Storytelling That Truly Works for Corporate Presentations

In the last blog, I promised a method of storytelling that will consistently engage and inspire your stakeholders, is easy to learn and applies to real corporate presentations. That’s because it’s based on exactly what execs and stakeholders have been asking for: being simple, quick, visual and powerful. I actually found this method of storytelling in a very familiar place: the movies.

Why movies?

Besides being universally loved, movies are incredibly persuasive and memorable. Just look at these five lines from movies. How many do you recognize?

Theres no place like home.

Go ahead. Make my day.

“Toga! Toga! Toga!”

“I’ll make him an offer he cant refuse.

Use the Force, Luke!

I’ll bet you can identify most of those—and they’re all from movies at least thirty-five years old. The most recognizable quote is from a film released in 1939.

What if your projects had that kind of resonance? Can you imagine your colleagues as they leave your presentation, quoting your words and evangelizing your ideas as they walk into another meeting?

Yeah, but doesn’t that mean you need video?

Nope. There are definitely times when video is advantageous. But I know that PowerPoint decks are your bread and butter, so first and foremost, I want to find movie strategies you can bring to your deck.

So let’s map the strategies of screenwriters, directors and editors, and apply them to the kinds of decks and presentations you actually do.

Movies cut to the chase

Watch your favorite movies or TV shows and you’ll see how concise they are. That economy is baked into movies and TV because fewer scenes and shots mean less time and budget. So screenwriters are trained to cut scenes that aren’t necessary, because they discovered we don’t need the incidental stuff in between. We not only don’t miss it, but we actually remember more of the story because the important scenes aren’t bogged down by unimportant ones.

The same is true for presentation decks: if you want your stakeholders to remember more, cut out the unimportant slides that get in the way of your key points.

Movies make that chase real

Because movies use a visual and sensory story format, they make stories even more real for us, with far less effort from our brains. They show it to us onscreen, so we see it, hear it, and feel it. Not only that, we experience it in the same way as the people next to us. With words or charts or bullets, there are often multiple ways your information can be interpreted, but with a visual, people align with it and are able to absorb and share your information correctly.

Movies make you scared and excited to be in the chase

A film will take its message one step further by making you feel what the characters feel. They make it emotional. And that’s what gives movies so much power. They make us forget about our own world and go into the hero’s experience, leading us into their cause.

It’s a power that few other forms of communication possess, and you can harness that emotional power so your stakeholders feel the need you want them to feel and inspire them to join your cause.

In our next blog, I’ll bring a method to that magic and lay out exactly how movie-style storytelling gets you from A to…making a bigger difference for your work and yourself.


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