eliminates all problems and leads to the desired goal. 

This is, so to speak, the classic basic framework, also for storytelling in PowerPoint presentations. The hero-problem-solution triad, for example, is well suited to providing a company’s solutions with an emotional frame narrative.  

What else is there besides the “Hero’s Journey”? 

1. the before and after comparison 

This variant also has a strong persuasive power. First, the initial situation is presented,   then the improved condition is explained and subsequently the solution is presented that has brought about this improved condition. 

2. the V-formula according to Lieber 

Here, too, there is a 3-act structure. But in this variant, the hero almost fails and, like some kind of phoenix-from-the-ashes, is able to solve the problem after all. This variant very much exacerbates the problem and the crisis. The solution is thereby once again particularly strongly charged with energy according to the motto: It was practically impossible, but we did it. 

3. the  story formula according to Carnegie 

Here, the focus is on personal crisis management. The hero describes a difficult problem from his own  perspective. The measures that led to the solution of the problem are described afterwards. At the end, the benefits of the solution are explained and in a way that the audience can see the benefit for themselves.  

4. the contrast between actual and vision according to Darte 

Here, the vision of an ideal state is described first. Then you explain that the vision has become a reality through the solution of your own company. First of all, a not very pleasant actual state is described. Then follows the vision of what a world would be like in which this condition is dissolved. Finally, the solution that makes this possible is presented. 

5. the golden circle according to Sinef 

This narrative approach is useful, for example, when dealing with fire buildup. The mission of a company is targeted. Why does the company exist? The second part tells how the company fulfills its mission. And the third part uses concrete examples to explain what the company does.   

Conclusion: With a well-considered structure of your story, you have all chances to inspire your audience and to convince them on the emotional level.