Story Season – A Prologue

Monday, February 9th, 2015 by Simon Morton

Occasionally the team at Eyeful Towers gets a bee in our collective bonnet. A couple of years ago we went all out to stem the overly effusive praise for Prezi* and a while before that we were getting ourselves hot under the collar about the curse of OSMCs (Old School Management Consultants).

The topic that has become the focus of our attention? Stories.

Now don’t get us wrong – we LOVE the smart use of stories and story structure in presentations. They’ve formed some of the most compelling, engaging, passionate and memorable presentations ever created. The use of ‘story’ in presentations makes a lot of sense – get it right and you’re onto a good thing…

Yet there’s a problem…and it’s not too dissimilar to the Prezi fanboy postings that created such a fuss back at Eyeful HQ.

Our issue is that people understand the IDEA of story in presentations but have little or no sense of how to INTEGRATE them into the finished product.

The net result is lots of noise, opinion and phrases like ‘narrative arc’ being thrown around with little real understanding…and minimal improvement to presentations.

Well…we’ve had enough. So over the next 6 weeks we’re going to share our views on the good, the bad and the plain confusing of story in presentations. In weekly instalments delivered via the Eyeful blog and LinkedIn, we’ll ask the people on the front line to share their experiences, look at the science behind it all and provide valuable ideas and structures for business people just like you.

In short, Eyeful’s Story Season will help you step back from the hype and take time for figure out how it can truly help you, your presentation and, most important of all, your audience. We think that’s something worth sharing…

* In summary, Prezi is great when used appropriately and designed sympathetically BUT it is far from the presentation panacea so many people proclaim it to be. Nuff said.

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2 Responses to “Story Season – A Prologue”

  1. Niel Powers says:

    Simon, I’ve been hitting this whole “narrative arc” and story problem a lot recently when I’m out teaching. In fact, Paul and I talked about it a little last fall when we were working a 2WIN! deal in Germany. I’ve started working with clients on two ideas: First, always start with the message you want to convey, then work backwards to a story that supports the message. Second, before picking a story, determine if you are trying to align with the audience’s current thinking or differentiate from their current thinking. Then pick a story that is effective either in strengthening that alignment or in getting your audience to see things differently. A business story tends to work best for the former, while an analogy works best for the latter.

    Glad to see you are tacking this. If you want any “across the pond” help, let me know. I’m semi-retired now, but still doing a little work here and there.

  2. Simon says:

    Good to hear from you Niel…and also good to know that you continue to fight the good fight and point out when hype overtakes common sense!

    I like the approach, in particular the audience centric thinking. Let’s connect soon – audience heatmaps are a powerful tool!

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