Leadership Resources

Leadership Resources from the Carlson Executive MBA Program

What the Best Presenters Do Differently by Carmine Gallo (HBR)

Carmine Gallo illustrates what the best presenters do differently and uses Abraham Lincoln as an example. Lincoln could simultaneously educate, entertain, and move his audience. 

Gallo stresses that an audience enjoys consuming content in story form and presentation software gets in the way, slides should complement, not replace the storyteller: 

  • Presenters open PowerPoint. STORYTELLERS craft a narrative. 
  • Presenters use text. Storytellers love pictures.
  • Presenters dump data. Storytellers humanize it.
  • Presenters are predictable. Storytellers surprise audiences. 
  • Presenters practice silently. Storytellers rehearse out loud. 

Gallo provides a simple but effective 3 step process for presentation preparation:

  1. Write down your idea as if you are telling someone a story. Write in complete sentences with nouns, verbs, and transitions. 
  2. Storyboard your main concepts, and sketch ideas on a whiteboard
  3. Gather assets that will bring the story to life: videos, animations, graphics, or photos.