This is a special episode of Engaging Leader, featuring part 2 of an excerpt of Jesse’s live interview on TechSmith’s Visual Lounge with Matt Pierce.

While part 1 focused on the 5M framework as a comprehensive planning tool for communication, Simple Visual Story (SVS) is a great model for executing the components of the strategy more effectively, especially for remote communication. 

SVS increases the effectiveness of videos, graphics, and other types of communication and education tactics to inspire trust and drive action. The SVS model has three components:


  • Short. Make it as long as it needs to be, but no longer.
  • Purposeful. Be clear about the target audiences and the outcomes you are seeking. What ACTIONS do you want people to take? What FEELINGS and BELIEFS do you want to stimulate?
  • Well crafted. Words matter – the right words and messages trigger worldviews and provoke reactions. Design also matters – the right graphical construction invites the brain to pay attention and digest the information.



  • Metaphors. Metaphors stimulate paradigms and set expectations. Use an image, analogy, or a “word picture” to associate with something already familiar to the audience. 
  • Images. The average person reads between 200 – 300 words per minute, but less than a second to process an image. Eye-tracking studies also show that people gravitate immediately to images. Keep in mind that you are constantly competing with social media and mobile notifications for attention. 
  • Characters. According to MIT neuroscience research, images with people in them are the most memorable. Will your spokespeople or other characters resonate appropriately with the real-life people in your audience?



  • Connection. A story makes it real … an issue affecting real-life people, not just a concept from management. A powerful story creates an emotional bond, so people are more likely to be open, willing, or even motivated to change.
  • Entertainment. If they have enough to keep people mentally interested, stories guide the imagination and frame the future. 30% of people say a movie has changed their mind about an issue.
  • Action. An effective story depicts specific people doing specific things and having specific feelings. This simulates the behaviors you’re asking people to practice. They equip people by showing, not merely telling. 


Resources Mentioned in This Episode:

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