They take a horizontal approach called: Storyboarding.
This gentleman called Walt Disney introduced storyboarding in Hollywood in the 1920’s. He would use the storyboard as a way to figure out his animation—where is his story going from the beginning to the end?
Now, legend has it that Walt Disney was an incredible pitchman. The theory is that one of the reasons he was such a good presenter, that he was such an incredible pitchman, is that he had thought through this presentation using this horizontal approach. This storyboard approach. The whole thing hung together because it was already a movie in his mind, when he was giving his pitch.
Before he had his own studio he had to give a lot of presentations, because he needed to convince people to give him a lot of money so he could make his movies.
There is not a screenwriter in Hollywood today that does not use the storyboarding approach, and the same thing goes for good presenters as well.
Now, I want you to imagine you’ve been given 10 minutes for a presentation. According to our 20/10 rule, how many slides are we going to need?
So you lay out your slides in a horizontal way. Typically I advise my clients not to sit down at their computer and start with their PowerPoint straight away. I suggest they assemble it with index cards, or 3×5 cards, or sticky notes. Lay them out across your desk. In this way you can lay out all of your thoughts on these cards and you can move them around and mix and match them. Once you know the shape of your presentation, then you can move to your computer.
The next thing that the storyboard approach gives us, that the outline does not, is when you’re writing an outline you start at the top. Here’s the first thing I’m going to say. Well, the storyboarding approach allows you to start at the end.
If you remember nothing else from this entire presentation, please remember this tip. You want to start at the end, because of the psychological principle called recency and primacy.
In layman’s terms what that means is that human beings remember the most recent thing that happens, the last thing that happened. Primacy means one. Then we remember the first thing that happened.
So we remember the last thing first, the first thing second, and all the stuff in the middle, you remember that last.
Now you have the psychological advantage. If you know the audience is going to remember the last thing that you say as the most important thing that you say, you want to start thinking: what is the last thing you’re going to say? What will you end with? Because that’s going to be the most important thing.