Everyone wants their presentation to be simple, but, as we all know, achieving simplicity is incredibly difficult.
One reason it’s so difficult is actually a bit of good news. It’s probably because you’re really smart. And, I’m not just brown-nosing you, here. The weeds, as they say, are packed with smart people because smart people have one big handicap: they can hold a lot in their heads. That’s great for so many things but not for being simple. Combine that head capacity with, let’s say, the fact that you’ve been working deeply and passionately on your project for a long while, and the challenge to stay out of the weeds becomes even more difficult.
So how do we get out?
Great question. Luckily for us, movies have an answer, and it’s a really good one. Guess how many key scenes the average movie has? 20? 30? Actually, most big movies are based around three key scenes: there’s the inciting incident that kicks the story into gear, the turning point, where we see the hero buy into the theme of the story, and, of course, the climax.
So instead of starting at the beginning, screenwriters start with those key scenes. That makes the job not only smaller and more manageable, but, with those three key scenes as guide posts for the rest of the story, those scenes also help screenwriters stay out of the weeds.
This strategy is how movies can often be written very quickly. Rocky, for example, was written in just 3-1/2 days. Imagine that. A Best Picture that set up a six-movie franchise, written in 3-1/2 days.
So how do you find your three key scenes? It starts with two big questions that will lead you to your key three and to the heart of your story.
Question #1: The one very few people ask:
What do your stakeholders need to do with your information? Not, what did they ask for? But, what do they need to do? Do they need to re-position a brand, launch a project, get buy-in from a board of directors? Thinking about what they need to do will automatically set you and your smart brain up for…
Question #2: What are the three things in your deck that can help them do it right?
I say three not just because I’m copying the movies, but because it will force you to get to the heart of what really matters to your stakeholders. Also, three concepts is about as much as they’ll be able to remember. So if you, like a screenwriter, choose those three concepts ahead of time and give them greater emphasis, you’ll be able to dictate what your stakeholders remember. If you do what most people do and evenly emphasize 10-15 points, you won’t get to make that decision. They’ll remember what they remember.
So that wraps it up for what to highlight in your presentation. In our next blog, we’ll cover the other side, how to whack the weeds that get in the way of your ideas. So stay tuned, and we’ll get you set. Or, if you don’t want to wait, click on over to Amazon for the paperback version of Get to the Heart or to iTunes for the interactive version.