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Become an Engaging Presenter

Lesson 15 of 15

BONUS - Effective Types of Story


Become an Engaging Presenter

Lesson 15 of 15

BONUS - Effective Types of Story


Lesson Info

BONUS - Effective Types of Story

This is a little bit of bonus material that I wanted to share with you because I know that storytelling is so important. So I'm going to share a few different styles of storytelling. I encourage you to do more research, to go out there and practice and build. But I'm going to give you some different techniques because remember, the audience barrier goes up if we are the same throughout a presentation. So if I tell different types of stories, you're going to be more receptive to them. You know, we have that old beginning, middle, and end for every story. So what if I do things to mix that up a little bit? What if I tell different types of stories so it's really, really valuable? And I also, immediately after the presentation I just gave, I got some great feedback 'cause I demanded it from some of the people in here. So it was really helpful. So I'm going to try and put that into my presentation right now and we'll see how it works. Okay. So what I want to do is I want to talk about some...

of the different types of storytelling with our new 360 degree camera here, so everyone will be able to participate. I'm going to give you a few examples. And then some of them I probably won't give you examples for, but I'll talk a little about the styles. So we all know, hopefully, what a monomyth is. If you don't, it's a type of storytelling that we hear a lot of in folktales and myths. If we all know the Odyssey, that is a very, very classic monomyth. And what do we do? We take the audience on a journey, we show the benefit of taking risks, and then we get to demonstrate the newfound wisdom we have at the end of the story. So I don't suggest in a presentation that you create a monomyth the length of the Iliad or the Odyssey. It could take a long time. But it is that circular journey, right? And what we know is when we start and when we return, we know that. But I get to introduce all these characters along the way. And there's a conflict somewhere in there that I hopefully win. And in that conflict, I actually learn something. And then I come back around and I get to return to where I was, but I'm a new person. Congratulations, I'm new today. So I might talk about if I were talking about a story with a group of entrepreneurs, I might talk about building my own business. I had a cleaning and maintenance company for a lot of years in New York, and I build that company so that I could support my acting career. And what I learned, and I might tell that story and say, "Acting was so important in my life. "And everything was about me and I was very dramatic, "and I had to be an actor, but I also needed to eat "so I found skills I had and I built a business. "And I met Ava, who was my first employee, "and she was from Antigua, "and she was really the boss of me. "And everything that I learned "and all the decisions that I made "were based on some great ideas she had, "and then I collected other people. "And the conflict I had was maybe the business took over "because all of a sudden it meant something to me "and I had great clients, "and now I was responsible for people and their paychecks. "And so all of a sudden, the acting started to fall away "and I struggled with that "'cause that was my identity for so many years." And so I went through that and I might talk about some of the instances where that happened and when I come back full circle, what I learned was that that wasn't my identity at all. What I learned was no matter what I do, I can be effective and get the same feelings I got out of certain areas in something new. And that might mean having a client meeting, that might mean instructing my employees. So that might be the story I tell, and that emotional connection means something to you. That emotional connection you might be able to relate to 'cause you might be building your own business. So that's how we look at a monomyth. And it talks about this newfound wisdom. If any of you know Joseph Campbell, it's great 'cause he talks about these archetypes. In that story, I was the hero. But it has that happy ending, so that's a great way for you to sort of tell a story. Another similar version is the mountain. The mountain is a type of story that shows that you can overcome a series of challenges and it slowly builds tension. And literally visualize a mountain with all the peaks, and then you deliver a conclusion at the end. And that conclusion is not always a happy ending, but it builds tension. Human beings love action. The mountain is sort of like episodic television. We've got all the tension and then woo, it's resolved. We're done. Now I can go watch another episode. But it's not always a happy ending. So I might give an example of my relationship with my father 'cause I'm a human being and I'm literally built to be defiant. So everything in me tells me that I'm supposed to do it better. And so I grew up in a relationship where I had difficulty at times because I knew better. And so I might give specific examples of times that were troubling for me and difficult in my relationship, and then I'll get to the point and say, "You know, "there was a point a couple years ago "where my dad got sick and he was diagnosed with cancer." "And in that moment when the doctor said to me, "'He's not going to leave this hospital room,' "the feeling I got was I'm okay "'cause all of that's been resolved. "'Cause I had many years "where our relationship was different "'cause I grew up, "and because I knew how to be that person." And so that resolution is I know that when he passed away and I was there with him, our relationship is okay, and I get to have that with other people. So that might be something for me that I connect to emotionally and I get to share with you, and it's pretty intimate, but that's my story, and that's how I share it with people. And that's sort of a way for you to connect with an audience and let them know that you're not perfect either, and that you go through things, but they resolve, and it's okay. It's also a great way to ask for the audience to take action. You know, we used to make this joke a lot in theater because I worked for a comedy club, and it was like, well, I bet they had a great cathartic experience. But the idea of someone leaving that theater and calling their parents, or if you ever left a movie theater and called your family 'cause it connected to you. So that might be my call of action if I use this as a story and say, you know, those relationships are so important. And now every time I wake up and look in the mirror, every time I take an action, I'm literally my dad, right? Like it's amazing to see how unbelievably grateful I am to be that person. So that's my mountain, maybe, that I will share. So that's a second example that really connects with the audience, hopefully. And you get to share your sort of moral and what is my conclusion on this. The third type which is really fun is called false start. False starts are fun 'cause you're literally wooing the audience into a pattern or train of thought where they think they literally know how the story's going to go, and then you pull the rug out from underneath them. So I might do something if I were to do a presentation today I might say something like, "Well, when Creative Live asked me to do a presentation "about engaging speaking "and how to become this engaging speaker, "I wanted to talk a lot about "some of the most powerful speakers "that I've heard in my life, "but I couldn't remember anything they said." So that's my false start, right? Like I'm immediately pulling that away, but then I'll get back to it and talk about it. I was here early this morning and a couple audience members were here, and they literally nearly gave me a great false start. 'Cause I said, "I don't know what it's going to be like," and there was a video going on in Creative Live Studio where they had someone on couches talking to another person, and I made a joke and I said, "Well, that's our set "and I'm going to bring you all up one on one "and I'm just going to interview you on your presentations." And they laughed, and I was like no, not really, and Neely was like, "No problem. "Listen, if you need any help in your presentation, "ask David." And it was great 'cause I literally thought she was going to be like, and I was ready to go, "No, no, it's great. "Thank you so much for you help." And she kind of threw David under the bus, so. David, come on up. No, I'm just kidding. It would be hilarious. So that's the false start. And I think that's a great way for you to start to engage the audience, 'cause now you want to know the conclusion, but I'm not giving it to you so linearly. Right? We have this idea of the rule of threes and it's really nice. If you don't know the rule of threes, human beings learn in patterns. The smallest pattern or the smallest number we actually learn in is three. So if you notice, I built a presentation around build, rehearse, execute. Mind, body, voice. And so when you're telling a story, hitting those rule of threes builds that momentum. And so that third time you bring it up, it's that powerful message that you're creating. It's also great in comedy. We have the rule of threes a lot. If you watch sitcoms, they'll be built a lot especially with laugh tracks. Someone will tell the joke, ha ha. Tell it again, ha ha. And they'll tell it a third time, (yelling) it's hilarious! But if they did it a fourth time, the audience would be like click, you did it too many times. Alright, Mark Twain used a great quote. I think he related it to Benjamin Disraeli who was a Prime Minister in Britain, where he would say, "There are three types of lies. "Lies, damned lies, and statistics." So we see that powerful building into a rule of threes. So that pattern our brains already immediately go into and it's really kind of nice. Now we're going to talk about the next thing, and here's another great example of a story that I really like. It's called in medias res and it literally just means in the middle. So I love this as a great way to tell a story because it engages the audience immediately, but you start in the middle of the action. So I don't go with that pattern of beginning, middle, and end. That's how we think about a narrative, but in business, we think about narrative as context, action, results. Here's the problem, this is the action we took as a team or me, and these are the results for the business. In storytelling, we talk about this idea and there are many different formulas for what a story actually is. But I love in the middle because I start with the action. So I told you that brief story about a gymnast in Texas literally doing this to me, but I might start the story and say, "I was in the middle of announcing an event, "and I looked down and a 13 year old gymnast went, 'Shh!'" And now you're intrigued. I want to know what happened. Give me the conclusion. So I'll start with that moment, then I'll start at the beginning and say, "I had a friend who organized huge events "and I was invited to come along and watch one of them, "and she was involved with everything, "and they last minute didn't have an emcee "so they asked me to do that." I'll start to talk about my feelings about that and my, I'm great, I could do that, I'm comfortable in front of everybody. And then go through and talk about that story again. It's a really helpful way for you to get people interested immediately. There I was, and David was saying, "No, don't ask me for help." This is the beginning of the story, so it's really kind of nice. So I really like this as a way for you to show variety. It's also a great way, people call them icebreakers, the way I warmed up your presentation earlier today, to start a story that way. Instead of, which we see a lot of is thank you so much, Chris. Well, when Chris first asked me to do this talk, I. Instead of literally getting to the meat of the story. So I love this version. It's really, really nice. The last couple I'm going to talk about are a little bit more advanced, but they're ideas that I highly recommend you investigate a little bit because they're incredibly powerful, but they have to be practiced. I can make up a false start and I often do in a lot of ways when I actually work with an audience. Something makes me laugh and I'll just build it out the entire class. I can tell you these stories about my life that have changed, and I can give you that sort of monomyth circle. But these next two are a little bit more involved. You need to learn how to write them and then learn how to practice them, but they are incredibly effective. The first one is nested loops. And if you visualize this core, this central message that you're trying to get across, and then you have messages outside of that and stories outside of that that matter. It's literally layering three or more narratives together to tell a complex story to get back to the core of the message. So I'll start by talking about the central message, and it might be something about oh, so I need to do presentations. And then I'll add in the next story which is, so I went to my mentor who's an incredible presenter, and he said these wise old words, And started talking about this experience he had at one time. And what I do then is that first story I started with is the last story I end with. So I work my way backwards and I craft this story so it shows your process. It would tell you how I might be inspired, but get to that central message which for me might be how do I get an audience interested in actually taking an action and being incredibly inspired by story? So that's a nested loop and it can go on, but it's really nice. If anybody knows the story of why with Simon Sinek, it's sort of that visual of you know, why, how, what. It's this nice nested loop that comes back to why do we do this. It's a really effective way for you to share multiple messages and explain your process and how you came to a conclusion. Look, I just took a little pause. People were writing. It's very nice. The last story I want to talk about is sparkline. And I really like this. It's a great way for you to start to connect with an audience when you want them to take an action. Nancy Duarte developed this type of speaking. There's a great book that she wrote where she literally visualizes people's talks. And the reason why sparkline is so important is it's a graph essentially, which is boxes, and there's a difference between, and as a storyteller, this is where we are right now, but then I tell you where I want us to be. And that gap in between, the bigger the gap is, it's easier for me to get you excited about where we should be and talk about what we can do to get there. But in order to do that, I have to come back down and talk about where we really are to connect with you, and then talk about my vision for where we should be. So she literally maps out speeches like Steve Jobs 2007 introduction of the iPhone, Martin Luther King's I Have A Dream speech. She has an amazing TED talk on it. And what you can see is how we literally move back and forth between where we are now and where we want to be 'til we have that call to action at the very end of that talk. So I might give that talk today and I might talk about where I see most people presenting and how I see myself starting out, and where I think we can be, and why I think it's so important, and why I think we can actually just be ourselves and give a better message, but I got to talk about how we are where we are right now. And I might use technology to do that. I might show a few videos of literally some talks that I think are great and some that I think are not great. I might use humor, I might use my emotion to talk to you about how important it is for me to share a message, and then I'll talk about 'cause this is where we want to be, and this is the place everyone wants to be in. It's great. But we're also down here right now a little bit. This is a really effective method but I suggest that you take a look at it in terms of how you might put together your presentation. You can build your presentation visually. The concept behind this storytelling method is to design your presentations. What I did when I talked about building, rehearsing, and executing, was I designed my presentation today. Was it a powerful design or was it a weak design? In some places, yes, in some places, no. So now I get to work on that and move on and I will go back and look at how that was, and was it effective for me? So these are some very simple storytelling techniques, but get up and do it. There are places everywhere you live that do storytelling nights. You can get any book you want, you can practice, and it's so effective. Because if you start to learn how to speak in this way, you're not just the fax person. 'Cause it's really important. People will get to know you. And that's all I got. Thank you very much. (audience applauding)

Class Description

Does your work require you to give presentations? Are you just getting through them and hoping for the best but not quite hitting the mark? 

Are you building decks to pitch your ideas and to present to clients, but feel as though your presentation skills are mediocre at best? 

Have you lost out on opportunities because you failed to connect with your audience? It’s time to learn how to improve your presentation skills and to start actually enjoying the entire process. 

Join former Late Night with Conan O’Brien performer, accomplished career coach, and small business owner Andrew Whelan to learn how to be an engaging, dynamic presenter. 

This class is short, actionable, and something you can always reference before you go into a pitch. 

In this class you will learn how to: 

  • Prepare your story and rehearse 
  • Prioritize your message 
  • Improve your vocal strength and physical presence 
  • Get emotionally connected with your audience 
  • Keep the momentum going to develop a rhythm 
  • Read cues, connect with your audience and present yourself as an authority 
  • Manage anxiety and handle the unexpected 



This is my second time as an audience member for Creative Live, and I have to tell you all - I'm hooked! I decided to give it a shot because I'm genuinely interested in the subject being covered, it is a wonderful networking opportunity, and its free for audience members - so I receive the course and the bonus materials. For those of you that are nervous about the cameras like I was, let me assure you that you hardly even notice them. If you ever watched a few courses before becoming an audience member, you can tell how little the audience is even shown. Now as for Mr. Whelan - CL couldn't have picked a better presenter to present about presentations. His knowledge and experience reflects in his presentation - he's warm, personable, and if he did rehearse and prepare the way he recommends, it's not noticeable. He's natural and you can relate to every point made. I hope there are other Andrew Whelan courses in the future. I highly recommend CL - as a participant and an audience member - for their variety of course content and bonus materials that I continue to use in my day-to-day. I strongly recommend any class or workshop that includes Andrew Whelan. His advice, experience, and genuine empathetic approach to helping others become better, is invaluable. Thank you Andrew and Thank you Creative Live!

Carolyn Winslow

Thank you! You gave me some fresh ideas to share when I am presenting, and when I'm helping folks be more comfortable when they need to speak in front of others. Good examples, to the point without fluff, and even a bit entertaining. Thanks!

Jack Foxe

This was my first live audience experience, and wow was i shocked how engaged i was! Im someone who has an awful attention span so the fact that i was listening and taking everything in was fantastic. Thanks Andrew for some great tips and making me laugh and thanks to Creative Live for having me in the audience. If anyone who interacts with other people on a regular basis this class is essential!