One idea, one vision and a desire to follow her passion has transformed a once introverted graphic designer with a fear of public speaking into one of Australia’s most sought after keynote speakers.
Hailing from the United Kingdom, Emma Bannister landed on Australia’s shores in 2002 with a backpack and a vision.
“At the time nobody was providing quality presentation support and with an obvious demand, I knew I had found my niche,” she said.
But it would take four years before Emma finally founded Presentation Studio.
“I was sitting at the kitchen table one day and I realised that if I was going to follow my passion and build a career that worked for me, then I would have to take control – and that’s when Presentation Studio was born,” she said.
“We became the experts and developed the industry to ensure clients were able to connect with their audiences through powerful presentations that can be understood, remembered and drive action,” she said.
Presentation Studio helps corporate companies communicate ideas through effective visual presentations and has attracted clients such as Telstra, Commonwealth Bank, Qantas and Microsoft, to name but a few.
“Whether it is pitching for new business, motivating your team, or delivering a keynote speech, we’re here to help. We write, design and train teams to create successful presentations,” she said.
“Originally our service was to ‘pretty up PowerPoint’ but we knew that to really help our clients, they needed more than just ‘lipstick’ on slides. They needed help with writing, and then designing their presentation communication tools, so we grew and adapted the business based on this demand. Now, the significant shift is that we provide a training service – not all presentations need to be outsourced. We teach teams how to write, design and deliver powerful presentations.
“I believe presentations are a catalyst for action. A powerful presentation is your greatest business tool and this is why I spend every day sharing my passion to help empower others to share stories and unlock value in the power of their presentations.”
However, it hasn’t all been clipart and animations; building a business, and an industry, from the ground up has certainly had its fair share of challenges.
“Starting a business has obvious challenges – from establishing an industry to the struggles and successes of owning a small business, but my biggest challenge of all was my fear of public speaking,” she said.
“The rule that has served me best is finding my niche and being the best I can be, which meant overcoming my fears. Our initial growth all came from word of mouth and that was because I worked hard, over delivered and was incredibly passionate about what I did. That only comes from being passionate about what you do.”
Presentation Studio gained phenomenal YOY growth over the past 11 years and with a host of significant corporate clients and a team of 30 full time employees, this Sydney-based startup is APAC’s largest presentation communication agency.
“Life changing decisions and million dollar deals are made off the back of some very bad presentations and I need to help them to be more successful. My role now as CEO is to raise awareness to what makes a successful presentation. People don’t know what they don’t know, so I wrote my book Visual Thinking, which was launched in 2017.”