In my last post, I argued that it’s often more engaging to share vision using pictures rather than one more deck of bullets.  Many readers agree theoretically, but I can hear them saying, “Yeah, but how do I develop those pictures and make that content come to life?”

Here’s a recent example.  I was working with a crazy-smart executive on his vision rap.  His default setting was a traditional powerpoint.  I challenged him to think differently.  We started working through the script of his chalk talk by answering a few questions:

  • Who were the characters in the story? What were their characteristics?
  • What were the key metrics we were talking about? How had those metrics changed over time?
  • Where are we in the story now? What happened before and what could happen in the future?
  • How do we do business now? How will that change to help us get to a new place?
  • When did these things happen? What’s the timeline going forward?
  • Why does it all matter? Why does it matter to the different audiences he’ll talk to?

Yes, you’ll recognize these questions as the old-fashioned who, how many, where, how, when, and why that we all learned as kids.  But the twist is to put pictures to them and sort them into a coherent narrative.  This client suddenly started to see how he could make the talk his own and grab the attention of his audience.

I wish I could say I thought this up.  I didn’t.  I’m borrowing it from Dan Roam’s brilliant little book, The Back of the Napkin.  Dan has even helpfully put the essence of that book into tools on his site so that those who are too busy to read can see the pictures (thus proving his point that pictures are often better than words).

Go ahead and give it a spin.  You might find that a picture is worth a thousand bullets.