How to Make Your Presentation as Delicious as Sushi


  1. It must educate the audience on something new
  2. It must entertain the audience to keep their interest
  3. It must inspire the audience to take some action

I recently watched (and rewatched) the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi. It’s a fascinating look into the life of Jiro Ono, the now 89-year-old Japanese gentleman considered to be the greatest sushi chef in the world. Not only did the film educate me in the complex art of making sushi, it also entertained me with personal stories from the characters and some beautiful footage of uber-fresh seafood and the bustling streets of Tokyo. Lastly, the film served up a very inspirational message in the form of Jiro’s own key to success: choose one thing, and dedicate the rest of your life to mastering that one thing. I have since taken steps to refine the focus of my own work. 

After watching the film, it occurred to me that presentations are just like documentaries. A presentation must also educate, entertain, and inspire.

Most presenters stop after the first step – they purely aim to educate. This alone won’t suffice. By ignoring the other two ingredients, presenters only succeed in sending their audiences into a deep, peaceful sleep. Had Jiro Dreams of Sushi focused solely on spewing information about sushi-making, it likely would not have been long before I lost interest (I don’t currently have any aspirations of becoming a sushi chef). But, thankfully, the film took those extra two steps to get me truly invested in the viewing experience.

Here’s some good news: it’s really easy to entertain and inspire audiences. Tell people about the aha moment that made you launch your company, conduct that research study, or create your new product. Talk about your failures and lessons learned. Share that powerful quote you have taped to your bathroom mirror at home. Use funny pictures of babies or cats instead of that cheesy corporate clipart when making your points. The list goes on.

So what’s the moral of this story? Never forget to entertain and inspire people just as much as, if not more than, you educate them. Following this rule will leave your audiences happy and hungry for more.

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