Just ask Kim, who has developed a great recurring theme for the script she is writing for her PowerPoint makeover. The latest round of revisions go something like this in the first five slides of Act I of her story:
- Setting: The rules of retirement today are being re-written on the fly
- Protagonist: It is late in the game. To win, you need a new playbook
- Imbalance: Only 20% are outfitted to replace their income in retirement
- Balance: But a financially secure retirement is still an achievable goal
- Solution: Call the right play. Tap the power of the Snider Method
A motif like the one Kim has chosen also can be carried through the three high-level points in Act II, by pivoting off of the Solution statement:
Call the right play. Tap the power of the Snider Method (how?)
- Play offense by withdrawing money in retirement at a high and consistent rate
- Play defense by protecting yourself from a prolonged economic downturn
- Make the winning pass by effortlessly taking control of your financial future
A strong motif like this can play multiple roles in your own presentation, like it will for Kim:
- It unlocks Kim’s passion, because she happens to like football and she knows her audience does too.
- It will make the job of finding visuals for these five slides easier (any guesses on what the photos or art will look like?)
- It helps the audience integrate the information more easily into their long-term memory, because it relates to something they already know.
As another example of a motif, we started working today on a theme for a different presentation to a legal audience in the discussion board, that relates to the "scales of justice" in these first five slides from Act I:
Setting: Communicating effectively in or out of the courtroom can be tough
Protagonist: As an attorney, your challenge is to make things clear and simple
Imbalance: Overloaded PowerPoint slides can easily tip the scales against you
Balance: Find the right balance, and juries and judges will understand you better
Solution: Harness Hollywood media savvy and research into human learning for a successful verdict
These are just two examples of the limitless motifs that can help your communication cohere. What’s your motif that sets up your story, and helps people understand your message? It may not come to you in the first draft of your Act I statements, but rather may come in later rounds. And if you’re really stuck, or if you just want other people’s opinions, post your Act I statements on the discussion board, and we’ll offer our thoughts!