If you say it’s important to use a story today to communicate your ideas, then here’s a challenge for you:
Show me your storyboard.
It’s been quite a while since we stopped telling stories around campfires, and started telling them around movie screens, TV sets and computer monitors. Hollywood learned long ago that if you’re using media to tell your story, the best way to structure and illustrate that story is with a storyboard. But how, exactly, do you do that?
Dave Woodbeck of Three Deep Marketing emailed me the other day to say:
"My firm is a small but growing marketing agency. I think it is a no-brainer that your book would apply to developing marketing campaigns for our clients. Powerpoint is just a tool that can be used to lay out a story that could be used to develop integrated marketing campaigns, from mass media and print publications all the way to the sales presentation and closing the deal. Just interested in hearing your thoughts."
Dave is articulating something that other people must be thinking, because lately the most-used search phrase that leads people to my blog is "PowerPoint storyboard." Judging by the increasing interest in this topic, could it be that you already have at your desktop a storyboarding tool even more sophisticated than the one Hollywood uses?
The answer is yes. As I describe in Beyond Bullet Points, with a coherent story structure and a few clicks of a mouse, you can quickly create a storyboard using PowerPoint. And in the process you even do Hollywood one better because the same tool you use to structure your story is ultimately the same medium you will use to deliver it; whether in person, on paper or over the web.
Whatever the size of your audience – from one person to 1 million, or more – if you have an important story to tell you have to be able to communicate it today using a blend of images and narration with a unifying narrative. This includes marketing messages, strategic plans, investor pitches and educational sessions. So with all that communication to do, why not use a storyboarding tool you already have at your fingertips to show other people what you mean?
Tip: If you don’t have a storyboard that maps out your communications in a visual way, it’s time to get started. Download the free Storyboard Formatter available here, then open the file and ask: What will my storyboard look like when I’m done? Who is the protagonist? What is the inciting incident? How does the action develop? As you put mouse to slide, your own message is sure to begin to emerge in the form of a coherent and and engaging multimedia story.