Let me tell you a story…

That’s the way my strategy professor at business school introduced us to vision and mission.  And that’s what the most effective presentations do, IMO: tell a story.  However, many of us technical and semi-technical folks feel nothing but fear and trembling when we’re asked to “put together a deck.”

To that end, Jonathan Becher here passes along some great tips on creating compelling presentations from Nancy Duarte.  Duarte makes three points that Jonathan summarizes neatly. We too often:

  1. Try to make presentations serve as documentation.
  2. Skimp on preparation.
  3. Misuse or ignore visual design principles.

While I haven’t read the book, the post’s summary and the video clip sure make it sound appealing.  In particular, I like the practical guidance — e.g., the “Post It” approach — that Jonathan passes along.  I can testify to this method’s effectiveness in condensing thoughts into single points, which can then be moved around into a coherent story.

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2 Responses

  1. Paul,

    One of thje best approaches to “building a deck” comes from Cliff Atkinson’s “beyond bullet points.”

    The first edition of the book is better in my opinion than the second.

    In the 1st edition the deck is built using the 3 act greek play paradigm.

    Act 1
    The setting – where are we
    The protagonist – who’s involved
    The imbalance – what’s wrong
    The balance – what does right look like
    The solution – how can we make it right

    Act II – tells this story on more detail
    Act III
    The crisis – what’s going to happen if we don’t fix this
    The solution – how can the solution advert the crisis
    The climax – tell the punch line
    The resolution – tell how it all turns out for the good in the end

    There are numoerous examples on Cliff”s web site and blog.

    We use this approach to “focus” the techies on a real story. Using BBP it becomes crystal clear if your “play” is not very good.

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