Stories that move mountains: Storytelling and Visual Design for Persuasive Presentations

Martin Sykes, Nick Malik and Mark D. West

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8 out of 10

Nearly everyone has suffered ‘death by slides’ at some stage or other, and nearly all presenters fall into the same trap of using stereotypical styles and templates for their presentations.

This book is aimed at ‘visionaries and educators, change agents and revolutionaries, motivators and drivers’, and I would also add elearning authors to the list of those who must have this book at their fingertips. So, ‘if you want to influence others to make a decision, improve something or agree to a change’, then this is the book for you.

The underlying message of the book is to change the mindset of the classic slide author / composer, using a process called CAST. This is based on the storyboard concept, and breaks the message down into: content, audience, story and tell.

  • Content is the why, what, how and what if.
  • Audience is the who and the learning and decisions styles of each participant.
  • Story is the structure, character, sense of urgency and delivery plan.
  • Tell is the design and the testing of the story.

The authors do point out (well into the book) that it is unlikely that you can take on board all the concepts in one go. So I totally agree with their suggestion that a couple of ideas are selected from the book and perfected first, before going back to the book and trying a few more ideas.

Some readers might be put off by the paperback booklet style, the ‘in your face’ artwork and illustrations and the evangelical passion of the authors. However, even if you manage to incorporate only some 10 per cent of the ideas in the book, then you will certainly start to give stand-out presentations and begin to see the benefits of your £25 (or so) investment.

I can’t wait for a suitable project to come up where I can start to use some of the ideas expressed in the book.

Further information: Wiley

December 2012