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How to tell a story in a finance presentation

Improve your presentations with one simple tactic.

You’ve probably heard that you should use storytelling in your presentations but do you know how to do that? Especially in finance. How do stories fit into a budget presentation?

Well, you could use the 3-act structure. This means you structure your presentation into 3 parts:

The set-up ➡️ The confrontation ➡️ The resolution

The set-up is where you introduce the situation to the audience. You need to tell them what the presentation is about and you might have some facts or data to share that help set the scene.

The confrontation is some sort of conflict or problem to be overcome. The set-up needs to lead into the confrontation section in a logical way. The audience needs to see the connection between the set-up and the confrontation. This is the same as in a novel, where the confrontation has to be an inevitable consequence of the set-up if it is to be believable.

The resolution is how the problem has been or can be solved or overcome.

Here’s how you could use the 3-act structure in a budget presentation:

1️⃣ The set-up summarises the current financial position, perhaps with data on actual performance versus budget

2️⃣ The confrontation are the challenges, which could be plans for growth, uncertainty about inflation and interest rates, areas where budget cuts might be needed

3️⃣ The resolution could be the proposed budget for the upcoming period or it could be a proposal for changing the methodology to be used for budget preparation.

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