How To Explain An Idea by Mark Pollard #Skillshare

Last night I attended Mark Pollard‘s Skillshare class “How To Explain An Idea.” Mark Pollard is the VP Brand Strategy at Big Spaceship, publisher  globally distributed hip hop magazine, Stealth, Ignite presenter,  Adnews Top 40 under 40 and one of Sydney’s top 100 Creative Catalysts (government initiative). Before I start talking about the class, might I go into how awesome the landing page is for his site?

Click on “Life,” and discover his posts giving general life advice. Click “Strategy” and find posts about strategy. I also love the statement “Life. Then Strategy” since it acknowledges that the best strategists are inspired by real life and bring it into every idea they have. It’s also a nod that one’s work (day job) can’t take over one’s life. It’s the whole you that provides your work self a unique perspective to generate new ideas.

Anyhoo. Mark is a charming Australian who was able to lead a two-hour long workshop about how to generate and explain ideas. Myself and some other 360i folks made up half the class (we attended the class based on the encouragement of the lovely lady Rosie Siman.) The first half was a workshop on brainstorming and ideation and the second half was about framing and presenting our ideas. What I love about Mark is that he doesn’t use marketing jargon or only quote “marketing books.” For instance, he kept referring to Stephen King’s 7 Tips for Writing:

1. Get to the point.

2. Write a draft. Then let it rest.

3. Cut down your text.

4. Be relatable and honest.

5. Don’t care too much what others may think.

6. Read a lot.

7. Write a lot.

In between exercises, Mark would share this thoughts and advice on generating ideas. I looked through my notes (about 6 pages worth) and condensed them into two cards.

The first one is about the process of going from thinking to sharing. The left side of the card is the brainstorm/thinking/idea capturing process while the right side is literally a format for a slide. Your point should be the title, add some substance, then share the overall implication.

Below is a card on the framework for the actual presentation. Mark often referred to how a director might write a movie script and how a strategist should apply that method when they are building a deck: share the story in the first five minutes, have your acts, close, and end with a parting shot.
Act 1 should be the research or insights before the idea was made,
Act 2 is the actual idea,
and Act 3 should be the execution.
Of course, it’s your own film that you are making, so you are free to change the format to what works for you.

As a strategist, my job requires me to generate and collect ideas and turn them into an execution, sometimes within the span of two days (or two hours). The most important lesson one can learn is to be self-aware about your style of learning and how you think. I tend to start very abstractly and then need take time to boil it down to specifics. Mark’s class helped me realize the importance of this and need to be more direct about ideas instead of trying to over think it.

If you are interested in taking Mark’s class (and I highly recommend it), sign up for his second Skillshare class on June 20th.

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