It’s always a challenge: how to communicate insights, ideas, and strategies to your business partners, clients, team members, etc.) in a memorable way that inspires and motivates them to take your information and run with it.
The first move is usually to fill our slides with charts and bullets, but I’ve come across a more compelling way, from our most popular and beloved medium: movies. Movie-style storytelling is actually a perfect fit for presentations because it’s built on what always works in a conference room: being simple, visual, and powerful. In the same way a movie can engage an audience for hours, our presentations can have the same effect on our audience.
Here are some ways to establish credibility and trust by using movie-style storytelling, so your ideas are taken seriously and your strategies are implemented.
1- Find the three key points that matter most
Movie screenwriters are able to write so quickly and powerfully because they start with three key scenes, then build the rest of the movie around those moments. This keeps them out of the weeds when writing, and enables an audience to remember and share with other people. You can do the same thing: decide which three things in your presentation are the most important and emphasize those. It makes it easier to write your narration, and you get to choose what people remember.Decide which three things in your presentation are the most important and emphasize those. Click To Tweet
2- Cutting for clarity and recall
Now that you have your three key points, take another cue from movies and cut out what you don’t need. Screenwriters cut down a novel to 100-150 pages, the director cuts down the script even further, and finally, the editor cuts it all down to the story we see onscreen. Most of the time, we don’t miss those cuts one bit. Because seeing less detail helps us absorb and remember the most important parts of the story. So grab a colleague and tell him or her the three key points you want to establish, then ask them to cut out anything that gets in the way. In my workshops, I’ve seen people cut 80% from their partner’s deck, and their partners are always grateful—and never miss the weeds that got whacked!Seeing less detail helps us absorb and remember the most important parts of the story. Click To Tweet
3- Show your points through examples
It’s so much easier to understand and remember a concept when it’s seen or heard through an example. It helps us wrap our heads around it. What makes it even more meaningful is capping it off with the opportunity your point presents to your listeners. Put the example and the opportunity together and you’ll give them not only a story they can relate to, but also one they can take home and use.It’s easier to understand & remember a concept when it’s seen or heard through an example. Click To Tweet
4- If you can make it visual, even better
Just like an example helps us grab hold of it, seeing that example makes it even more clear. It also puts everyone on the same page, because we all see the same visual. A drawing or animation can work, but an actual photo can be more effective because it depicts a real thing, which is a more effective way for stakeholders to relate and believe.
5- Speak to the emotional side
Whether it’s laughter, tears, anger, or exhilaration, you’ve felt the compelling pull of emotions in movies. But for some reason, when we get to our desk to put together our PowerPoint, we often neglect this powerful tool. Speaking to the rational side and simply informing, though, can only take you so far. If you want people to get behind you, inspire them and make them believe by engaging their emotional side.f you want people to get behind you, inspire them and make them believe. Click To Tweet
6- Stand up for what you believe
One of the most profound ways people can raise the level of their presentations and establish authenticity is to get up from behind the projector and stand in front of the screen. Do that and you’re already a million times more engaging—they see the words coming from you, increasing your credibility and showing that you believe in your message enough to stand for it.
By taking these kinds of cues, you can truly elevate your presentation, engage your audience, and see them leave your presentation entertained, informed, and inspired—just like a movie.
Ted Frank is the principal story strategist at Backstories Studio. His book, Get to the Heart, shows professionals how movie-style storytelling can make their presentations clear, compelling, and c-suite ready.