They are big, long, huge, and overwhelming. One hundred slides and no point makes people want to hide under the bed until you’re gone – ”information monsters”.

“Story rainbows,” on the other hand, are presentations that captivate instead of trying to subdue. They have a main, just-left-of-center point, and they re-assemble all the information around this main point. “Story Rainbows” travel infinity, whereas “Information Monsters” get stuck on company networks and lurk there infinity.

So keep the story rainbow in mind as we go through the mechanics of making presentations make a point.

How to make your point?
Start by asking questions: This is a set of questions to keep handy at all times. These questions will help you bridge what your audience asked for (or what you would expect them to ask for) and what you think they need, now that you’ve done the research.

Do a point dump: Take a piece of paper and, as you work through the information, capture key points. Even if you need to use long words in the presentation, try to use short words on paper.

Find the words: All creative work tends to go through divergent (exploring lots of stuff) and convergent (narrowing and focusing) phases. Having dumped your points on paper, play this game on your brain: think about the one short word that best summarizes your point. Then think of others and mind map them (or list them). Feel for words that don’t seem too obvious and common.

How will you poke people in the brain to get them to pay attention? Common business examples include:

  • A provocative question (“When’s the last time you made a presentation that made a point?”)

  • A statistic (“Did you know that 99% of presentations don’t make a point?”)

  • A small moment (“So I was sitting in a room and could see someone’s mouth moving…”)