The 5 Principles and 10 Building Blocks of Persuasive Visual Storytelling

Building Blocks 5-7: The Map, The Anchors, and The Explanation

You set in motion some powerful processes in Act I of the story template that continue to play out as you create the rest of the slides in your presentation. Just as in Act I, you’ll break up your ideas in Act II into digestible pieces by writing out complete-sentence headlines in the story template. Later, just as in Act I, each sentence will become the headline of a slide, as shown in Figure 3-9.


FIGURE 3-9 The headlines you write in Act II of the story template become the headlines of the rest of your Act II slides.

The challenge of any presentation is not to show all the information you have, but instead to select the most important information to present. The story template guides you through the important process of selecting only the ideas your audience needs to know and breaking them down into digestible chunks that are easier for your audience to understand. As you structure Act II, you lay out the Map for your audience, indicating where they’re headed so they don’t become confused or disoriented.

A logic-tree structure is built into Act II of the story template, as shown in Figure 3-10; this structure helps you put the most important information at the top level of attention, to increase memorability and application. Following the classic Rule of Three that calls for making only three key points in a presentation, you define your most important points, and these become the three Anchors of the presentation. You literally can see them in Act II, where you clarify and identify these top-level points, create a logical and clear structure, and perhaps most importantly, leave out nonessential information. Together, your Act II is the set of slides that provide the Explanation for your story—a mix of anecdotes, examples, and data to back up your case.


FIGURE 3-10 A built-in logic-tree structure prioritizes your ideas from most important to least, from left to right.

Completing Act II of the story template will sharpen your critical-thinking skills and ensure that the new information in your presentation appears in the order and sequence needed to prevent overloading the working memory of your audience, as shown in Figure 3-11.


FIGURE 3-11 Act II makes sure that you present the correct priority and sequence of slides to working memory.