How to Plan Your Presentations for Effective Results

Staying Simple for Success

We’ve all been forced to sit through painfully boring business presentations. They are often dry, data-driven, and entirely forgettable.

Be honest: When was the last time you created something outside that mold?

Janine Kurnoff is an expert at crafting exciting, authentic, and memorable business presentations. She reminds us that it’s all about putting story first. By using a simple story arc, you can make your presentations pop with authentic audience connection, compelling data, and a message worth remembering.

Janine shares tactics to avoid our focused obsession with PowerPoint, how you can find the story in anything, why staying authentic is so important, and why we have to train our storytelling muscles with lots of practice.

In This Episode

  • Why your presentations need to start with basic storytelling techniques
  • How to use PowerPoint and visual aids as support for your stories
  • Why storytelling is a muscle that needs to be exercised
  • How to stay fresh and authentic to make a meaningful connection with your audience
  • Why data is important, but not everything, in a well-rounded presentation
  • How to take dry material and make it engaging and compelling


Quotes From This Episode

“We need to power down to power up.” @JanineKurnoff (highlight to tweet)

“Drop the PowerPoint. Close your laptops. Start with your story first.” —@JanineKurnoff

“I think any presentation without a theme is pretty incoherent.” —@JanineKurnoff (highlight to tweet)

“Those that really connect with the audience are authentic. They use everyday language. They don’t talk in jargon. They often paint a picture of their message, whether that is through language and words or through visuals and imagery. Ultimately, they follow a very simple storytelling structure which you and your viewers or listeners are so familiar with. Setting, character, conflict resolution. I only noticed that over time as I listened and I observed and I saw. This isn’t random. They actually are following a classic story arc.” —@JanineKurnoff

“I truly believe we are all innate storytellers.” @JanineKurnoff (highlight to tweet)

You can have your data, but you need to wrap it in a story. Otherwise, it’s just facts.@JanineKurnoff

“We as communicators are told to rise up and tell stories and communicate and be strategic, yet we’re not always armed with the skills to know how to do that.” —@JanineKurnoff

“Somehow along the way, when we get into the business world, we put the storytelling hat in all of us away. We seal that box, and then we open up the PowerPoint box.” —@JanineKurnoff

“While I want to say yes we’re all innate storytellers, I think that it needs to be practiced. If we don’t practice it, like any muscle that doesn’t get used, it’s hard to make it real and natural in the moment.” —@JanineKurnoff


  • Janine Kurnoff
  • Janine Kurnoff on Twitter, @JanineKurnoff
  • The Presentation Co.
  • Lee Lazarus
  • PowerPoint
  • Nirvana Technologies
  • The Hero’s Journey,” by Joseph Campbell
  • Your DIY Guide to Crafting and Telling Compelling Brand Stories that Sell,” by Park Howell

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