When was the last time you sat through a meeting with Powerpoint slides? If it was like most meetings the presenter had numerous slides with lots of bullet points. As each slide comes up the presenter turns to the screen and proceeds to read each point to you. As if you were not able to read them for yourself, he drones on line after boring line. Point after point until your eyes glaze over. You find yourself trying to prop your head up so it looks like you are awake.
Slide after slide, point after point, you ask yourself.. is there no rest for the wicked? You wonder what you could have possibly done to deserve this kind of hell. You finally succumb… your head hitting the table in front of you. You can’t take it anymore… you cry out in anger… get rid of the bullet points… Please listen to us… Tell Us a Story!
Stories are interesting. They involve the audience. They draw you in.
Bullet points are boring. They put you to sleep.
How then do you get beyond bullet points?
If Cliff Atkinson has his way, you’ll relegate the bullet points to the trash and pull out that trusty old storyboard and create a compelling story for your audience. One that will energize them and help them to remember what you said.
In his book “Beyond Bullet Points”, Cliff suggests that you set up a story with five scenes.
Scene 1: Where are we, and when is it?
Scene 2: Who are we in this setting?
Scene 3: Why are we here?
Scene 4: What do we want to see happen?
Scene 5: How do we get there from here?
With the answers to these questions you create an appeal to your audiences emotions. One that will create an emotional connection. This is act one, you have two acts to go.
It’s back to the script and now your job is to boil your story down to three main points and decide what you want to say and in what order you want to present it. The finished product will have audiences listening instead of sleeping.
I have found Cliff’s book to be a wonderful resource to create a compelling presentation. His blog and website are a treasure trove of Powerpoint tools and creative elements.
I urge you to pick up his book and develop your own powerful story. Dump the bullets and draw your audience in. Increase your confidence and your effectiveness.
Remember… Tell a story… make a point.. and that’s not bullet points 🙂