How to Start a Presentation Effectively Using A Simple Analogy

This blog is a continuation of the “How to Start a Presentation Effectively” series.


As a professional, you speak to influence.

Whether you educate, sell, inform, or update, your primary focus in business presentations is to influence a decision or a direction.

That’s hard to do when your idea is out of the box. When the idea is foreign to your audience, the audience might mistrust it, and as a result, refuse it. To bridge the gap between inside and outside the box, you can use an analogy. The analogy will serve as the bridge between something your audience knows to the new content you share with the audience.

Here are some example of analogies:

– Public speaking is like acting (True or not, it does not matter)

– Distribution channels are like indoor plumbing

– Software development is like construction work

– An analogy is like a bridge (remember this from earlier in the article)

Notice that to have an analogy, you relate something to another by using the word “like.”

Now here is the formula to use an analogy to start a presentation.

1. Say analogy

2. Relate analogy to your topic

3. Explain more if you need to

Here are a couple of examples: I will use the “tree roots” analogy and fit it to a couple of topics. First, I  will use the analogy to relate to “confidence,” then I will use the same analogy to relate to “people in a community.”

Tree roots with confidence

1. Say Analogy:

When you look at a tree – the bigger the roots, the stronger the tree.

2. Relate analogy to your topic: (topic is confidence)

I am here today because, just like a tree, your confidence has roots. The stronger you make those roots, the stronger your confidence will get

3. Explain more if you need to

In fact, your confidence has three sources. One is your self-image, Second is your conditioning, and third, is your experience. We will go over these in this presentation and show you how you can cultivate them to build an unstoppable confidence.

Now let’s use the same analogy for a different topic:

Tree roots with community

1. Say Analogy:

When you look at a tree – the bigger the roots, the stronger the tree.(notice this is the same analogy from before)

2. Relate analogy to topic: (topic is community)

I am here today because, just like a tree, a community has roots. The stronger you make those roots, the stronger the community will get

3. Explain if you need to

The roots of the community are the people who live in it. I am here today to go over different ways to invest in the development of our people so that we build a great community.

These examples sound great, don’t they? Imagine if you do something similar for your topic and start your presentations this way. You don’t have to use the analogy I used above; you can come up with your analogy and just plug into the formula with your topic.

Doing that to start a presentation will hook people into your topic, get them excited and help them understand your ideas better. Ultimately, you will have a better chance at influencing them. The more your thoughts are outside the box, the more you have to use analogies to relate them to people.

About Author 

Peter Khoury: Founder @ MagneticSpeaking X-Pharmaceutical Engineer, turned author, national speaker and executive presentation coach.

In addition to Public Speaking training, Peter is a regular speaker on the topics of Negotiations, Conflict Management and Leadership. He is the author of the book “Self-Leadership Guide.