How to Create Great B2B Presentations

This past week I spoke at the MarketingProfs B2B Forum in Boston, and one of the keynote speakers was Nancy Duarte. Her presentation about presentations was very inspiring. I speak a fair amount at conferences and events and I usually create a new presentation for each event. My mostly visual presentations are filled with information, examples and ways to accomplish things.

The main point of Nancy’s presentation was that we need to use story and structure to convey our ideas to achieve change. Whether you are looking to change the world, as Steve Jobs and Martin Luther King were in her examples, or you are convincing a room full of communicators that it is worth their time to invest in social media, as I often do, it can be done with the right kind of presentation.

The message for B2B marketers, who are used to bullet point-laden decks where the only visual excitement is when each bullet point zooms onto the screen, is that they need to focus on the idea and what action they want the audience to take. It might be a sales presentation to a prospect. It might be an internal lunch and learn. It could even be a project summary for your boss. Before you begin creating the slides, determine what action you want your audience to take after hearing your idea. By using Nancy’s structure of repeatedly showing them the future with your idea in place, they will begin to own the idea themselves and go forth to change the world. Or at least their small portion of it.

If you have recently been inspired, whether to create better presentations, or some other aspect of your marketing efforts, we would love to hear about it in the comments.

Below is Nancy’s presentation from TEDx, which is a shorter version of the talk I saw earlier this week.

And here’s a link to Nancy’s latest book, Resonate.


  1. says

    Marketing and differentiation success can be measured by what is remembered after a presentation. Who can forget Nancy Duarte’s presentation model depicted on her slide? A simple graphic with abundant explanation.

    I am always inspired by a presentation that starts with a word or a phrase and captures my attention with a story. Working in a company where the engineers are mesmerized by detail in a block diagram can often lead to more and more detail in presentations. That is the world that I live in. The reality is that most of our audience will benefit from shorter, simpler presentations that are memorable.

    I look forward to continuing the drum beat for what will be remembered, rather than what can be crammed on a slide. Thanks to Nancy for the reminder. BTW, Jeffrey Cohen’s slides often contain one word and an image; accompanied by awesome content.

  2. says

    It’s great to see a TED speech on this topic! I’m always so surprised with feedback we get after presenting to a B2B client. They’re always impressed with the fact that our presentations tell a story and aren’t just words and bullets. When in fact, I think this kind of presentation is much easier for the creator to create. Story telling is always powerful, no matter the audience.

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