Warning: Spoilers ahead for those who have not watched a single episode of Game of Thrones and are planning to get started soon.


It’s the world’s greatest show on earth. And if you don’t think so, the army of the dead might soon come knocking on your door (Shhh GoT followers, I know what you are thinking).


Sorry but that’s what the Game of Thrones series turned us into - a bunch (swelled into millions) of unsuspecting viewers into fanatic followers! It turned us - the people of the 21st century - into prehistoric fellowmen of Westeros greeting one another with Valar Morghulis and Valar Dohaeris. The coming of winter season became a golden opportunity for GoTers to say the most-repeated dialogue of the series:


Winter is coming!


The entertainment landscape changed with this fictional TV series based on the novel series “A Song of Ice & Fire” by George R.R. Martin. And we are so thankful that it came into our lives. For we learnt a lot. The haters gonna say “it taught you nothing but violence and deceit” but those who have watched it know the show celebrates the power of brotherhood and family. The lone wolf dies but the pack survives! The GoT followers know that the show has rekindled the childhood belief that anything is possible in this world - dragons, witches, rebirth, black magic...you name it.


That’s not why I am penning down this article. While creating my next PowerPoint presentation, I had a burning desire to make the viewers of my presentation ogle at my slides and be spellbound by each slide like the tv series achieved. And I realized “why not.” Why can’t Game of Thrones inspire us to create a presentation story that’ll keep the audience riveted to their seats! So let’s enter the PowerPoint battlefield and get in the GoT mode:


Epic Presentation Lessons from Game of Thrones:


#1- What Do You Say to Fear? Not Today

Yes, GoT fans we know we have tweaked the original dialogue but for a good reason. This viral dialogue “Not Today” appeared in the series at two crucial junctures:


Season 1, Episode 6:

Syrio Forel, master sword-fighter and instructor, to Arya in Season 1, Episode 6, “There is only one God, and His name is Death. And there is only one thing we say to Death: 'not today'.


Season 8, Episode 3:

Melisandre (The Red Woman) reminding Arya the same lesson she learnt from Syrio in season 1, “What do we say to the God of Death?”. Arya knowing the answer very well says, “Not Today.”


Arya then proceeds to fulfill her destiny i.e. shut the blue eyes forever. The epic episode “The Long Night” featuring the epic battle between the living and the dead rekindled the hope that evil can be defeated and hope should never be given up even in hopeless situations.


Go Arya Go!

The Long Night (Season 8, Episode 3)


How to Leverage This in Your Presentation

Everybody has faced the fear of public speaking. Facing the crowds is no easy thing. Palms sweating, heart beating fast, and mind clouded with a hundred doubts - the fear of public speaking is real. The fear becomes so strong in some that they goof up and what could have been a great presentation quickly turns into a disaster with “ummms” and “aahs.”


Conquer your Fear lest it conquers you "Not today" replaced "fear cuts deeper than swords" as Arya's personal motto in TV adaptation.


How can one remain confident? By winning the battle of the mind first. Remember this valuable lesson and say to yourself “What do you say to fear” and answer it aloud “Not Today!


Social Psychologist Amy Cuddy in her popular Ted Talk “Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are” talked about Power Posing - hands on your hips and arms in a V - to help us feel more powerful. Along with body language, power thinking too can help you pump up yourself and shake away the presentation jitters.


Stage fright or anxiety are usually born out of exaggerated thoughts of failure, humiliation or embarrassment in front of the audience. These imagined dangers can only be defeated by countering them with positive, bold thoughts. Believe in yourself that you can do it and you will give a great speech. When you get negative thoughts of failure, scream out aloud... Not Today!


It's not the absence of fear that makes you brave! Well said Appears in Book, Chapter 1


#2- Shock the Audience. They Love It

There can be no bigger shock that the tele viewers ever witnessed than when Ned Stark was killed in season 1. The shock was strong enough to send an earthquake and a tsunami of emotions in our life. It was also the first real taste of the real GoT. We might hate the fact that he was killed but we have to admit GoT is loved for this shock-after-shock-after-shock treatment.


Nooooooooooo!!! The shocking execution (Season 1, Episode 9)


Even though we knew better what to expect from GoT, the series dealt another shock when Starks were brutally massacred at the wedding. “Why did Starks have to bear so much” is a question we are still asking. The singles still get second thoughts whether they should have a wedding. Ever!


Noooooooooooo!!!! The Red Wedding (Season 3, Episode 9)


Not all Shocks are Unpleasant!

Game of Thrones is a bit depressing and dark but it has the “Yesss” moments too. In Episode 3 of Season 8 “The Long Night” Arya Stark joyously shocks us by taking out the Night King. Fans, including me, were jumping in joy.


How to Leverage This in Your Presentations


Use Shock Appeal without Hesitation or Guilt

Now, of course you won’t start showing blood-curdling videos of eyes popping out. But you can definitely present a statement or fact that audience didn’t expect to hear.


At night you share your bed with up to 10 million dust mites.


Cleanliness will suddenly be the top priority of many in your audience.


#3- Bring Power Dynamics into Play

Perhaps the biggest lesson learnt from GoT is that there is no middle ground! You either win or lose! Sitting on the fence is not an option.


Win or Lose. Period. Cersei Lannister, Season 1, Episode 7


In this drama series, nine noble houses in the mythical lands of Westeros - Stark, Arryn, Baratheon, Tully, Greyjoy, Lannister, Tyrell, Martell and Targaryen - are engaged in a bitter power struggle. When the king on the throne Robert Barratheon dies, it sets in motion a chain of events that set houses against one another. The plots, twists and deceits make each season and episode of GoT a nail-biting experience for the viewers.


While this article is being written, we are on the final season of the series and the last battle, the endgame is approaching with Cersei Lannister pitted against Daenerys Targaryen and John Snow (aka Aegon Targaryen). Who will sit on the Iron Throne? The audiences can’t wait to watch.


Determination is the Key to success Season 2, Episode 6


How to Leverage This in Your Presentations


Incorporate the Fight Between Good & Evil

All stories are ultimately a battle between the good and the evil side. The good always wins. Life wins over death.


A story is incomplete without a villain. Where presentations are concerned, the problem or threat is the villain and your idea or brand is the hero.


Take the case study of Dollar Shave Club for example. Back in 2012, they released a hilarious video that quickly became viral and made the brand a runaway success. A boring topic as shaving was turned into an entertaining discussion. The villain was introduced as name-brand razors which cost too much. These villains kept increasing the rates of razors arbitrarily making blade replacement a frustrating task. Enter the hero and saviour - Dollar Shave Club. They rolled out an affordable, hassle-free blade service wherein high-quality razors would be automatically delivered to the customer's door for as little as $1.00 a month (compared to $20 a month buying brand-name razors).


Every brand exists to serve a customer’s needs and solve a problem. Ensure your presentation clearly pitches your heroic solution and wages a war against competitor’s services.


A small brand can take on a very big brand. You simply have to give up on the belief that the big brands are infallible. After all, as Varys rightfully put it:


Power is a shadow. Deep thought. Lord Varys, Season 2, Episode 3


#4- Hype It Like Ser Davos

A character best with words in this series is Ser Davos Seaworth. He has proved his convincing skills a number of times. In Season 4, Episode 6, Ser Davos convinces the Iron Bank to support Stannis Baratheon even when Tycho Nestoris, the representative of the bank was clearly not in favor of lending any gold to the Baratheon:


The King of Diplomacy! Ser Davos Seaworth, Stannis Baratheon and Tycho Nestoris (Season 4, Episode 6)


Had it not been for Ser Davos, Stannis would have had no luck with the Iron Bank. It’s a different story that he loses the Battle of the Blackwater.


Ser Davos shows his diplomatic skills once again when John Snow goes to meet Daenerys for her support in defeating the army of the dead...


King in the North! Season 7, Episode 3


How to Leverage This in Your Presentations

Presentations are all about convincing people about your cause, product or service. The people in general are resistant to change. Why should they switch to your product? What is so special about your brand? You have to know your strengths and hype them like Ser Davos does.


Anybody in the presentation industry who comes close to Ser Davos in the art of convincing is Steve Jobs. Yes! Steve Jobs was the world’s greatest salesman. He was spectacular at communicating the beauty and power of his products and make them go viral. Of course, like Ser Davos from GoT and Steve Jobs from the real world, you have to first believe in yourself and that comes with knowing how right or strong your king/product is.


How Steve Jobs pitched the iPod:

This amazing little device holds 1000 songs and it goes right in my pocket.


How Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone:

Today, we’re introducing three revolutionary products of this class.

The first one: is a widescreen iPod with touch controls.

The second: is a revolutionary mobile phone.

And the third is a breakthrough Internet communications device.

So, three things: a widescreen iPod with touch controls; a revolutionary mobile phone; and a breakthrough Internet communications device.

An iPod, a phone, and an Internet communicator. An iPod, a phone … Are you getting it?

These are not three separate devices, this is one device, and we are calling it iPhone.


By analyzing his pitches, it is clear that Steve Jobs did not focus on the features of the product as much as the benefits of the same to the customer. It wasn’t all “me me me” but “you you you”. Tell your audience what’s in it for them. Follow that and you will be winning the hearts of all, like Ser Davos of GoT and Steve Jobs of the real world.


#5- Know Your Strengths & Own Your Weaknesses

Yes, GoT fans must have been wondering why Tyrion Lannister was not mentioned till yet. After all, he is one of the most loved characters of the series and also one who delivered some of the best dialogues ever. Sorry for the late entry but here goes the dialogue you were waiting for:


"Never forget what you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like armour, and it can never be used to hurt you." Tyrion Lannister.


Never Forget What You Are! Tyrion Lannister to Jon Snow, Season 1, Episode 1


Tyrion, a dwarf and hated by his father and elder sister, is the wisest character (well, he made a few mistakes). Knowing the world poked fun at him, he didn’t let it bring him down. Using his wit and sharp intellect, he defeated his opponents (including his father) and became the Hand of the queen Daenerys Targaryen. He capitalized on his strengths by reading and knowing things.


All hail Master of Coin & Master of Diplomacy! Season 1 Episode 2 & Season 6 Episode 2 respectively


How to Leverage This in Your Presentations

Exploit your strengths and work on your weaknesses. You are the expert of your subject. That is your strength. But your weakness might be that you use a lot of jargon. Work with your colleagues and friends to simplify your content so that the audience can relate to your presentation.


Or probably, your weakness is presentation designing. You are not a graphic designer. So, it is understandable that you do not know the tricks of creating a beautiful design. However, it is not acceptable to put all bullet points in your presentation. Use professionally-designed PowerPoint Templates in such a scenario. The professional graphic add power to your content. All you need to do is download them, put your content in the placeholders and present it with confidence.


Check Out the Most Popular PowerPoint Templates


#6- Don’t Boast Like Jeoffrey

Confidence is one thing and overconfidence is another. Jeoffrey Baratheon was one of the most despised characters in the series. He was a cruel king and loved insulting and torturing others.


The Devil Incarnate! Season 3, Episode 10


I would not go about describing the cruelties of Jeoffrey. His name is enough for the blood of all GoT followers boil in anger. He constantly boasted, “I am the King” to prove his superiority. However, his grandfather Tywin Lannister once and on many occasions put him in place. He intelligently reminds his grandson…


Self Praise is No Recommendation! Season 3, Episode 10


No wonder, Tywin’s death is celebrated by GoT lovers and Jeoffrey will be counted in television history as one of the worst kings ever.


What Does This Mean for Your Presentation:

Establish your credibility but do not keep harping on the same string. The “me me me” monologue gets on the nerves of the audience. Feel free to let the audience know of the awards you have won, your designation but do it in a graceful manner. A few seconds are enough to lay the ground for your expertise in the subject.


#7- End on a High Note

She is the queen of sass. She is one badass b***h. She is tart-tongued queen of thorns. She is Olenna Tyrell, a strong character that one can’t help but admire. She minces no words and even the most powerful men (take Tywin Lannister for example) and women (Cersei Lannister for example) have to shut up in front of her.


Defeated by Lannisters in season 7, she knows her fate - execution by the hands of Lannister. When Jaimie Lannister confronts her in the end and he tells her that Cersei had horrible plans of her death but he had convinced her for a painless death by poison. Olenna delivers a hard knockout punch with her words before going down. She reveals the shocker to Jaimie that she was the one who had planned the painful murder of his and Cersei’s son Jeoffrey. Before her last breath, she delivers the savage truth to Jaimie, “Tell Cersei. I want her to know it was me.” Period. Olenna had the last word in the conversation; as always.


Savage Goodbye! Season 7, Episode 3


What Does This Mean for Your Presentation:

Your ending should be spectacular. One that audience remember you for. The one before you say thank you and hang up the boots. The ending can be a powerful quote, a call to action (but not a cliche) or a personal commitment like the swimmer Diana Nyad shared in her TED Talk:


That ocean’s still there. This hope is still alive. And I don’t want to be the crazy woman who does it for years and years and years, and tries and fails and tries and fails and tries and fails . . . I can swim from Cuba to Florida, and I will swim from Cuba to Florida.


The Ultimate Lesson from Game of Thrones: Storytelling Wins!

Game of Thrones did not become epic because of nudity and violence. It was a triumph of storytelling. The rich, multi-layered characters, plot twists, hard-hitting dialogues, action, tragedy and emotions made this show what it is today. If you haven’t seen it but still read the article knowing many of the spoilers by now, go ahead and watch it; you won’t be disappointed.


And when you plan to deliver your next presentation, spend more time perfecting your story - the pitch. Think how you can make it more interesting for the audience. Add emotions, be it humor or empathy. Add passion to your presentation delivery. Be the King of the Stage and win this game of thrones! Breathe dragon fire - metaphorically speaking of course!






Picture credits: IMDb