Tell a story without slides

Thirteen years ago Amazon’s Senior Management Team stopped using PowerPoint presentations and adopted narrative structure. Humans are conditioned to receive and respond to this structure.  Good stories have a beginning, middle and end and tell how the hero overcomes a problem. Swap hero for business, beginning for past, middle for present and end for future and you have a template to help your business consider a specific issue.

A narrative structure explains what happened, highlights the current position and shows a solution. More importantly it exchanges bullet points for real sentences, allowing you to draw from customer experience. Graphs might show that you are losing market share but a complaint from a customer woven into the presentation gives an indication why. You can summarize all customer complaints and table them, without empathy. When you hear how your decision affected a real family, it means so much more and should inspire a determination to do better. A poignant example of this is the resignation of the British Home Secretary over threats to deport the children of the Windrush generation.

The Home Office almost certainly has slides with deportation targets, counting the people affected as stats and approving the destruction of their paperwork.  Listening to their stories should have been part of the decision making process.

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