Dry Statistics Made to Stick

Posted by Kristin Arnold on February 11, 2011

As we close the “Just Say No to Powerpoint Week”, did you succumb to the siren call of Powerpoint?  And… if you just had to grab the remote, did you tell the story around the Powerpoint flashing on the screen?  It’s all about the story – whether you are sharing a daring-do or a dry data dump.  People can read your PowerPoint.  What they can’t read is your story – your interpretation of the facts, events and images.

Dan and Chip Heath

The Heath Brothers hit the proverbial nail on the head in this month’s issue of Fast Company .  They said, “if you want change, close out of PowerPoint and start looking for the right feeling.”  That’s right.  They said “feeling.” In the article, the Brothers describe the story about Curt Lansbery, CEO of North American Tool who kept harping about how his employees should max out their 401(k) investments.  Then, one year at the annual enrollment meeting, he brought in a zipped bag, unzipped it, and upended it over a table.  Cash  came pouring out of the bag – $9,832 to be precise – the amount of money his employees had failed to claim the year prior.  He pointed at the money and said, “This is your money.  It should be in your pocket.  Next year, do you want it on the table or in your pocket?”  There was a stunned silence….and then a rush to sign up.

Did Curt use PowerPoint to make the point?  Not this time.  He relied on a story.  A pretty impressive “prop” to provide image and context – and to evoke the feeling that the audience should DO something.

What are you doing to evoke the feeling in your audience and inspire them to action?

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