A lot has changed about how the world communicates. It used to be that few people were brave enough to stand in front of a crowd. But now, with the advancement of technology, more training available at our fingertips, and an increase in the number of meetings on any given day, there are millions of speakers in the place of thousands. Naturally, this has shifted how the world presents, too. The need for presentations will never go away, but there are many moving minds, and even more moving parts. It’s important to adapt and adjust so that you can tell your story more effectively.
In order to stand out, speakers need a more powerful initial impact for their live presentation and a longer shelf life for their materials stored online. They will have to become more hybrid in the sense that they can present both thought leadership and run an executive meeting. With the presentation industry shifting to a more on-demand service, public speakers need to move quicker and be more versatile. Gone are the days of spending hours on presentations— it’s time to pivot.
Mike Wittenstein, a former IBM eVisionary and digital agency founder, started Storyminers in 2002. This consulting/creative firm helps leaders turn their strategies into stories. They convert dry, numeric, and hard-to-relate-to plans into stories that enter the brain at its emotional center. With the right story, employees, investors, partners, and even customers can see what proposed changes have in store for them, and become part of making them real. Mike and his team have worked with over 800 established clients worldwide, helping them navigate challenges like pandemics, digital transformation, new products and services, and changing client demands. As such, he understands the importance of storytelling through presentations. From keynote speeches, client deliverables, workshop assets, pitches, and marketing collateral, the Storyminers team is constantly helping executives and teams turn strategies into profoundly human stories.
Evolving in the digital world
Communications and technology are always evolving, especially in today’s environment, but nailing your narrative should always be a constant. This is true for a business plan, a presentation, and everything in between. “It’s important to think before you design,” Mike says, “Everything starts with a story.” It helps to know your audience, the effect you're hoping to deliver, and what your story arc will be before you can really get started on the physical deck. Once you have your story down, Mike suggests you pick 2 or 3 “ahas” that you’re working towards. Ramping up to each key point is the key to engaging the audience. These are the types of things Mike helps his clients accomplish at Storyminers.
Storyminers’ philosophy is that the star of the presentation is always your customer; the presenter is never the hero. Mike quotes Maya Angelou, “People won’t remember what you said or what you did, they’ll remember how you made them feel.” Understanding the customer’s focus helps you know where to steer your presentation. Keeping the customer in mind while you craft and share your story is the secret sauce for a successful delivery.
Beautiful.ai helps Storyminers’ clients to pivot
Presentations are an integral part of Storyminers’ day-to-day, so finding the right tool has been important for the team. Both helping clients craft their story, and telling his own, Mike creates about two presentations a week and is in the tool every day. Before discovering Beautiful.ai, he used Prezi. About his early experience with it, he said, “You had to muscle everything from the ground up, place everything where it belonged, and build each transition yourself— it took too long, was hard to see in advance, and difficult to navigate your way in a larger presentation.”
Mike heard about Beautiful.ai through the grapevine and was interested in trying a new tool. He liked the design aspect, but ultimately stayed for the efficiency. “Switching to Beautiful.ai saved me at least ⅔ of production time,” Mike said. The Smart Slides allowed him to experiment with new templates, and try new ways to present his ideas, while remaining on brand. “It made it easy to share what I saw in my head,” Mike explained, “and helped structure my thinking with the templates. When you have limited choices, it helps you to be more creative.” He added that having the option of a gallery view forced him to write better to ensure his language flowed well from slide to slide.
Beautiful.ai has been instrumental in helping Mike clarify his own thinking, create pitches, and generate content for websites or social media. And, of course, Storyminers’ clients responded well to the minimalist approach to design. The ability to create beautiful presentations in a fraction of the time allows Storyminers to help more clients pivot successfully and deliver their signature stories.