This article shares the second of eight show biz based entertainment techniques that will help you deliver more engaging presentations.
In the prior article in this series, The first of eight entertainment techniques for more engaging presentations, we discovered that the entertainment industry knows how to evoke emotion and suggested that presentations should too.
Entertainment industry technique two: Structure a Story
Presentations are organized sequentially. Point A follows point B; C follows B; D follows C; and so it goes. It is possible for a sequentially designed training program to be completely logical, methodically organized and structurally sound while leaving the trainees mind-numbingly bored.
A series of talking points is not an experience. Entertainments, on the other hand, know how to deliver an experience. They do this through three-act story structure.
Three-act consists of four components:
The Prologue hints at the story to follow, teases interest, and suggests that the story will be worthy of following. It answers the “Why should I pay attention?” question. In Raiders of the Lost Ark , Indiana Jones navigates several traps, steals an idol, escapes a rolling boulder, outruns dart throwing natives and escapes in a plane full of snakes.
Act One provides the bare details the viewer must know to follow the action that will follow. It answers the “What is it?” question. In Raiders, we learn that Jones is a reluctant college professor, that the evil Nazis are close to fining the fabled Ark of the Covenant, and that Jones must find it first but needs the help of old flame Marion to find it. He travels to Nepal to meet Marion and, after an interruption from the Nazis, the act ends.
Act Two puts the plot in motion. It answers the “How will this play out?” question. Jones and Marion travel to India, discover that the Nazis are digging in the wrong place, find the ark, are captured, fight to get the ark back, and once successful, end up on a ship with the ark.
Act Three resolves the major conflicts. It answers the “Where will it end?” question. Jones’ ship is intercepted, the ark is taken by the Nazis and placed on top of submarine, Jones follows the ark, tries and fails to retake it, is tied to a stake as the Nazis open the ark and are destroyed. The ark ends up stored in a government warehouse.
Although this structure is very different from traditional presentation, it can be applied to the needs of learners. All one has to do is divide the content into corresponding three-act presentation structure.
The Prologue addresses the “Why this information is important to me?” question in an emotional sense as indicated in the last article, The first of eight entertainment techniques for more engaging presentations.
Act One shares the critical information the learners will need to begin working with the content. It answers the “What is the critical subject information?” question.
Act Two provides an opportunity to practice the information presented in Act One and adds additional information that expands comprehension of that information. The act answers the question, “How does this information work?”
Act Three seeks to tie the subject matter to the learners’ lives. In asking the “Where can I apply this information?” It seeks to find personal relevance that can take the learning into the real world.
When presentations are reorganized based on this simple sequence, and aligned with a core message as indicated in the prior article, they transform from a series of boring talking points into a story that unfolds in a curiosity building, natural feeling, engagingly informative manner.
Deliver a message that is both sequential and deep. Structure a Story!
In the next article in this series, The third of eight entertainment techniques for more engaging presentations, we will examine the need to make your surroundings an irresistible invitation to learn.