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THE POWER OF A PYRAMID
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The design of Act II of the story template is inspired by Barbara Minto s book, The Minto Pyramid Principle: Logic in Writing, Thinking, and Problem Solving (Minto International, 1996). The book is a sophisticated, thorough, and comprehensive application of a logic tree technique that Minto developed 30 years ago to teach management consultants to write business documents more effectively, and she now teaches her approach as an independent consultant to senior executives around the world.
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Prioritizing Your Slides
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To recap your story so far: Your Act I headlines de ne the Setting, Role, Point A, Point B, and Call to Action slides. You make your audience s problem clear with the gap between the challenge they face in the Point A headline and where they want to be in the Point B headline. The gap between these headlines forms the dramatic tension for the entire presentation, causing your audience to now pay close attention to nd out how they can solve this problem. With this gap wide open, you focus the entire presentation with the Call to Action headline. This makes the headline of the Call to Action slide the top of the triangle, as shown in Figure 5-8, and Act II is the rest of the triangle that will pull your slides through the eye of the needle of your audience s working memory based on a sensible sequence and priority.
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Planning the Rest of Your Slides
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The Call to Action headline focuses all the slides in the hierarchy.
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Call to Action
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FIGURE 5-8 The tip of the hierarchy is the headline of the Call to Action slide from Act I.
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In the example presentation, your proposed Call to Action headline is to Hire us to help you nd the returns you seek, as shown in Figure 5-9.
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FIGURE 5-9 The Call to Action cell from Act I with the headline completed.
Now that your audience knows your recommended Call to Action headline, they re eager to hear why and how it is a good idea, which is what you ll justify next. Focusing exclusively on explaining your Call to Action headline in Act II gives you the criteria you need to reduce the amount of information in your presentation. You ll include only information that supports your reasons for recommending the Call to Action headline and exclude everything else. See Also As you work on Act II, refer to the completed story templates available at www. beyondbulletpoints.com. These templates include a range of Act II examples from different types of presentations.
Prioritizing Your Slides
5
Justifying the Call to Action Headline with the Key Point Headlines
As you begin Act II, your rst goal is to write the headlines for the most important slides you will present. If your audience will remember only three key points in your presentation, you need to know speci cally where those corresponding slides are in your presentation and allow ample time to show and speak about them. In order to create these important slides, you will justify your Call to Action headline. You ll do this by boiling down to only three Key Point headlines the reasons why your audience should accept your recommended Call to Action or the main steps that describe how they should implement it. You will accomplish that by writing three headlines in the rst column of Act II. See Also It s always a good idea to limit your ideas to groups of three, as described in Tip 1: The Power of Three later in this chapter. But if you need to expand your groupings to four, you can use the expanded template version that s described in Tip 2: Make Room for Four. To begin lling in Act II in the story template, position your cursor to the right of the Key Point column heading. If the Call to Action headline recommends your audience do something, they will want to know why they should do it. If your Call to Action headline recommends they follow a set of steps, they will want to know how. This is a critical decision-making point, because whether you choose why or how will shape every slide to follow in Act II. If you choose why, you are giving the entire presentation a persuasive orientation. If you choose how, you are giving the entire presentation an explanatory orientation. When the singular focus of the presentation is to persuade someone to do or think something, choose why. When the audience already has agreed to the idea and now your singular focus is to explain something, choose how. You can create a hybrid persuasive-explanatory presentation by choosing how for the rst column and why for the others, or vice versa. Choose the question that best describes what your audience will want to know next about your Call to Action headline, and type the question to the right of the Key Point column heading in this case, Why as shown in Figure 5-10.
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