All kids have a job. And no, I’m not going all Charles Dickens on you.
The job of a kid is to play. There are all sorts of psych books and articles out there about the importance of play, the development of the brain during play, and so on and so forth. You could study it for years. But let’s not do that right now, okay? Wouldn’t be as much fun.
Kids play in order to learn. As a kid, when you’re playing, you try new stuff. Sometimes it works, and you’ve learned something that works. Sometimes it doesn’t work, and you’ve learned that it doesn’t. But you have a growth mindset, so you don’t wang out about it. You just move onto the next idea.
What’s the point? Well, today I’m talking about your slide decks.
People often ask me for help with their presentations. They want to make a presentation that tells a story, that sells an idea.
My typical advice is to Start With Nancy. She’s got the pattern down so well, I’m tempted to tattoo the chart on my arm (it still might happen). Start, and I mean START YOUR FIRST SLIDE, with the story of what life is like today. I call this the Oh Poop slide, although sometimes I don’t say “poop.” What’s the problem? What’s the pain that needs to be addressed? Help your listeners to recognize and feel that pain.
Then, cast your vision for what life could be like. I call this the What If slide. What if this problem went away? What would a world look like where that pain was not only resolved, but evolved into something better? THAT IS YOUR SECOND SLIDE.
Oh, and don’t put a lot of words on those slides. Put an image. Put an evocative phrase. Tell the story with your voice, not with so many words on those slides that your audience is reading them instead of listening to you.
I’m telling you… if you do this, you will get them. You can make things happen. You can change the world, and I’m not exaggerating about that.
So I give this advice to a lot of people, and they say thanks, and then they go away, and then I see their decks and they are no different than the decks they typically create. Long on words, long on facts. Short on vision and dream and passion.
There are many explanations for this, and they don’t all lie with the other person. It could be me. Maybe I’m not doing a good job teaching them.
But here’s my invitation to people who have sought out my advice on this, or even those of you who haven’t.
Just play with it.
Give it a try. Play with the idea. Maybe it will work. Maybe it won’t. Either way, you’ll learn something.
But are you willing to let go of your scare, your perfectionism, your desire to conform with the rest of the crowd to try something new? Are you willing to take a risk on telling your story in a new way? Are you ready to claim the attention you deserve and make an impact?
Come on, what do you have to lose?