Occasionally, I dream of opening a home for abused PowerPoint presentations. You know the ones–200 white words on a red background; a different design for every slide; bulleted lists that are topic headings and belong in the ‘notes’ section. No one knows how to tell a story. But story telling is the only way to change minds, to get agreement.
Eric Vortschatz, who has worked with me on several projects, knows the problems in getting people to tell a story. He has a client who knows that creating images in writing is a good way to keep the reader’s attention. But if one image is great, many are better. He showed me the following, which I am sure I will see in a PowerPoint presentation one day:
“…we professionals are aware that there is a challenging junction
where the accumulated puzzle pieces of all your important parts …
meet the question, “What is the best fit for me?” This silent grand
canyon is the greatest deterrent to [people] taking their most
important step toward their “aha” moment. It’s the missing bridge
to … what is the very best fit …”
Eric and I tried to figure this out–Where, exactly, is the junction where puzzle pieces meet questions? And how is this junction is a ‘silent canyon’? How can a silent canyon be both a junction and a deterrent? How can a person take a step toward a moment? And how can a canyon (silent or otherwise) be a bridge? And how can it be a ‘missing’ bridge if they’re taking steps toward it?
If you know any of the answers, oh, please, let me know. Eric and I are stunned into silence. Possibly that means we are in the canyon approaching the moment of the silent bridge.
If words were terror suspects, this would cause international outrage. When writers do this to words, it causes marketing copy.
–Quinn McDonald teaches writing, how to give a good presentation, and how to tell stories with Powerpoint. Eric Vortschatz is an editor and writer for well-meaning clients. (c) 2007 All rights reserved by Quinn McDonald.