What's your story; what's your point?
In its purest form, any presentation can be boiled down to 2 elements: a story and a point.
The 'point' of a presentation is like a sharp pin.
The pin may be very sharp, but it is also very light.
If I throw that pin at you, it would not matter how hard I threw it, it would probably get caught up in your clothing. The pin is too light. You would not 'get the point'!
So by itself the point of a presentation does not have very much impact on the listener.
Add to that, there are probably no points or messages that we have not already heard many times before:
'Never give up'; 'Follow your heart'; Don't judge a book..'; 'What you give is what you get', etcâ€¦
By themselves, none of these messages will have much impact.
In fact most of them are very close to clichÃ©.
However if I take my pin and attach it to a broom handle and then throw it at you:
now you will definitely 'get the point'!
And that broom handle represents the stories, pictures and analogies that make our point memorable and give it impact.
It is only through 'the story' that we can transform the message from tired clichÃ© into something unique and original.
For over 10 years I was part of an organisation that provided its members a business or motivational book of the month. Over that period therefore I will have read at least 120 of those books (in reality many more).
After a while I started to become immune to the same old messages told in the same old way.
The points lost impact because any truth that is startling the first time you read it quickly becomes bland and clichÃ©d after 20 or 30 similar exposures.
Until, that is, someone comes along with a new original angle that brings that tired truth back to life.
And that original angle is always connected to an original story or new perspective that revitalises the point and in the process transfigures something we knew all along into one of those 'blinding flashes of the obvious!'
So a point needs the story to give it impact.
(And of course a story in turn needs a point to give it meaning.)
Therefore whenever I am working with someone preparing a speech, a training or a presentation, we will always test it against those 2 questions:
What's your story? What's your point?