We talk a lot about the power of pairing down presentation content to allow your message to sing. It’s become somewhat of a personal obsession whenever I’m pulled into a conversation about ‘Death by PowerPoint’ – the modern malady has nothing to do with PowerPoint design skills and everything to do with throwing too much information at your audience.
Less delivers so much more in presentations.
So what does this have to do with Sir Macca? Let me explain…
When I talk about the power of only sharing information that will help audiences connect with your key message, I will often reference ‘Blackbird’ by The Beatles. Not only is it one of the most beautiful and moving songs ever recorded (IMHO), it is the epitome of ‘less is more’.
Lesson One – Less is More
To misquote Dire Straits, Paul McCartney ‘knows all the chords’. His remarkable gift means he could throw the musical kitchen sink at a song and probably get away with it. Still, one of his most enduring compositions relies on a handful of carefully chosen notes delivered in a beautifully crafted way.
Sidenote: This wasn’t a fluke. ‘Yesterday’ ticks the same ‘less is more’ box. Ditto for ‘The Long & Winding Road’. See – less is more every time.
Lesson Two – Borrow From Those Before You
In the following video, Macca admits that the familiar hook in ‘Blackbird’ was strongly influenced by a piece by Bach (a guitar noodle that he and George would play to impress people at parties). Many years later, the beauty and simplicity of the hook stayed with him. At this point in The Beatles’ history, he could have been forgiven for thinking that he had all the answers but instead leaned on the wisdom of those that came before him.
The same goes for presentation storytelling. Building your presentations on proven structures like Audience Pathway Model or Key Message Headline doesn’t show a lack of creativity – it merely gives you more time to develop a message and supporting content that will truly resonate with your audience.
Lesson Three – With A Little Help From His Friends
‘Blackbird’ was written by Paul McCartney but credited to Lennon-McCartney. Crafting anything, from timeless pop classics to pitch decks, works best if you have a trusted colleague to bounce things off.
Our advice? Find your Lennon – it makes all the difference.
So there you have it – do what Macca does, and your next presentation will sing.
It’s time to ‘Get Back’ to basics with presentations. You don’t have to work ‘Eight Days A Week’ on your PowerPoint design or be a ‘Paperback Writer’ to be a successful presentation storyteller.
You get the idea…
(‘Help!’, I’ve run out of Beatle puns).
Crafting your Presentation Story:
Creating a Powerful Presentation from Scratch:
From The Beatles to the Beastie Boys: