Archive for the ‘Storytelling – storylines’ Category

Quick: how many 3’s in the block of numbers?

September 7, 2017

Let’s test our cognitive skills today..


This summer, I’ve been reading up on storytelling and data visualization.

Hit pay dirt with a book called  Storytelling with Data: A Data Visualization Guide for Business Professionals.

One of the topics is how to leverage pre-attentive attributes – visual cues that can influence what information catches a reader’s eye on a slide or chart … think: “shiny objects”.

To demonstrate the concept of pre-attentive attributes: Observe the block of numbers below … how many 3’s are there in this block of numbers?


And, the answer is …


The art of storytelling and the “power of the narrative”

November 29, 2016

Trump mastered a “central truth of persuasion” … Hillary didn’t.


In my courses, I emphasize that pitches (think: Powerpoint decks) should be organized around storylines with smooth-flowing logic that is sufficiently compelling to lead the audience to an inescapable conclusion.

For many students, that notion doesn’t come naturally, especially since we typically think about stories in a cultural frame (movies, books, music) … not business communications..

Not only are storylines important in business communications, they are critical in political campaigns.

Just ask Mark McKinnon.

He’s a former Bush marketing adviser who followed around all of the candidates for a Showtime series called (appropriately) “The Circus”.

After 18 months on the campaign trail, McKinnon concluded:


More specifically, McKinnon says:

Voters are attracted to candidates who lay out a storyline.

Losing campaigns communicate unconnected streams of information, ideas, and speeches.

Winning campaigns create a narrative architecture that ties it all together into something meaningful and coherent.

Trump told a story.

Hillary didn’t.

So, how to tell a good story?