In its purest form, any presentation can be boiled down to two elements: a story and a point.
The 'point' of a presentation is like a sharp pin.
The pin may be sharp, but it is also 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 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', etc.
By themselves, none of these messages has much impact.
In fact, most of them are clichés.
However, if I take my pin and attach it to a broom handle and then throw it at you:
now you will 'get the point'.
And that broom handle represents the stories, pictures, and analogies that make our point memorable and give it an impact.
It is only through 'the story' that we can transform the message from tired cliché into something unique and original.
For over ten years I was part of an organisation that provided its members with 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 tired way.
The point is lost because any startling truth the first time you read it quickly becomes bland and cliché after twenty-five or thirty similar exposures.
Until that is, someone comes along with a new original angle that brings that truth back to life.
And that original angle is always connected to an original story or new perspective that revitalizes 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 two questions:
What's your story? What's your point?
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