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Brainhack by Neil Pavitt

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45 Make a Story of It

“We tell ourselves stories in order to live.”

Joan Didion

“Now children, how about a nice bedtime PowerPoint?” said their father. Not something you're going to hear any time soon. Children would never sit through a PowerPoint presentation, so why do adults? Do we find it any more interesting? Of course not.

If you can bring a story to life for children, you'll have a rapt audience. But if you don't engage them they'll get bored and lose interest really quickly. Adults are no different; they're just more polite.

Death by Bullet Point

The obvious argument for PowerPoint is that a lot of presentations have a lot of information that needs to be communicated. But what's the point of having all this information if no one remembers it?

Jessica Lawrence of New York Tech Meetup had a problem. She and her colleague were struggling to communicate to a tech firm about what they wanted from their customer relationship management (CRM) system. There was a lot of information, but they wanted to make an interesting presentation.

She needed a new way to communicate the idea that something was broken, something that had the potential to be much, much, better. So she opened a Word document and typed: “Once upon a time . . .”, then she finished the sentence: “there was a Girl Scout council with an amazing CRM system.”

Lawrence went on to write an entire fairy tale, following several characters ...

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