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October 8, 2013

The Newest Way to Create Your Next Presentation

Les Miserables

I picked up a gem of a book on the way out of MOMA recently.  It’s a board book for kids on Victor Hugo’s classic, “Les Miserables.”

It’s described by the authors as “twelve child-friendly words and twelve needle-felted illustrations.”  To give you an example, the first page says, “Poor” with a corresponding picture.  The next page: “Rich.”  And so starts the tale of Les Miserables.

Twelve pages later the delightful book ends with the word, “Together.”

If Les Miserables can be told in 12 pages, surely any strategy we’re working on, any initiative, any change we need to communicate could be done almost as succinctly (I’m overstating to make a point.).  A few words and a lot of pictures.

Add the senior leader (or parent) narrating with a few open-ended questions in between to create dialogue and you have something compelling.  And a far cry from the text-heavy, hard-to-read, unorganized PowerPoint presentations we ensure regularly.  (There are times we need charts and graphs, I know, but it’s much less often that we might think based on what we want to accomplish with our presentation.)

The company also has Leo Tolstoy’s “War and Peace,” and Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick,” among other classics.  While your audience isn’t kids, this approach might provide a germ of an idea for a better way to create your next presentation.

How might you borrow this strategy (12 words and 12 pictures) for your next presentation or key communication opportunity?

-          David Grossman

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