One must imagine that Jeff Bezos attends a lot of meetings — with a lot of PowerPoint presentations, right? Well, no longer is that the case (at least it’s no longer the case that PowerPoints are in the equation). In place of these nearly ubiquitous bullet-point, image-heavy slides that are projected on screens for everyone to “follow,” Amazon employees read memos setting the tone of the meeting before any one actually starts talking,” according to Robert Glazer, Founder and CEO of Acceleration Partners, writing on Quora and recently published on Inc.com.
Mr. Glazer has implemented the policy across his organization and he’s found that after digesting the message conveyed in the memo, people start talking about what they’ve read, and they’re able to discuss the “story” they’ve just read with a greater understanding than they could have absorbed from bullet points and some talking head reading the bullets alongside the audience. Pertinent Q & A follows. That’s just one of the five benefits that Mr. Glazer said his PowerPoint-free policy has realized. The other four are:
- Efficiency. Glazer asks that employees read the memos (“stories”) before the meeting begins. (Bezos asks everyone to read the stories during the meeting.) Reading these memos lets everyone get up-to-speed on the topic before the meeting begins.
- More equality across the organization. “Using memos gives all participants a chance to be heard and to share their thinking clearly,” rather than having a few people get most of the attention through either presenting the PowerPoint slides or just generally being the most outspoken and perhaps most self-assured.
- Better thinking. Memos help readers absorb facts because they require them to think deeply, and narrative form stories are easier to absorb than facts and figures presented on a screen.
- Historical perspective. While those who miss meetings could ask for a copy of the PowerPoint, with narrative stories in memo form, there’s a more complete story available for review and consideration. Memos can also be made keyword searchable and saved to the company’s learning management system.
These examples describe internal meetings. The same or similar pattern can be followed when presenting to external audiences. Except perhaps they’re not called “memos,” because that may denigrate the importance of an important sales presentation or a training session. Perhaps instead they’re called “stories” — with additional descriptors to formalize the stories a bit. “Products and Services Stories” or “Training Success Stories” are possibilities.
Do you have PowerPoints that need to be revised so they can be told in narrative story format, covering all the points that you want to get across to your audience? Don’t have time to do convert them? Not a very confident writer? Please let me help guide you as you reformulate your stories to inspire and motivate your audiences. Be in touch for a 30-minute, no-obligation phone call to discuss your needs and my products and services.
Until then, tell your stories — and frame them well.
Leave a Reply