Would you enjoy sitting though a 2-1/2 hour, 253-slide PowerPoint presentation? Evidently, one lawyer used just that for his closing argument and wowed the jury enough to get a $253 million judgement for his clients.
To Atkinson, a 41-year-old, MBA-wielding former Air Force officer who has also dabbled in journalism, that came as no surprise. Since 2001, he has made a living helping people unshackle themselves from the tedium of pie charts. His secret, which he is happy to share with anyone who asks: using the same three-act storytelling structure that screenwriters swear by.
“Hollywood has been communicating using words and pictures for 100 years without text on the screen, so we need to look at what they do,” he said recently as he showed a visitor around his Miracle Mile apartment, which doubles as his office, near Wilshire Boulevard.
Of course, the slide show by itself did very little to convince the jury. It was the presenter’s ability to tell a compelling story and use the graphics on the screen to support his words.
It’s too bad the PowerPoint-wielding presenters I have to sit through don’t understand that.