Presentation Lessons from Bonfire Night

Fireworks t Disney world

Presentation lessons surrround us at every turn; whether its Halloween, Bonfire Night, Christmas or seeing in the New Year, if there is grandeur involved you can be sure their is something you can take to your next presentation.

Tonight is Bonfire Night and if you’re one of the millions wrapping up over the next couple of days to visit a professional display and just so happen to be someone who is also called upon to present their ideas from time to time watch carefully. 

Personally I don’t go to local displays much anymore because I was spoiled by the magic of Disney’s New Year’s Eve firework display a few years ago and they’ve never quite been the same since. Don’t let me put you off though as although the expense and extravagance is something you’re unlikely to see at your local display over the weekend I’m certain the pattern and lesson to be learned for presenters will be the same as it was for me in the Magic Kingdom.

The Grand Opening – your attention is captured and arrested in an instant. The organisers know full well that if they don’t seize your complete rapture at the outset you won’t be interested in what’s to follow. 

The skies are lit up in a way you’ve never seen or heard before and your attention is heightened and curiosity aroused as to what could possibly come next. 

The Display – a kaleidoscope of colour and grandeur of which you don’t want to miss a second. Everything you see and hear has an impact on you, it’s more than display it’s an experience.

The Grand Finale – just when you thought it couldn’t possibly get any better you witness a crescendo of light, sound and symmetry that is etched on your mind for some time to come. 

10 years on and I still remember those Disney fireworks as if it were yesterday. 

With Disney spending hundreds of thousands of dollars and having the benefit of some of the finest creative minds at their disposal I’m sure that some readers may consider this a riducuolous copmarison,

Ater all, all you have for your presentation is your laptop, a flip chart and you. 

Well the vision may be a little ambitious but the intention and approach is achievable for all of us when it comes to presenting; all it takes is a little imagination.

Imagine if every presentation followed the same structure that Disney and all of the incredible professional firework displays many of us will enjoy this weekend. 

The Grand Opening – your attention is captured and arrested in an instant. The presenter starts with: 

– A relevant and powerful story

– A thought provoking question or statement

– A fascinating fact, statistic or idea 

– A compelling quote

– A prop you weren’t expecting

– A journey of imagination 

– An arousal of your curiosity

–  A glimpse of the future

The Display – The presenter has your undivided attention and so now they deliver content that: 

– Is rich and totally relevant to you

– Is completely clear in its message

– Is different and compelling 

– Can’t just be sent by email 

– Can’t be ‘Googled’

– Gives you examples of what they mean to bring their message to life 

– Is in the shape of a great story 

– Makes a tangible difference to your professional or personal life 

The Grand Finale – The presenter now leaves nothing to chance. They know that their job is to create an emotional connection as well as an intellectual understanding. So far they’ve done everything they can to achieve that and they want you to remember not just understand their message. To achieve that they: 

– Reiterate their key message

– Let you know exactly what they want you to do 

– Tell a relevant and powerful story 

– Close with a thought provoking question or statement 

– Share a fascinating fact, statistic or idea linked to the message and opening 

– Offer a compelling quote

– Share their vision of what the ‘new world’ will look like 

Every presentation should be crafted as creatively and delivered as powerfully as your most memorable firework display. It should be filled with plenty of interesting, thoughtful and powerful moments designed to make a big impact. 

It’s really not that difficult if we set our minds to:

  • Open with a bang


  • Connect with our audience 


  • Deliver something big and memorable that will leave them thinking and talking about your presentation for some time


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