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Big Five Questions

The Guru’s Big Five Questions – Emma Bannister

Emma Bannister
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Emma Bannister is one of the founders of Presentation Guru. She is passionate about changing presentation culture and has seen the shift in the culture of presentations over the years.

With over two decades of Visual Design experience, and ten years as founder and CEO at Presentation Studio, Emma’s view is radically different. Presentation Studio’s innovative approach to Visual Thinking transforms lacklustre presentations into engaging, powerful and successful communication tools.

We want to help our readers build their skills as presentation designers, speakers and coaches, learning from a wide range of our colleagues from across the world, so in this occasional series, The Guru’s Big Five Questions, we ask the experts the same five questions about their inspiration, their hopes and their role models in the ever-changing arena of world-class presenting. This is what Emma had to say:


What is the greatest speech in history?

I first thought Winston Churchill’s, “We Shall Fight on the Beaches.” The power and conviction in his voice, the fact his words created strong visuals of the places we would fight and the guaranteed outcome. Everyone felt part of a united battle.

But, since I wasn’t born, his words don’t have any significant impact on my life.

Conversely, Al Gore opened my eyes to the very real threat of Climate Change by illustrating the effect of global warming on our world. This presentation cemented the power of communication through effective visuals.



What is the greatest business presentation / sales pitch?

Elon Musk Debuts the Tesla Powerwall



Musk is transforming the way the world generates power. He introduces the problem with fossil fuels, demonstrating its impact with powerful visuals – then backs it up with scientific facts in a clear, relevant way. His delivery is entertaining, yet commanding and the solution is presented in a logical, approachable way.


Who is the best political/cause orator today?

Angelina Jolie. Jolie’s speech, addressing the refugee crisis, has no visual support – yet is incredibly powerful. A demonstration of how telling simple stories creates an intense emotional reaction in the audience. The impact of conveying the message with our most fundamental emotion – LOVE.



What’s the most important thing to consider when making a speech?

Be clear on your reason for your presentation – are you bringing anything of value to the people in the room?

Does your objective match the needs of your audience?


Who inspired you when you started in the business? Who inspires you now?

Nancy Duarte and her team at the US based Presentation company, Duarte. Their success in the field I loved reinforced the potential in my business idea.

Now – my team; their dedication and passion for what we do on a daily basis inspires me. Plus anyone who can find a healthy balance in life and be happy making a difference in the world.

Emma Bannister
Emma Bannister is passionate about presenting big, bold and beautiful ideas. She is the founder and CEO of Presentation Studio, APAC's largest presentation communication agency, and author of the book Visual Thinking: How to transform the way you think, communicate and influence with presentations.
Emma Bannister
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