Presentations and storytelling

More people afraid of public speaking than dying.

Some time ago I was at the workshop striving to useful information to become a better speaker. Though, I managed to attend the workshop of Trevor Holmes. He is an energetic speaker who seasons presentations with reach stories. To add, he trains how to do it others and thus, shared his knowledge with us.

Below, I share my take-aways from the workshop as well as pictures from the Internet. Hope that I do not break the law =)

The only way to learn about presenting is to do it.

Main questions everyone has came to the workshop with were how to create inspiring pitches? How to deliver stories in a memorable message? How to continue developing my presentation skills?

Ingredients

Trevor told us one truth (I suppose): all the mistakes are made before the presentation start. So 99% of presentation success depends on the preparation.

  1. Goal: what is the goal for the presentation? In other words — what do you want to achieve in the end? Which action do you want people do after your presentation? Or which thought they should take out of the building with?
  2. Audience: you need to understand for whom you are presenting. Different audiences need different approaches and vocabulary. In other words you cannot speak about the 3-d law of Newton the same as to the NASA tiger team as to the group of high-school students.
  3. Extra factors which could influence your speech and you should count on are:
  • you are first speaker (the audience is sleeping);
  • you are second speaker. You`d better know who was first speaker — maybe he was boring, or maybe he was a speech-star — this matters how audience will perceive you;
  • you are talking after lunch (it is better to give a joke. The blood is in peoples` stomach — not in brains. You need to present in “tough conditions”);
  • you are talking in the evening (sometimes it happens. Not only when you are the only guest to speak — it is easier, but also when you are the last speaker and everyone looks for the afterparty. Jokes may also be useful.

Instruments

I was surprised, because I have newer heard of such abbreviation, but, as marketologists have SWOT analysis, or SMART analysis, professional speakers have A.U.D.I.E.N.C.E questionnaire (to describe your audience and be prepared better):

Besides, there is a Magic Formula of Presentation (Made to Stick) which helps you to present ideas in an easy-to-understand and “sticky” way. Another abbreviation — SUCCESS: simple, unexpected, concrete, credible, emotional, stories. You do not need to have all of them — but the more- the better.

So Trevor has stopped on the Story.

Story

Stories drive action through simulation (what to do) and inspiration (the motivation to do it). Think Jared. Spring- board stories (See Denning’s World Bank tale) help people see how an existing problem might change.

(c) Made to stick by Chip and Dan Heath

A story has protagonist and antagonist (a hero, which faces difficulty and antagonist who makes his life bad) the normal story is even better if it is unhappier (wow, new for me).

Storytelling structure (like normal distribution or a Hat in the “Little prince”, btw):

  1. Exposition (inciting moment) — where everything begins. Like what it is now.
  2. Complication (rising action) — something started happening. The antagonist starts to distract our heroes` life.
  3. Climax (Turning point) — the ‘drama’ part. The hardest challenges are lying here. Boy, hold on!
  4. Reversal (Falling action)- a hero is strong and he could beat the obstacles.
  5. Denouement (Moment of release)-the solution created. Everybody smiles, applause. A hero meets princess. Wedding. Game over. The end.

As I understood, all the stories have such parts — but some of them are shorter or longer. As an example of awesome story I would like to show the Oscar`16 short-film (watch and analyze from the given information above perspective):

When you are telling stories to your audience consider also such things as:

  • relevance — whether the audience will understand the metaphor? Is this story applicable to audience`s experience? Doe it illustrate well your main idea?
  • detail — “a devil is in details” someday once said. Sometimes “less is more” — do not overwhelm your stories with more unnecessary details.
  • narrative — tell your listeners a story to fascinate them. Tell them the story, not a text of words which were but together.

As we need to tell somebody stories — we need to get them from somewhere. Where do stories origin from?

  • from our experience;
  • from other`s experience;
  • from imagination (risk of credibility).

Sometimes to be unexpected is to start a story from the middle. It is not obligatory that the story should be linear. Look at this example (picked from another presentation about how to pitch):

Did you see the drama? What did you feel after having heard this story?

Steve Job`s presentations created added value for the company.

You listener will go through emotional objections. This is the aim, because when people “remember emotionally” something — they remember it even better, because they literally “feel it”):

  • feel (during the story);
  • felt (after taste);
  • found (associations).

Sell via emotions.

Stories are around you every day.

Learn how to tell stories — because some time you will get old.

To sum up, it was a great time investment as it helped me to structure my knowledge and practice one more time. In my everyday life I often give presentations — either to clients on different products, or to the team, or, even more, to other people who I need to share my experience with. So I will practice my “storytelling” muscle.

BA track

If you are a business analyst/marketer or are familiar with problem solving techniques, I would like to make it short (everything which was told before):

  1. State a problem (your “business goal”).
  2. Find the stakeholders. Analyze who is your main Target audience.
  3. Create the road map for the presentation according to your Target Audience.
  4. Put into some “wow-effects” as jokes etc.
  5. Make a presentation in the “customer journey” type. Where your target audience is “persona” and this “persona” has a journey.

Voila!

Passionate about IT and startups. Books lover. Made in Ukraine.

Passionate about IT and startups. Books lover. Made in Ukraine.