July 18, 2019

The Kalibrr Design Storytelling Presentation Framework

We use this presentation framework to influence major stakeholders around redesigns, product strategy, and important things like user research reports.

The truth about being a designer is that we should be master communicators. Validated hi-fi prototypes are cool, but our real job is to take it from artifact to shipped product. This is where stories come in.

Stories can inspire, provoke new thought, change mindsets, and most importantly, influence the product.

When we tell great stories, we give the final push for our work to take flight and to elevate to higher standards.


1. Beginning the presentation.

Say a sentence or two of why you’re giving the presentation in the first place. What is the biggest why?

2. Show the agenda.

Show the outline of the presentation. Walk the stakeholders through what you’re going to talk about. Give them what to expect, so there are no surprises.

Laura Ang and Cwenne Chua listening to Zjan present about Agile.

3. Create context by telling a story of the problem.

What is the backstory?

Paint the picture of the problem. Why should people care? Who are the users involved? What metrics are we moving? What happens if we choose not to solve this?

In building the problem storyline, show relevant quantitative and qualitative data that demonstrates that it is a real problem.

List out all the reasons why, then pick your artifacts.

Carefully curate testimonials, anecdotes, interview outtakes, user research shareouts, NPS, number of QA issues, metric data, website analytics, to create a compelling reason why this problem must absolutely be solved. Pick your poison.

Only then will you capture the attention of your listeners. A well-defined problem is both emotional and rational, while staying incredibly empathetic to the needs of the audience.

4. Present your solution.

State your value proposition. Show your vision. Demo your prototype.

Make it easy for the audience to see how it will make life easier for them and how it can benefit them. Demonstrate how aligned your work is in terms of business, UX, engineering, or marketing goals.

Riel Reyes has been investing a lot of time recently learning how to present.

Show the depth of your problem-solving skills by articulating your design process. How does it solve the problem? How did you come up with this answer? What were your design decisions? What trade-offs did you make?

Make it compelling.

In what format can you present the work in an inspiring way? Control their senses through captivating visuals, motion, and sound.

Ultimately, your solution should answer the problem.

5. Close it STRONG.

If you’ve done the problem-solution discussion well, this is the best chance for you to influence your audience.

Have an action plan that shows you have considered the consequences of your solution. How does it affect other departments? What are the next steps? What is one thing we can do to move the project forward?

Put your learnings into words. What did the project teach you about how we can be more successful as a company? What key takeaways can you share that will provoke thought with your audience?

How can we be better as a team?

Mark is a natural communicator. He is essential in identifying gaps in the presentation and giving feedback about delivery.

Kalibrr Presentation Standards

1. The success of the presenter is the responsibility of the whole team.

Team members take substantial notes, will co-refine outlines with the presenter, record audio, and give critical feedback. We are there to provide emotional support and motivation. No matter what, we are the number one fans of the presenter.

2. Deliberate practice is key.

The presenter must block out a meaningful amount of time to rehearse the presentation. No one should wing any presentation. We take pride in understanding that outstanding presentations take time to mold, and is a result of a collaborative effort to elevate the standards of communication.

Riel Reyes is about to deliver a major presentation, and he prepares for it thrice a week.

3. Regular critique of content and delivery before presentation day.

The rigor of constant presentation is key. The presentation is rehearsed 2–3 times a week, often several weeks before the actual presentation day.

In terms of content, we determine if the slides are cohesive and logical, the problem presented is compelling enough, and if the artifact that demonstrates the solution is spellbinding.

In terms of delivery, we gently point out issues that stop the speaker from delivering a credible presentation. We sort it out, practice it, and work together to form an elegant and articulate communication style.

Dexter, Our COO, is one of the staunchest critics of presentations that aren’t foolproof. We do our best to make him proud!

4. Understand your audience.

There is nothing more important than understanding our audience. We understand the potential quirks of each person, what they personally care about, anticipate possible questions, and address these individually in our preparation.

We make sure that all audience member expectations are taken care of, no matter what their level, function, and motivations are. The true mark of a great presenter is about understanding what matters to their audience, and stitching together a compelling story that solves their problem.

The greatest gift we can give our audience is to deliver visionary presentations.

Design is definitely not about pixel pushing. It’s about working together to form products that solve real world problems. However, you can’t move forward with your design direction when you cannot communicate well. That is why, the ability to tell great stories that move people to action is imperative.

Great stories build great products.

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