#SOTD 23: Three more tweets, one powerful lesson

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#SOTD 23: Three more tweets, one powerful lesson

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Back to #SOTD!​

Yesterday I wrote my analysis of the storytelling techniques used by Prof. Poast in his tweet thread on the Russia-Ukraine war.​

Today, let’s look at the next set of tweets from that thread.

​Take this sentence: “Russia is already coming up short on material, manpower and money”

​How would you present this message on a slide?

​Perhaps like this:

That’s your standard company slide – share ALL the information in one chunk so that the busy executive can absorb everything at once.​

​But it doesn’t work that way. When we see a large block of text, our mind tells us: “Too much reading. Eyes get tired. Mind overload. Abort, ABORT!”

​What would be much better is if you can release the information in smaller bite-sized chunks – making it easier for the audience to ‘get’ each chunk (and the overall message) faster.

For instance, this would be a better way to present that slide.

Which is what Prof. Poast essentially does in his tweet thread.​

​I call it the ‘comic-strip-style‘ slide.

​It breaks down a bunch of content into smaller ‘panels’ on the slide and then – this is important – has a clear message on the top of each panel, supported by a visual/other piece of evidence just below it. Think of it as mini slides within a slide.

​There are three features of such a slide:

  • Divide a slide into 2-4 panels: Instead of taking the entire slide as a canvas where you can put any information wherever you desire, divide it into ‘panels’ (max 4). You can use thin, light grey lines to differentiate the panels (or even use white space as a divider)
  • Message on top, visual below: Each panel should have a message on top and some chart, table or other evidence (with credible source) below
  • Ellipsis to indicate flow: The messages should be in ‘flow’ – they should be connected with each other. One simple way to show the flow is the ellipsis – the three dots (…) that we use to say – “hang on, I’m not done yet!”.

Here is a great real-life example of a ‘comic-strip’ style slide. This is from an Accenture presentation to the United States Postal Service. Note how the relatively long message on top is broken down into 3 panels with bite-sized chunks of information in each.

And here is example # 2 (this one I had created for a presentation many years back):​

#SOTD 23​

Story techniques used by Prof. Poast in the next three tweets from the thread.

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