Journey map focussed on the emotional experience of a persona

Beyond words: How to present a customer journey map that gets you buy-in

October 12, 2020

The way in which a customer journey map is presented plays an important role in engaging different stakeholders like clients or in-house teams. In this article we take a quick look at the basics of professional journey map presentations, including structure, formats and fundamental principles that help you to engage your audience.

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The value of a memorable journey map presentation

Customer journey mapping offers a clear and logical framework that assists us to simplify and manage the complex world of our customer experience. Through the research and creation of journey maps you gain a deep understanding of the interactions that exist when people engage with your services, as well as the experiences and emotional journeys your customers pass through while receiving them.

Once completed, if we relegate our journey maps to the back shelf to gather dust we are losing out on many of the benefits that they offer us.

With the right ways of sharing your journey maps they can become powerful communication tools that can support service development within your organization as well as helping you engage and communicate with a wide range of different stakeholders.

Short description of a persona and visualization of her journey focused on her emotional experience; example of an emotional journey export
Example of an emotional journey map export from Smaply: Anna's airport experience

Principles of great customer journey map presentations

So what makes for a great journey map presentation? Let’s explore some basic principles for what helps to create a powerful pitch that allows viewers to instantly connect with and understand the experience of your customers.

Understand the context and needs of your audience!

Understanding the way in which you should share your journey maps depends greatly on the context in which you wish to use it. Whether you are collaborating with a large group during a workshop, having a meeting with a small team or producing a document to communicate with stakeholders, what you are trying to achieve will determine how your journey map should be presented and the features of your journey you want to include, exclude or focus more attention on.

For example, let's assume your purpose is to share and collaborate your journey map with a large group in such a way to drive collaboration. In this case it's important to have the ability to present journey maps printed in large formats that allow for people to clearly understand and work on a single document at the same time.

Perhaps you are presenting your journey map to a smaller audience or stakeholder group. For this situation a fully detailed journey map might not be entirely practical or feasible, therefore it is important that you are able to easily distill information down to a manageable size format for presentation, while still presenting content that is relevant to the audience you are communicating with.

When you take the time to consider how people will interact with and use your journey maps, you are better able to communicate and present them in ways that are helpful and useful.

Connect visually!  

Making your journey maps visual not only helps your audience to understand and remember the information you are communicating. It can also assist in drawing people’s attention to important details, create more persuasive narratives as well as being overall more enjoyable to understand and interact with.

In psychology, this is explored in the Picture Superiority Effect which explains how visual information is more readily remembered by people than words.

For the way you export your journey maps, this means breaking free from simply relying on words and incorporating information in a variety of different and stimulating ways, such as through diagrams, images and the use of color.

We know that a large number of people are visual learners. For this reason it is important we don’t underestimate the impact that this type of information has for connecting with members of our audience with different learning styles.

By enhancing your journey maps with relevant imagery and iconography you make the narrative you are presenting more memorable for your viewers while also opening up your customer experience to a wider audience of visual learners.

If you are intending to create working documents, understanding these different learning styles can be important for driving participation and understanding within your team.

Color is also strongly linked with our emotional experience. It evokes different feelings in your viewers and it allows them to quickly understand the different emotions your customers are experiencing at different stages. Through the targeted use of color in your journey maps you are able to help your viewers to observe changes in a customers emotional journey using simple, non-verbal methods.

Aim for simplicity! –while still being useful

Depending on how information is presented, it can be overwhelming for people to understand and take action on.

Simple is powerful.

Due to the quantity of information contained within a customer journey map we often want our journey maps to be presented in simple ways. However, they still should have have impact and retain the relevant information that our audience requires to have a proper understanding for the experience of our customers.

By having the power to modify and condense the information contained in your journey map you are able create focussed exports that help people understand and share important ideas. Whether you want viewers to focus on specific stages of a customer’s journey, a certain persona or even the emotional component of someone’s experience.

visualization of a persona's journey focused on her emotional experience
Example of a persona's emotional journey at an airport

How to structure a presentation of a customer journey map

A well-structured presentation can help stakeholders understand the customer journey map and the insights it provides. This can improve communication and collaboration between teams, leading to better decision-making and more effective solutions.

Here is a suggested structure for your presentation:

  1. Introduction: Start with an introduction slide that sets the context for the presentation. This could include the purpose of the project and the presentation, the audience, and a brief overview of what will be covered.
  2. Customer persona: Introduce the customer persona that was used as a basis for the journey map. Provide some context on the customer, such as their goals, needs and behaviors.
  3. Customer journey map: Display the customer journey map. You can start with an overview of the entire journey. Use visuals to make the map easy to understand and follow.
  4. Pain points: Highlight the customer pain points and provide examples of how these negatively impact the customer experience. Show the impact of these pain points on customer satisfaction and retention.
  5. Opportunities for improvement: Highlight the opportunities for improvement that were identified in the customer journey map. Provide concrete recommendations for how to address these opportunities and how they will benefit the customer.
  6. Benefits to the business: Explain how addressing the pain points and opportunities for improvement will benefit the business. This could include improved customer satisfaction and retention, increased revenue and growth, and competitive advantages.
  7. Conclusion: Summarize the key takeaways from the presentation and provide a call to action for the client. Encourage them to ask questions, provide feedback and take action based on the insights from the customer journey map.

What are the best presentation formats for customer journeys?

Journey maps can be presented in different shapes and sizes depending on the context and needs of the audience you are working with. Whether this is working in a workshop setting with large groups, or presenting a simplified version of your journey map in a small meeting through a PowerPoint.

Context: Workshop

You may be required to share and develop your journey maps with large groups. Whether this is working with customers to validate what you have created, or working internally as a team to analyze and make sense of different journey maps.

Because of the amount of experience data that can be contained within a journey map size can quickly become a factor for how visible and understandable your maps are when they are printed.

Having large documents is great and opens up your maps for a large group of people to access, interact with and collaborate on at the same time.

Suggested format: large printed maps (PDF/PNG)

A large printout enables you to easily print and manage what you are sharing at a range of different scales, without compromising detail.

Context: Pitching a journey map

When you are pitching an idea you need the most important information provided in a way that easily allows your audience to get the core idea and the correct information. Whether this is a group of stakeholders, a decision maker or a public presentation.

Suggested format: PowerPoint

A PowerPoint format allows you to quickly create compelling visual slides to accompany and enhance a presentation. Depending on the type of presentation, you are able to quickly customise presentations that are suited to your audience and context.

Some didicated customer journey mapping tools, for example Smaply, let you export your journey maps in a PowerPoint format.

Context: Analysis and calculations

Occasionally we are looking to manage and manipulate data held within your journey maps. We are not presenting our data so there is less of a requirement that it has high visual impact or is presented in a particularly pretty way, it just has to be functional.

Suggested format: Excel spreadsheet

If you are looking for more of an analytical filetype to work with, you are able to convert your journey map into an Excel spreadsheet format. Having your map formatted this way allows us to quickly and easily calculate and compare numerical values held in your journey maps. Although this isn’t the most visual way to present your maps, it provides a highly functional document that can be used internally with teams to analyse and compare important data.

Context: Archiving

How you manage and archive your journey maps is important so that you are able to quickly access or reference your data when you need it. When you have completed journey maps held in a logical way (such as a journey map repository) that can be stored on the cloud or physically as a backup.

Suggested format: PDF/JPEG/PNG

The types and forms in which you can share journey maps continue to grow, allowing you to gain more value from your existing maps by presenting them in interesting, understandable and engaging ways.


The way in which you use and present your journey maps can have a significant effect on the way people are able to interact with, understand and connect with journeys of your customers.

Depending on the context and audience that you are using, your journey map with will determine the best format in which you will choose to share and present it to others.

When you understand the full range of formats available to us you can efficiently produce helpful and powerful materials for communicating your customer experiences with stakeholders.

Good luck with your presentation!

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