Life is tough in the corporate world today. Endless (often useless) meetings, short-term requests that frustrate your attention to get the big job done, a relentless stream of emails. With all these distractions, it is hard to find the time to simply sit down and design/write/dream the story you want to tell. And on top of that, managers assume (correctly) that they know what they want to say, so there is no point wasting two hours to go over the obvious. Incorrect.

Managers suffer from the Curse of Knowledge. Yes, they do know the substance inside out, but cannot explain it to outsiders. Buzzwords and corporate speak have become a morse code, a short cut, that management understands perfectly, but that does not stick with outsiders.

Moreover, outsiders might have difficult questions that do not follow the business-school-like structure a manager would use to explain her business. Writing a story to lecture someone on a new topic is different from writing a story to address the concerns of a highly cynical audience.

And finally, writing a presentation without a proper story brainstorm takes out those personal anecdotes and jokes that can make your presentation so much more interesting.

In the end, many corporate presentations work out and are great. But very often this is the result of a reset in the middle of the design process. After the presentation is almost ready to go, people take a step back and start discussing the story, which often in  a complete redesign of the deck.

Maybe that meeting should have been the first in the design process, not one of the last ones.

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