So we’ve come to the end of an emotionally charged season of Breaking Bad, not only the season but the entire story of Walter White and his blue meth. As we watched or are about to watch (no spoilers here) the final events unfold, have you thought about why you are hooked? Could following the Breaking Bad formula improve your presentations?

So what’s the secret? I think there are three things that make films, television shows and presentations great: stories, characters and cliff hangers.

Great stories

Storytelling helps keep people interested and helps them relate to your presentation emotionally. Instead of just hitting people with statistics, add some individual stories or anecdotes to get the key messages across. A personal story that backs up the data will have a greater impact than just the graphs alone. Keep your stories short, relevant, and include characters people will care about. Speaking of characters…

Great characters

Walter White was a fantastic character to watch. As an audience we can relate to Walt and understand what’s driving him – even if we don’t agree with his actions. When preparing a presentation Include relatable characters. Doing this will help your audience hook onto the stories and messages you are presenting. If you demonstrate an understanding of what’s driving your audience (a need to reduce costs, increase sales, whatever) and they can relate to you, they will connect with you. You’ll have a much better chance of getting your message across if you give the audience access to your character.

Cliff hangers

I don’t know about you but those mid-season breaks kept me wanting more, along with the slow reveals and flash forwards throughout Breaking Bad – keeping me guessing and waiting for answers. Keeping people on the edge of their seats is a great way to keep an audience engaged and paying attention. Take a tip from TV, don’t be too keen to show everything off at once – hold something back, and control the flow of information – you’ll have your audience in the palm of your hand.

This is especially relevant when talking about bullet points. If you put all your points on your slide, your audience reads ahead and when you deliver your punchline, it’s lost all its impact – think about how the season finale of Breaking Bad would have changed had you known what was going to happen the whole time. For help removing your bullet points, head over here.

I’m sure there are plenty of other techniques we can borrow from our favourite shows, why not share your tips from TV in the comments below.

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Written by

Karl Parry

Operations manager

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