How to Tell Better Stories in Healthcare Presentations

by
Beth Osborne

Healthcare presentations can be a challenge. The technical content often requires explanation and can quickly fill your slides with too much text. Regardless of how much the audience knows, there is still the need for context on almost every point. Text-heavy slides, however, are a good way to put your audience into a very drowsy state.

What you need to do instead is tell a better story with your healthcare presentation. You can remove the clutter and offer more visuals to evoke a narrative. Most audiences find it hard to resist a good story, so it’s time to create one.

Illustrations and Visuals

There are many branches to the medical field but more than likely, you might be presenting on a topic that has to do with the human body and may require some illustrations or visuals of organs or body parts. These types of images are necessary to educate your audience using pictures with minimal text. Do you need to have a photograph of a real human heart? The photo might be a bit shocking to certain audiences. Consider using an illustration instead. An illustration allows the audience to follow along and gain a clear understanding of something that might otherwise require a lengthy description.

The Human Element

The most important part of your presentation is the human element. Whether you are presenting a research trial, medical breakthrough, or emerging challenge, sharing human experiences will always capture an audience’s attention more than just data. When there is a human aspect to your story, viewers are more likely to have an emotional response. This, in turn, improves recall.

Lose the Jargon Whenever Possible

Great stories aren’t filled with jargon. Some of it may be impossible to circumvent because it’s relevant to the story. But cool it with the jargon if it doesn’t add value or if you’d have to spend another five minutes explaining it to your audience. Replace jargon with clear language that reiterates the points of the story you’re writing. Medical speak doesn’t have to complicate your presentation.

Keep Their Attention Using Evidence at the Start

In any healthcare presentation, evidence is critical. Consider offering this early in your presentation by citing several successful use cases, outcomes and trials. This gives you credibility right from the start. Alternatively you can offer just one highly successful piece of evidence at the beginning to pique interest, then go into details about your product, procedure or service. Then, towards the end, return to more examples of successful uses. The point is to get your audience interested in your message so they will listen to your entire presentation. When you validate, with evidence, from the very beginning you have a better chance at doing that.


Not sure where to start with your story? It’s good to start with an outline that shows the progression of the narrative. If you’re feeling lost and want your presentation to leave an impression, consider outsourcing to KO/AD. We’re presentation specialists that have worked with healthcare organizations to boost their presentations. We’re here to help you. Contact us today to learn more.



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