Hey Campers – it’s Movie Night and we hope you brought your sweatshirt.

PICTURE THIS: You’re in your seat, the lights dim, the lion roars, the anticipation builds, and suddenly you are swept away by the captivating storytelling and flawless acting.

Sounds like your average business presentation, doesn’t it?

If only!

But we can all learn helpful tips from Hollywood that can make our low(er) budget presentations more interesting and, dare we say, worthwhile.

So have a seat and enjoy your popcorn while we explore the art of crafting a blockbuster presentation using movies as a metaphor.

Start with a Captivating Hook: Not “Captain Hook,” captivating hook. You’ve heard us talk about the Prime Time of any speech or presentation: the first 90 seconds. It used to be three minutes, then two minutes, and now we’re down to 90 seconds. Thanks, COVID!

Just as a movie begins with an attention-grabbing opening scene, your presentation needs a captivating hook. Engage your audience right from the start with a thought-provoking question, a compelling statistic, or an intriguing anecdote. You’ll create anticipation, setting the stage for what’s to come and drawing your audience into your presentation.

Craft a Clear and Memorable Plot: Every successful movie has a throughline that keeps viewers engaged throughout. Spend some time identifying your key message points and over-arching objective that will help create a logical flow of ideas. Use storytelling techniques to create a narrative that resonates with your audience and makes them care. See last post for storytelling tips.

Create Memorable Characters: In movies, memorable characters bring depth and relatability to the story. Your supporting characters can be case studies, testimonials, examples, analogies, quotes – anything that enhances your narrative and adds credibility to your message.

Incorporate Dramatic Moments: Aristotle called these Emotional Appeals. Emotions play a vital role in getting your audience to align with your point of view, and, to act on your recommendations or requests.

One of our clients oversees fundraising for an international refugee support organization and if she minimizes the emotional connection when making a pitch to donors – actually making her audience feel something – the number of donations decreases. A well-placed personal story (or, in her case, a story of a refugee who recently moved to the area) can create an emotional connection with your audience, making your message resonate long after the presentation ends.

Maintain a Steady Pace: In movies, pacing is crucial to maintain audience engagement. Similarly, in your presentation, aim for a dynamic pace that keeps your audience involved. Don’t get bogged down in a section just because you think it’s the be-all-end-all.  We promise you, your audience doesn’t see it that way, and if there are senior leaders in the room, they will hijack your presentation and take it in a different direction just because they’re bored.

End Strong (we were going to say “Climactic Finish” but that seemed inappropriate): Summarize your key message, reinforce your call-to-action, and leave your audience with a memorable takeaway. Consider incorporating a powerful closing statement to inspire further engagement. What doesn’t inspire an audience? This: “Thanks…any questions?”

Movie Night’s over. Back to your cabins.