Presentations are the best opportunity for your company to form a human connection between its teams and with clients. If they are done ineffectively - too long, difficult to understand, or boring - your message can get lost. This creates misunderstandings and frustration that are difficult to solve, and it could be a loss to your business. Rob Willis, a presentation skills and storytelling trainer, works with companies from all over the globe and gives their teams the tools they need to communicate effectively. He works primarily with companies in tech and fintech branches and uses stories and story-driven communication as a better way to communicate with their clients and helps internally to motivate their teams as well.

In this episode, we talk about presentation skills, storytelling, the common goals a speaker has with marketers, rehearsing, knowing your audience, and audience roles.

The common goals

Rob shares with us that he draws most of his inspiration about public speaking from the theory of marketing. Not surprisingly, speakers are trying to do the same thing as marketers. Besides, marketing is a powerful resource to draw from in any kind of communication.

Both are trying to persuade people, get their attention and show them that this is the right path for them by showing them value. A speech needs to do and consider the same things.

Knowing your audience

Rob advises to ask yourself what are the practical things that you ask the audience to do or that you help them do. In this way, you get a better sense of who you are speaking to.

As people rarely think about the audience, just this one step would put you ahead of everyone else. Put yourself in their shoes and define what their problem is. Is the problem you defined the opposite of the solution you are offering them?

Defining the problem

Many of Rob’s clients think their main difficulty is they do not know how to give their presentations well. But that is not their real problem. Their real problem is their audience is not engaged.

You are typically only talking to 3 or 4 types of people regularly, and you can develop a kind of avatars and build upon them. With this, you improve your craft and naturally become a better presenter because you recognize your audience.

Audience roles

In your audience, more often than not, there are people who have different roles. You have to adapt and make sure that your presentation skills engage them.

Rob deals with this depending on the situation. For example, if it is a pitch presentation, does it matter if the other startup people understand you fully? It matters most for the investors in the room to understand you, and you have to focus on them.

You can also try to adapt to several audiences, but that would only dilute your effect as you would have to think about your language and what you talk about on more than one front.

Have a call to action

You want to have a process that you can follow and then rinse and repeat the formula. You need to define your call to action.

It has to be a relatively small thing like downloading an app or booking a meeting with the team. Ask yourself what kind of thing people need to know to take that action. How do they have to be persuaded to do it?

Predefine your structure for persuasion

Even pop songs follow that kind of structure, and it helps make your work easier. If you have it, then you can think about your message.

Rob suggests that it is best to have your central idea in one sentence with ten words or fewer that sums up your presentation. If you can put in that one sentence your solution plus the progress of your audience, you have your goal clear.


The moment you deliver your presentation should not be the first time you say it out loud. “The actual defining factor at how good you are with something is the number of hours you have practiced,” Rob says.


You can connect with Rob Willis on his LinkedIn or his personal website.

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