How’s Your Data-Narrative Pitch Balance?

A quick pair of (launch) presentation pointers.

A fan of Nancy Duarte, she passes on tips in pitch-craft via HBR back in July ’13.

Great presenters layer story and information like a cake, and understand that different types of talk require different ingredients.

She recommends a product launch features equal helpings of each;

Instead of covering only specs and features, focus on the value your product brings to the world.

Tell stories that show how real people will use it and why it will change their lives.

Sound, succinct advice.


This is reminiscent of a major tenet from a 2006 book, written by Terri Sjodin. New Sales Speak; the 9 biggest sales presentation mistakes and how to avoid them.

Of her Nine most heinous errors, she condemned the worst crime as “being too informative versus persuasive”.

She likened the balance a sales presentation requires to how a case is presented in a courtroom. Opening arguments, supporting evidence, closing arguments. Totally devoid of any features or benefits.

Her five characteristics for a persuasive presentation were;

  1. Be interactive
  2. Be convincing (generate awareness, state the problem, provide a solution, let them visualise change, call to action)
  3. Create a “harm” (note she uses term ‘harm’ as ‘need’ but stresses never use this word with a prospect)
  4. Provide a choice without duress
  5. Be competitive

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