Sales and Marketing Performance Blog

Using Visual Storytelling to Get Your Next Job - Case Study

Posted by Mark Gibson on Thu, May 16, 2013

"I'm sorry to tell you that we are restructuring the company and we have to let you and twelve others go."

Ever been laid off? I have - and chances are that at some time in your life it could happen to you. Layoff's happen, it's a fact of life in our time and it's no big deal. Companies re-organize, merge, get acquired, have a bad quarter and suddenly, headcount becomes a problem.

After 9-11, there were hundreds of thousands of sales and marketing professionals in the Bay Area suddenly unemployed. Long gone is the era of my parents (grand-parents for many readers), when you joined a company and expected to work a lifetime and retire on a pension at 65.

What happens when you do get laid off? How do you get back into the workforce and perhaps more importantly, how do you win the job you really want, when there are potentially dozens or even hundreds of others applying for the same job? Hint - be different!

Wil Loesel (www.linkedin.com/in/wloesel) worked for Time Warner Cable as a sales manager and was recently laid off due to a restructuring. Wil visited my Website earlier this month and viewed our "Your PowerPoint Presentations Suck Webinar" and decided to apply some of the ideas he learned in the Webinar to differentiate himself in his job search.

Wil's Story

"I had an interview for a B2C Manager position on May 5th. I had prepared a presentation a week earlier for another company I was interviewing at and was working on tailoring it for my interview the next day. I watched your webinar the evening prior to my interview and decided I wanted to change my entire presentation.

I stayed up all night (until 8am) revising the presentation. I then slept for 2 hours, woke up and kept working, all the way until my interview. I wrote and memorized talking points and stories for each slide (keeping the slides visual, using only a word or two and a picture) and let my voice present the story."

Wil's Before Slides

There is nothing wrong with Wil's before slides, it's just that they are typical, the same meaningless graphics, too much information and have a memory retention lifecycle for the viewer of one mouse-click.
boring powerpointThis is one of the worst slides in Wil's old deck, but it's so familiar. I've seen something like this many times and when I see it my eyes glaze over it and move on. 

chart junk

The slide below is popular at the moment. I have seen a derivative of this several times at industry conferences and Webinars already this year. It is unreadable and has too much information to be presented effectively.

bad powerpoint

Wil's After Slides

I have reduced the size of Wil's "after" slides to cover the points in his management philosophy section, because I can... you will still be able to get the key idea from each slide that Wil wanted to discuss, when the slides are shrunk. The images are clean, one main idea per slide, are easily understood and the images create meaning to support his point. It's Wil that is talking, the slides are doing their job as visual aids.

job interview

Outcome

Wil hasn't heard yet whether the job is his, but I applaud his courage to step out and try something new and to give visual storytelling a try - in what is clearly, a very important presentation. Maybe you should hire Wil, he is an innovator, powerful communicator, he's accountable and is not afraid to lead... desirable traits in a sales manager.

Wil and I will remain in contact after he is hired and hopefully we will help him convert the company supplied PowerPoint deck into a visual story, because after the transformative experience that Wil went through to put his interview story together, there is no going back to the boring company PowerPoint most salespeople are asked to use. 

Boring PowerPoint Sucks - learn Visual Storytelling

Topics: sales, powerpoint, visual storytelling

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