Building a product presentation is a lot like writing a book…

That word either sent a shiver of dread down your spine or you’re a product manager.

Building “decks” seems to be something most product people can’t avoid. Not because you’re like me and you “think” in PowerPoint, but because you spend your days trying to take complex ideas and plans and get a lot of people to buy in. If you want to learn how to do this better, there are tons of advice out there, so I’m not going to focus on that today.

Instead, I want to talk about the reason why you might find PowerPoint a useful tool … the idea that you need to sell your idea. Product presentations are different than a lot of other types of presentations. These are not “an inform” or “data sharing” vehicles. Instead, a product presentation should be an emotional journey that leaves your audience invested in the problem of your market and the value of your solution. Because of that, I’ve found that thinking like an author helps me create that environment.

Be a Storyteller

Sure, you’ve spent months on this product. You and your designers have reams of customer research and you’ve tested the crap out of it. Your engineers are stoked because they’ve implemented the newest, coolest, most elegant technologies known to humankind.

You should all be proud of your work and excited to share it with the world. With that said, don’t assume people will know what you’re talking about or that they will even care.

Using the “story model”, you can get them engaged and create that emotional connection you want.

The traditional story arc

You can take this same structure and overlay all the components of your product discovery and strategy.

As you can see, you hit all the important topics you would have normally covered, but with this structure, you help bring the audience along and address the important “What’s In It For Me?” question in everyone’s mind.

Obviously, this isn’t only useful for building a product presentation, the same way that PowerPoint is the only way you would share your product’s value, but I found it helps kick start the whole thought process for going to market.