Category Archives: Storytelling

The Power of a List

A visual will almost always trump text, but sometimes text functions as a visual itself. The other day a client who offers a SaaS product called asking if there was a better way to show feature options across various versions than his current tabled list. I can’t show his list, but it was very similar to this from Quicken:

We’ve all seen things like this and the reason is that things like this work quite well in quickly comparing and contrasting in order to make a decision. This is a time when simple checkmarks or missing checkmarks serves as a highly informative visual story.

Today I received an email from Jim Johnson, a New Jersey gubernatorial candidate contrasting himself with his primary challenger. And I loved it. It was nearly all text, but the repetition of Murphy’s limited diversity of experience was easily readable and served as a glanceable visual with a big story.

Sometimes a table is simply the best choice. And sometimes text does communicate visually.



Upcoming Presentation Webinars

Upcoming Webinars

While most of my training continues to be onsite at clients, you can occasionally catch me online. And I have two upcoming webinars.

American Management Association – April 7, 2016

American Management Association


This Thursday, April 7, I will again be giving Creating Visual Presentations for the AMA.

This 90-minute session is an overview on how to become a better visual storyteller. We’ll cover proven strategies for reducing text, how to avoid the bullet point trap by using the “chunking” technique, how to harness the picture  superiority effect and basic graphic design layout principles to make your presentations look more professional.

For more information and to sign up, click here.

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Presentationxpert – April 13, 2016

The next is foPresentationxpertr my friends at where this time I will be giving a free 1-hour session on Creating an Effective Presentation Story. Much of my training revolves around what to do after you have created a clear and compelling story, but now I’ll take some time to dive into all the things you need to do before you start burying your head in PowerPoint.

In the webinar, I’ll guide you through creating your own persuasive presentation structure step by step, and reveal each question that needs to be answered along the way. From the very first and most important determining piece of information (it’s not what you think…) to identifying your audience, creating singular messaging, calls to action, simple ideation techniques and easy outlining.

You’ll learn how to define your “Point A” and your “Point B,” how to write your presentation bumper sticker and how to use certain PowerPoint tools to your advantage to stay organized.

I’ll even discuss what makes good a header and how to avoid jargon and business-speak.

Sign up for free here!


Generating Ideas With SmartStormer Online Training



If there’s one thing drives me crazy, it’s seeing people putting together and designing a presentation before they even know what they’re trying to say. Often, this cart-before-the-horse approach is the result of laziness and simply not wanting to outline a story first. But I also see cases where presenters are literally trying to generate business ideas and solutions at the same time they’re deciding what font color to use. This couldn’t be more counterproductive to successful ideation, and it shows me yet again that idea generation is a vanishing art.

“Innovation” is what leaders say time and again is most important to their businesses, and yet few of us know how to actually generate and select innovative ideas—be it an iPhone or a better way for signing up for the office softball team.

So, how do you successfully ideate?

I’ve written before about the book SmartStorming which I still consider the single best book I have ever seen on this topic. The authors, Keith Harmeyer and Mitchell Rigie (good friends and former colleagues, full disclosure) are simply the best in the business when it comes to helping others generate new ideas and innovate.

Until now, the only way to learn their secret sauce was through their book or by attending a private corporate training. That changes with the introduction of their new SmartStormer online training available to all. Adapted from their in-person trainings, the 5 1/2 hour course contains interactive exercises, quizzes and 70 high-quality videos. It is essentially the online version of the full day SmartStorming training. And yes, it definitely contains their secret sauce to ideation. If you feel like you struggle with coming up with “good ideas” and wonder how others can brainstorm 20 ideas vs your three, I highly encourage you to take a look. The course is modular and can be accessed for up to a year, so you can definitely go through it at your own pace.

The cost to the public is $299, but use the special Present Your Story code of PYS50, and you’ll receive a $50 discount. And if you’re interested in a group discount for your office, just give them a holler—I’m sure they’ll cut you a good deal.

Find out more here and even try a free sample.

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And if you need more convincing, head over to 3 Questions with Keith.

visual training presentation