Presentations are a great way to share a powerful story and messages. 

But how often do you see them done well? 

There’s a reason the phrase ‘Death by PowerPoint’ emerged. 

Too many presentations delivered were tedious and dull. 

Too many slides. Too much text on each slide. Too much fancy styling and not enough focus on the content for the audience. Not enough story. 

No surprise that the technology took the blame whilst poor presenting was let off the hook. 

Easier to grumble about a Microsoft application than discuss a lack of skill, experience or training in delivering impactful presentations. 

The Essence of Great Storytelling  

Think of a favourite book, film or TV show. They will probably have one thing in common. Strong storytelling. 

The word story on a white background written with a fountain pen

Authors, filmmakers and television programme creators know and understand their audience. A good presenter will be the same. 

Who is your presentation for? What is the purpose of the presentation? What is your audience looking for? 

Once you’ve considered the answers to those kinds of questions, it’s time to put things together. 

Your presentation is a story. It, therefore, requires a beginning, a middle and an end. 

In theory, that’s simple. In practice, many fall into a common content trap. 

Don’t Stick to One Type 

Typically, what you see in less powerful presentations is content of a certain kind. This is especially true in business. 

We see information on slides that appeals to the more functional, analytical and mathematical parts of the brain. 

The audience is presented with a story filled with facts, features, data, charts and case studies. Slides provide evidence, illustrate examples, and focus on systems or processes. 

If that’s all a presentation offers it is no wonder that it fails to go down as well as the presenter expects. 

There’s something missing with the story. 

The Missing Ingredient 

What these presentations are usually missing is content that engages the audience on an emotional level. A higher level of storytelling. 

People respond to stories that stir their emotions. Make them laugh, cry or feel something. 

There’s no rule to say you cannot bring some of this into a PowerPoint presentation. Let the slides support the storytelling. 

What kind of content are we talking about here? 

It could be the telling of a biographical or fictitious story. Or a story about someone else. 

Share an analogy, metaphor, parable or anecdote. Add a hint of humour, suspense or drama to the proceedings. Go further and make a shocking statement or put up an evocative image. 

Mix It Up 

Now you have a better set of ingredients to work with. The key is to use both types of content and blend them together. 

The data side gives the audiences the facts. The story side gets the audience more engaged in the content. 

You may not have noticed while enjoying a film or TV drama, but this is exactly what the screenwriters are doing. They are tapping into your emotions, switching and shifting the emotions. This is why we get gripped and hooked with characters, plots and our favourite series. 

You can use the same story process to improve your presentations. 

Develop Your Skills 

Telling better stories is about understanding story structure and preparing what you want to say. Then it’s a matter of practice. 

As a professional assistant, you may be more used to creating the slide deck for a presentation. But there may be times, especially as a VA with a freelance business, when you need to put something together for yourself. 

If that’s a task that fills you with dread, you may find my online Perfect PowerPoint course just the ticket. 

In another scenario, a boss or client may also ask you for feedback. Being able to give constructive criticism from a base of knowledge is helpful for all concerned. 

If you’re a frequent user of PowerPoint but find creating slides for different brands is taking up way too much time, you could work smarter using my Master the Slide Master course. 

When you know the ‘how to’ you can spend more time concentrating on creating a better story-based presentation. Good for you, good for the boss and good for your clients. 

Go on, give some life to your next engagement with PowerPoint. 

The session was well structured and the explanation was very clear. It was amazing how Shelley managed to squeeze so much info in just one hour and a half! Colin’s support and contributions were also very valuable, and so were “Virtual Veronica”‘s. Thank you for a most interesting and useful training session at the Miss Jones Virtual Summit!

Laura Carizzo- Royal Norwegian Embassy in Argentina

I haven’t used PowerPoint in 20 years, this has really boosted my confidence.

Lyn Parker

Course is packed with so much valuable information in a easy-to-understand and follow language, even for a complete beginner. I can respect the fact that sometimes it’s very hard for an expert to break the information down to basics. but Shelley has done it brilliantly. I was sure that I knew quite a bit but Shelley has proven me wrong even at the very beginning of the basics of PowerPoint. Lessons are short and precise which allowed me to easily transfer the new skill into practice without being overwhelmed and to carry on adding on more with each lesson. I had so many ‘Aha!’ moments and for most of them I couldn’t believe I used to pay graphic designer to do it for me, now, thanks to Shelley, I am looking forward to creating, designing, converting my presentations all by myself!

Iva Freeman – Vertex Human Capital

Shelley was very thorough and knew a lot of tip’s for using Teams, thank you 🙂

James O’Connor – Cavannah Homes

Very informative, constantly getting everyone in the meeting involved, loved every bit of it!

Dylan Teal Hopkins – Cavannah Homes
Fantastic and informative training and great to see all of the exciting functions with Microsoft Teams.
Laura Rigby – The Apprenticeship College
Shelley was really clear in her teaching and went at a pace that was helpful to us. We covered all we needed to know to get us started, as a small team, using MS Teams. She was also very helpful in the run up to the session, with check in calls and ensuring our platform was set up correctly. I would highly recommend Shelley to anyone wanting to learn to navigate their way around MS Teams.
Leigh Dowling – Innuous

Microsoft Teams One to One Training Session

Shelley was approachable, easy to work with, and agile with answering questions to apply the session to my specific needs

Melissa Marshall – Present Your Science

A course on Outlook had been on the top of my list when Shelley asked VA’s what they wanted to learn.

It was a real case of ‘so that’s how you do it’ or ‘I never knew that’. I have to say that I learnt so many great tips it has definitely improved the way I work in Outlook and my inbox is looking colourful and organised and I can’t wait to share this knowledge with my clients.

Jacqueline Leake – JLeake VA Services – Outlook

A great course with lots of examples and step by step instructions. I can now confidently create infographics and as a bonus, I learnt a lot of new PowerPoint functionality that will enhance all my PowerPoint work and save me so much time.

Jessica Bailey – Integral Resource

I really like Shelley’s courses. She has a clear and easy to follow teaching style. In ‘How to Create Fillable Forms’ I’ve learned about the functions of the Developer ribbon which will mean I’ll be able to create a bespoke Returns Form for a client who has an online shop

Freya Henderson – Virtual Office Orkney

Shelley was really clear in her teaching and went at a pace that was helpful to us. We covered all we needed to know to get us started, as a small team, using MS Teams. She was also very helpful in the run up to the session, with check in calls and ensuring our platform was set up correctly. I would highly recommend Shelley to anyone wanting to learn to navigate their way around MS Teams.

Sarah Clements – Inuous

Absolutely superb course, easy to follow and to refer back whilst putting it all into practice! I was unaware of the extent you can customise a presentation and it’s just made me want to know more – what’s next Shelley?

Denise Williams

I thought I had a pretty good grasp of Outlook until I did this course! In her videos, Shelley is clear and concise, and the language she uses is straightforward and jargon-free. Each module is broken down into manageable chunks, which helps keep your attention and means the course is easy to fit in around other commitments. I’ve created email templates and implemented rules that are already saving me time, and as all the other things I’ve learnt start to become second nature, the positive impact on my efficiency is fast becoming clear. This course has been incredibly beneficial and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to strengthen their skills and boost productivity.

Pip Doleman VA

I thought I knew Powerpoint really well, but I wanted to specifically learn how to use Powerpoint to create better infographics, easily and quickly. Shelley explains everything in a very logical and clear way, so I understood everything the first time I heard it. The most useful thing I learnt was that Powerpoint can do so much more than I thought it could. By also using the short cuts that Shelley showed me I am much quicker than I have ever been and I thought I was already quick!

Susan Marot

Shelley Fishel of Tomorrow’s VA has a wealth of experience in Microsoft Office. I met her in person 2 years ago at the PA Show in London. I also saw her in action in a fab workshop and knew she was the whizz that everyone had told me she was. I have since bought a lifetime access to her HUB and all the courses in there are a MUST if you are a VA on a mission. The courses will give you confidence in all the Office 365 components and will catapult you to dizzy heights

Alex Hughes