If you give a presentation that tells your audience 50 things, which five things will they remember? Why did movie screenwriters make Indiana Jones afraid of snakes? These seemingly unrelated questions relate to two crucial points in the book, “Get to the Heart: How movie storytelling secrets can make your presentation clear, compelling, and earn you a seat at the table,” by Ted Frank, Damon Pipitone and Celeste Auge. Here are two more important questions:
- Do the insights and ideas in your presentations end up in the filing cabinet instead of guiding your audience to buy-in and taking action?
- Are your presentations full of clutter that keeps you from connecting with your audience in a meaningful way?
Everybody in marketing these days touts the need for storytelling, but this book is much more than that perspective. The authors of “Get to the Heart” point out science shows the human attention span dropped by 3.75 seconds from 2000 to 2015, and we now have an average attention span of 8.25 seconds. Think how this fact impacts the effectiveness of your presentations – yet somehow people stay glued to a movie for more than two hours. How would it benefit your career if you understood the power in the way movies tell stories and knew how to apply moviemakers’ approaches to your own presentations? That’s what you’ll learn by reading this book.
“The heart” in the book title refers to what matters to your audience/stakeholders. Film professional Ted Frank reveals moviemakers’ techniques of getting to viewers’ hearts and explains how you can use these techniques to transform boring presentations into stories that align with, inspire and move your audience to action.
Among the many easy-to-read tips you’ll find in this book are:
- Two essential questions you should answer before you start preparing a presentation
- Ways to fit your presentation with the audience’s natural learning style
- How to use visual elements that relate to your specific audience
- How to craft a presentation that your audience will actually hear and remember (remember humans’ short attention span)
- How to present your information so your audience not only sees your key points but also feels them emotionally, thus inspiring action
- What you can do if you only have one hour or one day to prepare for a presentation.
“Get to the Heart” is fun to read with interesting case studies as well as interactive features such as links to movie scenes that illustrate the main points. And it’s crafted to help people remember what they read. At the end of each chapter is a list of “The 5 Big Takeaways.” At the end is a “Cliff’s Notes” version of the book – in two pages and 15 quick points.
This is one of the most valuable, insightful books I’ve read, as the information can be applied to any situation where you want to influence someone, even if you’re not in sales and marketing or if no formal presentation is involved.
Ted Frank is the principal and a story strategist at Backstories Studio, which uses movie-style storytelling to help people make presentations quicker, more visual and more emotionally effective. He helps people in corporations get their insights and ideas heard. A long-time veteran in advertising, marketing, consulting and filmmaking, he has discovered how to transform corporate projects into powerful stories for companies such as Netflix, Fiat Chrysler, Twitter and Pacific Gas & Electric. Connect with Ted on Twitter and on LinkedIn.