April 6, 2022

How to improve a presentation with storytelling?

Storytelling provides a structure that helps deliver an impactful message that would make a mark. To do this, we will set up a context, identify a problem, and bring a solution.

When doing a presentation, it is essential to capture people's attention. Due to our short attention span, we can use storytelling to educate about a problem that needs a solution, making it easier to understand. Storytelling also provides a structure that helps deliver an impactful message that would make a mark. To do this, we will set up a context, identify a problem, and bring a solution.


On January 9, 2007, Steve Jobs introduced the first-ever iPhone at Macworld. It seems like yesterday, right? Its success is evident in how we still see iPhone 13 up today and Apple users' ever-enduring loyalty to the brand. The remarkable thing about his presentation was his ability to convince the audience of the value of a never seen product. How did this make all the difference?

Storytelling creates an emotional connection with the audience. And we are aware of how much emotions play into consumers' behaviours. Audiences and consumers today are highly driven by personal connections to brands. Consumers mostly make decisions based on feeling rather than rational thinking.

Brand storytelling is a powerful tool that enables us to share ideas and emotions, connect with others & establish a common ground. Steve Jobs was able to do that on point.


First, we introduce readers or the audience to a specific context—the current situation and the general status quo. Like in stories, you lay down the setting, the plot, and the characters. For Apple, it was 2007 when technology was present but still has a lot of potential, and the characters? Us consumers.

Steve Jobs set up this context by going into an account of how Apple, which has now been more than 40 years in the industry successfully, was able to continuously introduce an evolving line of revolutionary products that shaped and changed users' behaviours and lifestyles. In telling their history, we then understand the development of technology as we know it and why we have the problems we do in the first place.

They founded the company in 1976. Eight years later, they released Macintosh, a line of desktop personal computers that made them the 2nd largest manufacturer of PCs in the following decade. In 2001, they introduced us to their portable multimedia players, the iPods. And that time in 2007, they finally launched the iPhone.


Before telling the story's conflict, we must first find out about it. We can achieve this through research. Still, we won't talk to our audience about user experience and other tech jargon. We frame the conflict from their perspective. Apple did it by determining the problems users had at the time—bulky pockets due to multiple devices, always needing to sit down on your PC, and always searching for your stylus.

Jobs then introduced iPhone as the device that was able to integrate three critical features that Apple found to be relevant to their users' needs:

  1. iPod
  2. Phone
  3. Internet

These things being very separate entities at the time, were a default. However, the introduction of the iPhone opened us, users, to a whole new level of convenience packed into a 5-inch device.


Here is where you say the happy ending. After knowing, telling, and empathizing with the users' struggles and pain points, tell them how to solve them. And here comes the iPhone—Steve Jobs' solution to the problems he presented and the final element to complete his story.

At the time, most phones had a plastic keyboard attached, which removed 50% UI space. Touch screens often require a stylus.

Apple solved it with a multi-touch screen, a highly-advanced technology at that time.

Small devices had small software had limited the capacity & function of apps. To be productive and have the tools they need, they must use their personal computers.

iPhone solved it with IOS, which included Email, Browser, an "iPod" multimedia player, Google Maps, Youtube, Calendar, Stocks, and more.

People would carry an iPod & a mobile phone separately because of limited technology. This additional need to carry multiple devices proved to be inconvenient.

iPhone solved it with iTunes & the memory card. Integrating multiple features rolled into one made up for a one-of-a-kind user experience at the time.

The lesson learned

It's easy to get lost on technical features when comparing products/services. As creators and developers, I get how there is always the urge to geek out about what we did. However, most of our users' decisions are emotional and irrational.

Every person & every brand has a story to tell. People are interested in your account, not the list of complex features you built (and what it can do for them). Brands that can communicate meaningful solutions to the audience will most likely develop stronger relationships, and that's why we are patrons of the Apple ecosystem.