Jeff Bezos replaces Powerpoint presentations with ‘narrative memos’ at Amazon. We uncover how entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs and business leaders like yourself can write one to test in your next meeting (please tell us how it went, we’d love to know!).
In his 2018 annual letter, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos repeated his rule that PowerPoint is banned in executive meetings.
“The traditional kind of corporate meeting starts with a presentation. Somebody gets up in front of the room and presents with a PowerPoint presentation, some type of slide show. In our view you get very little information, you get bullet points. This is easy for the presenter, but difficult for the audience.”
Neuroscience shows that the human brain is wired for story. When it comes to meetings and presentation design, our brain can’t effectively do two things at once, we can’t read text on the screen and listen to the speaker while retaining all of the information.
We process our world in narrative, we talk in narrative and most important for leadership is that people recall and retain information more effectively when it’s presented in the form of a story, not bullet points.
So, What is a narrative memo and how do I write one to test at my next meeting?
A narrative memo is a six-page piece of writing that’s structured in a story-like format with real sentences, topic sentences, verbs, and nouns. Which may look something like:
- Over the past X period, it was like this …
- Then this significant event happened …
- So now we must do this …
- So that the future might look like this …
Instead of reading bullet points on a PowerPoint slide, have your leadership team sit silently for about 30 minutes to read. After everyone’s done reading, initiate a discussion to address the topic at hand. “It’s so much better than the typical PowerPoint presentation for so many reasons,” Bezos added.
Test it out at your next team meeting and comment below or send us a message through social to let us know how it went, we’d love to feature your experience via our media channels.
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