How to quickly form a presentation with a narrative

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As we know, narratives are potent tools to shape ideas and minds.

How do you apply something as high level as a corporate narrative to something as detailed as a PowerPoint presentation? We recently did this again for a client, so I thought we'd share the process with you below.

The magic is in using the narrative as a filter.

Before we go on to the three steps so let's revisit narratives for a minute.

A narrative has a symbiotic relationship with stories. In many ways, it is a "chicken and egg" type scenario.

For example, a "story event unit" can contribute to the organic creation of a narrative. What on earth does that mean? For example stories of the terror in war accrue to our understanding of the narrative of what war means. Pain. Suffering. Destruction. Terror. We know what the war narrative means because of the stories that define it.

The inverse is true. By knowing the horror of war you can a) make up a fictional story about war b) find stories from a country that holds true to what war means.

By now you know the value of including stories in presentations.

When you know your company's strategic narrative, you can create share stories in your presentation that accrue to that narrative.

This means you picked and chose the right stories that convey what you want people to understand about your company. About its narrative. We talked about the structure of narratives previously, here's more detail on the topic.

OK back to the presentation tips!

To apply your chosen narrative to the presentation consider these three steps. Before doing the below get your company narrative and distill it into three paragraphs, beginning, middle, an end. Trim it down to the most appropriate elements for the specific audience and communication you have in mind.

  1. Put the chosen narrative to the presentation topic: Create a table, two columns by three rows. On the left break the distilled narrative into three parts (roughly beginning, middle, end.) In the right column put all the relevant company (and any customer elements). On the right-hand side don't dump everything in, instead use the narrative on the left of the row as a filter to choose things that resonate with the narrative. You might have 100 things you want to say about your company, and only 10 make it into the presentation. If it doesn’t fit throw it out!
  2. Sort and expand: Go back to the left-hand column and check it's flow. Does it fit with the ‘beginning, middle, end’ and ‘context, action, results.’ Format? If you need to move a row keep it them intact! You'll want to move the rows as a cohesive unit because they include the narrative (on the left) and the presentation content (on the right.) PRO TIP: If you break 'context, action, results' into threes (so you have 3x3=9 rows) this will give you breathing space to (a) have a lead in (b) put in the detail (c) transition to the next section.
  3. Enrich with stories: Identify specific customer stories that can be used to bring the narrative to life. While you are doing this also consider any anecdotes, metaphors or analogies that help bring depth and perspective to your flow.

Get on the road to building decks that align with your chosen narrative while getting down to the brass tacks presentations often need.

On to the links!

First up:

Some more of that pesky science that proves all this storytelling stuff right.

And then we have:

A great way to filter out the best content to share online using the FUBI formula

And finally:

Some hidden storytelling - woven into the amazing internal communication from Elon Musk. There are challenges, heroes, a problem to overcome and a promise at the end of it all.

Go Narrative is a marketing consultancy that assists business leaders in technology firms to build and implement advanced marketing strategies. Our secret sauce is storytelling for business growth and transformation. We can help you cut through the noise and improve your reputation. We love helping business leaders understand, use and apply storytelling in business via writing, presentations, video, strategy and actionable plans. Get attention. Be heard. Make an impact. | eBook available at |

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