The beauty of a verbal story is that it forces you to stick to one sequential story line. In a direct dialogue you need to weave your big thoughts together on the spot, right there with the instant feedback of the eyes of your audience signalling “Uh oh, I am losing the plot here”.

When writing prose, this clean story line can go missing. You write a sentence, go back, edit it, add a buzzword, put in a tangent/exception, copy and paste the section somewhere else. Soon, the clear, instant, on the spot, story line is gone and replaced by a page out of a business school text book.

In visual slide design something similar happens. You start with an idea for some visual concept, but then things get added (ROI, customers, social engagement) and before you know it you have a diagram that is really useful for you, the designer, as an aide memoir of what your business is all about, but the audience is losing the plot.

When designing a presentation, try to stay as close as possible to that fresh, on the spot, story line with which you started out with. Stick to very basic visual compositions (a trade off, best of both worlds, elimination of a layer) and visualise your story around that. Add distractions and complications later, after the big idea has settled in.

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