Better Business Presentations With The Journey Metaphor

How to define a destination for your presentation

You have clarified your intention and you have written a purpose for your presentation. Now you are ready to go plan your journey. In coaching, this is called going from Point A to Point B. Point A is where you start your presentation and Point B is the end of your presentation. When successful, Point B is the realisation of the purpose you have written above.

I think of a presentation as a journey. Imagine you are planning a vacation. Along the way you are going to stop off and enjoy the local sights, sounds and food. We are going to look more at the “stop off” points in step 3, but for now think about what kind of journey your presentation might be.

If your purpose is to inform, your journey may be very organised like a train journey. Three stops then we get off.

If your purpose is to influence, you may need to create a more beautiful destination. How will you describe the final stop to make it sound more appealing?

If your purpose is to motivate, perhaps you need to deliver the message with more energy and enthusiasm than usual. This is called “selling yourself on the idea before you sell others”. Do you really believe what you are saying?

If your purpose is to propose or differentiate, you need to make a comparison between different options. How will you compare the choices? Advantages and disadvantages, pros and cons.

If your purpose is to request or ask for a decision, have you made the proposal as clear and simple as possible?

This exercise is more to flex your imagination and stimulate your thinking for the presentation. Spend a few minutes thinking about your presentation as a journey, what ideas or metaphors comes to mind. Can you share any experiences you have had that might be useful to share with the audience?


  • I could use my experience of spending a month on the trains of Europe when I was a teenager if my presentation touches on exploring, seeking adventures, or trying out new things.
  • I could use my time travelling American flying on a cheap one-month, unlimited flight pass by connecting it to thinking big, making things happen or being creative.
  • I could use my Ironman journey as a metaphor to present a process or system, or bring out qualities like discipline, overcoming obstacles and self-leadership.
  • I could use my journey in developing Toastmasters in China as a metaphor for taking risks, overcoming apathy, self-belief, living to values and teamwork.
  • I could talk about how I overcame my struggles with shyness to become a professional speaker.

Practice It
Take the example you have written above for your purpose, and close your eyes and let your mind wander. Think about your presentation as a journey. Start at the end and let your thoughts drift back to the start of your presentation. What ideas or metaphors come to mind? What journey does your presentation need to take?

Warwick John Fahy is author of The One Minute Presenter: 8 steps to successful business presentations in a short attention span world. Read Warwick’s blog and download an e-version of The One Minute Presenter at

Warwick is Asia’s leading business presentation coach working with business leaders who need to influence clients, investors, shareholders and team members. His results-driven approach and deep cross cultural understanding make him a sought after business presentation coach throughout Asia. Download a free report “10 Warning Signs Your Leaders Lack Executive Presence” at

Copyright 2012 Warwick John Fahy All rights reserved.

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