STORIES THAT MOVE MOUNTAINS

Storytelling and Visual Design for Persuasive Presentations

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

I had been developing and using the ideas in this book for five years before I presented them for the first time in public at the seventh annual Enterprise Architecture Europe Conference in 2006. Between that first public showing and the writing of this book, the content had been refined, tested, and used to train hundreds of Microsoft employees and people in other major organisations around the world.
In 2010, Nick offered to work on the book with me, and we soon invited Mark to join us. Even at that point, this project almost didn’t happen. As we were conducting the market research, I found enough books with similar content that I almost gave up.


However, after talking with people who had participated in my training courses I realised we had two very strong reasons to write a book. Many books had a narrow focus on a particular skill set, with very few covering the breadth of techniques, or explaining how to bring all of these skills together in a repeatable process. Hardly any of the books focused on the practical aspect, with worked examples to show how to apply the concepts.


Our aim is to keep the theory to a minimum and focus on the practical. Eventually you may need those other books that dive deeper into the details and the theory, but when the presentation needs doing and your career is on the line, we believed a “get the job done” guide was needed. Stories That Move Mountains is focused on one of the most common reasons for presentations — the need to gain commitment from other people for a change, proposal, or decision.


Many presentations and communications are made each day simply to educate the audience, but I know from many years of trying to influence people that when you want the audience to make a decision, or want to change their behaviour, you have to work a lot harder. This is a handbook for people who are ready to go beyond the usual approach of presentation slides covered in bullet lists. This book is about content, focusing on just what the audience needs to understand. It’s about understanding your audience, and the reasons why they will be willing to act on your proposal. It’s about using stories to wrap your message in a way that has influence and impact. And it’s about creating your content in the right format for the situation.


More and more, we see that people do not have the time to read long text documents and are bored with typical presentations. At the same time, we see too many projects fail because the people involved have not committed to the changes the project requires. In this book, we introduce you to a process that focuses your message onto a single page, and from there build out to the appropriate mix of formats to deliver a compelling visual story. When we wrote the book we already had evidence this process had worked for many hundreds of people. Since then the content and examples have continued to develop into the presentations and workshops I give today. You can find announcements about these on my home page.


If you have any questions, feedback, or examples you would like to share you can contact me directly, or any of us on our Facebook page. 

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