What Ajax and Spurs can teach us about Storytelling

What Ajax and Spurs can teach us about Storytelling

Category:Storytelling Tags : 

The 2019 Champions League Quarter Finals between Ajax and Juventus and between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur were more than football. They were stories.

We can learn from the stories of two games played in the Champions League: Juventus vs Ajax and Manchester City vs Tottenham Hotspur.

They follow the same path as any good story follows!

Do you want to be able to create stories like this, without having to step one foot on the pitch? You can! Join the Storytelling Class and start making a real difference!


Being Prepared Mentally for a Presentation

Category:Preparation,nerves Tags : 

Getting ready for a workshop, training or presentation is much more than getting your slides done. The mental part of preparing matters a lot.


Why people can’t handle a lot of text on your slides

Category:Structuring,Preparation Tags : 

In the past few weeks, I’ve been giving a lot of advice to speakers who were preparing their decks. Some of them were preparing for a conference. Others were preparing for workshops. And there were even those who were preparing for online courses.

It was a lot of fun to do, and there were some great decks sent in. Of course, there were also quite a few things I could suggest for improvement. There is one thing that kept coming back when analysing the different slide decks: the text.

A lot of speakers still put a lot of text on their slides. Because they want to share as much information as possible. This isn’t always the best approach though. Let me explain why. After that, I will explain how you can handle slides that do have text on them.

Why is having too much text on a slide a bad thing?

Before you go and change your behaviour… Of course, you want to know first, why is having too much text on a slide a bad thing? After all, you are trying to give your audience as much information as possible. Aren’t you helping them?

As well as the intent often is, it isn’t helping them. For a lot of reasons.

People read

Have you ever been to a bar where they had TV’s hanging on the wall? You will have. And you will have experienced that it is hard to keep your eyes off the screen. Even though your conversation partner has something interesting to say. You can’t keep your eyes off it.

The same thing happens with the screen(s) that are behind a speaker. People can’t take their eyes off it. At least, not until their brains have digested what is on the slide.

So what happens to a person when they see a lot of text on a slide? They start reading what is on it. Because they need to digest it. That means their attention will stay on the slide until they’ve read it all.

When your audience reads, they don’t hear you

Now try this: have someone tell you something, while you are trying to read something for the first time. You will either fail to read or fail to listen. You can’t do both.

The same will happen with your audience, they will focus on one thing. And that one thing is going to be the text. Their eyes will be drawn to the screen and will read, and won’t listen to you.

Your audience starts writing

I’m assuming that what you put on your slide is valuable information. Information that will help your audience. Your audience will feel the same way. It must be important because the speaker has put it on there!

When people come to an event or when they are listening to a speech, they want to remember things. And to remember, they will write things down. This means that when you put text on a slide, chances are your audience will write down what’s on your screen.

And you’ve guessed it. When they are writing, it’s hard to listen to you!

Too late

Especially when you have quite a bit of information on your slide, it will be hard for people to keep track of what you are saying. Chances are they will still be writing when you click to the next slide. That will mean they won’t hear the first things you are saying on a new topic.

They are playing catch up

The result is that people are playing catch up all through your presentation. They want to hear everything you say. They want to write down your message and your tips. But let’s put it bluntly: you’re not letting them.

The more text you have on your slides, the more your audience is playing catch up with your words. And that’s not something you want happening!

How much text can I put on a slide?

The question now of course arises, is how to handle the issue of too much text on a slide. And how much text should be on a (Powerpoint) slide anyway? There are a few things that you can do.

Give them short bites

The simplest solution, of course, is not to put too much text on a slide. But the truth is that you sometimes do need text. Also, because you sometimes WANT people to write something down. Or to tweet something.

The best way to do that is to use short bites. Short sentences that don’t take too much time to read or write down.

How much? I use the rule of the ‘old tweet’. Meaning around 140 characters. That is enough to digest. It will also make that it will be easier for people to share your quotes, using your name in it as well.

Don’t use text, use images

I don’t have much text on my slides. I use a lot of images. Using images prevents them from reading. I use images to represent what I am talking about. They support my words. They help my audience visualise my words.

Me speaking in London, using an image of my children to explain a point

If you want a good place to find the right images, you can read the article I wrote about where to find high-quality images.

Give them time to read

If you do need to share more text, give them time to read. Pause your speech. Tell them they can read the slide if they want. Just don’t talk through it if you don’t have to.

Share the slide!

It’s common use to share slides afterwards with audiences. Even though there is discussion about whether or not this is a smart thing to do. Especially when you are using a lot of images, it won’t make much sense to those who haven’t seen your presentation.

When you have a lot of text on your slides, it might be wise to share your slides. When you get to a slide with more text, tell your audience they will get that slide. Tell them they should write down some important words, but they don’t have to copy the entire slide.

Powerpoint math: the 1-6-6 rule? No.

Finally, there is the 1-6-6 rule. This rule is very simple. You should include no more than six words per line and no more than six bullet points per slide.

They invented this rule to prevent people from using too much text. Unfortunately, it does the exact opposite. It encourages people to add text, a slide with six bullets and six words each, is still a lot of text! So when you think this rule is the way to go. Go up, and read the post again!

The essence: think about their attention

When it comes to text on slides, there is no set number of words or characters you can or cannot use. The essence of it all, is to think about your audience. Understand them. And understand the attention curves. If you understand those, you can help your audience digest what they need to hear.


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Why you shouldn’t be rehearsing in front of a mirror

Category:Body Language,nerves Tags : 

It’s common advice given to a lot of speakers: practice in front of a mirror. So they can see how they ‘perform’ and improve their body language. It’s a very logical way of thinking. In fact, it’s in the advice of many books and courses. Intended to make you look at yourself in real time and make instant adjustments. But is this the right way of thinking?

I believe it is a completely wrong approach. It can even lead to the exact opposite of what you want to accomplish.

Why do people use a mirror?

“But wait, what are you saying? Are you saying that the advice others are giving is false?” Well, as with many things, my answer will be: that depends. It depends on how you ‘read’ the advice.

Let’s look at some of the reasoning behind the tip that you should practice in front of a mirror.

“It helps you see what you look like”

This is true, of course, you can see yourself. As I point out below though, it’s not your real self. But the essence of the advice here is good: seeing yourself will make that you can improve yourself. The question is if that has to be a mirror… But I’ll get back to that.

“It helps with practicing eye contact”

Some say that a mirror will help you look at your audience instead of at your notes. Where I agree that you shouldn’t look at your notes, I doubt that the mirror will have that effect. Eye contact is important. So you have to train yourself to look at different people.

I think this advice comes from the understanding that you need to practice without notes. But there are many better ways of doing that.

Why is practicing in front of the mirror wrong?

So why do I advice against it? There are several reasons you shouldn’t do this.

1. It’s not real!

A frog rehearsing in front of a mirror

Even though you see yourself in the mirror, and the reflection is real, this is not reality. Practicing in front of the mirror doesn’t reflect what happens in real life. Because for one, in real life, you don’t see yourself. If you want to practice, you want to get as close as possible to the actual speaking experience. When you see a reflection of yourself, you will act on it right away. Change the way you look. But that is how you look in the mirror, not on stage.

You will not even see how you act on stage because you are focusing on your reflection. What you see is not what you get. This might also mean that you change things that don’t need changing!

2. It’s a habit you need to change, not a moment

When you look in the mirror, and you see something wrong, you will change it. But then the change has happened and you don’t think about it anymore. Where in fact, it’s a habit. So you need to address it over and over. Looking in the mirror fools you into thinking you ‘fixed’ your body language.

3. The mirror will make you focus on gesture, not story

When you practice in front of the mirror, you are focusing on how your movement and gestures. You will see every movement that goes wrong. You will see every little thing. Your focus will be on your smallest facial expressions and gestures. This is distracting. Which then leads to too much emphasis on those little things and you will lose the focus on your story.

You want to focus on your story, not your gestures.

4. Your mirror image might make you nervous

Looking at yourself in the mirror when practicing might actually make you nervous. When you look at yourself, you emphasize what goes wrong. You are much more aware of what goes wrong. Therefore increasing the likely hood of it actually going wrong.

If you see things going wrong you will start thinking about these things more and more. And that will make you nervous.

What to do?

Is it always wrong to practice in front of the mirror? I would say yes in most cases. But, like with everything, there are exceptions. If you practice early enough, it will most likely not make you nervous. And you can do that, but only to practice certain gestures. To see if certain gestures work or not. Otherwise, I would advise against it.

But if it’s something that works for you, do it!

There are two other things you can do that will give you a much better insight into how you are presenting yourself:

Practice in front of an audience.

Find colleagues or other people to see you talk. They can give you feedback as well. Remember to ask them for specific feedback on your body language and not on your story.

Record yourself

Grab a video camera (or your phone) and record yourself. Position the camera so that it has a broad view of how you move (which show your full body). Watch the recording, write down the two or three biggest things you want to change, and do another practice run.

Just be careful rehearsing in front of the mirror. It might not have the outcome you were hoping for!


Storytelling: Hype or Real?

Category:Storytelling Tags : 

Is ‘Storytelling’ a hype? As a marketing strategy, maybe, but only when done wrong. Because stories ARE important. Why are they so important? Because stories are part of our everyday life. Each day we tell each other stories. Each day we listen to stories. Stories are part of our DNA.

When we hear a story, we listen better. We remember more. And we trust the source of a story.

This is why storytelling is such a powerful marketing tool. And this is why storytelling needs to be part of public speaking.

In fact, when you do a talk, treat your talk as a story. Craft it like a story. Your audience will remember you for it, will believe your words and will trust you.

Don’t tell stories because others do. Tell them because it’s part of who we are. Because it’s personal. That’s storytelling done well.

How to do Storytelling?

Good storytelling isn’t easy. It’s a lot of work. You need to be prepared. Here are the steps that are important:

  1. you need to get information on your audience.
  2. you need to show the situation
  3. you need to have a character (the hero)
  4. you need to have conflict
  5. you need a goal
  6. you need to bring it all together

We are going in depth on this in our Storytelling Class which is now open to everyone!


How to deal with scared prospects who are afraid to choose

Category:Persuasion Tags : 

When pitching, the prospects you are trying to sell to seem extra critical. It’s hard to persuade them. This is because they are scared of making the wrong choice.

People don’t like making choices. Because making choices mean you can make the wrong choice. And if you make the wrong choice, you will feel regret. Or even worse: you will lose status amongst your peers.

This is why at pitch presentations, the recipients seem extra critical. They are trying to avoid making the wrong choice rather than making the right choice.

You can make them feel at ease more by first acknowledging the fact that the choice they have to make is indeed hard and by telling them stories.


“Kinda Like Trump” – The Art of simple language

Category:Structuring Tags : 

It turns out that when we talk on a lower grade level, more people will understand and love what we say. It’s part of the success of the speeches of Donald Trump.

If you’ve ever wondered why so many people believe every word Donald Trump says, the answer might be simpler than you think. A large part of the reasons lies in the way he talks.

During the 2016 election, research showed that Donald Trump was speaking on a 4th or 5th grade level. That means the level of an 8 year old. Why is that important? Because he kept it simple.

Whether or not he did this on purpose, we don’t know. But the results were great for him. By toning down his language, he was able to reach a much larger group of people. And more important: he was able to persuade them. To make them believe his words and his ideas.

As a speaker, we can learn from this. Because too often, speakers use language that is too difficult for their audience. We have all been guilty of using jargon in our talks. But using difficult language is likely to make your audience fade out. They will stop listening.

When speaking in public. Try to keep it simple. Use words people understand. And if you want or need to use jargon, explain it. You can do that using the ‘Kinda like’ theory.

This theory means you create an analogy. Are you talking about something difficult? Compare it to something everyday. Something everybody will understand: “It’s kind of like riding a bike: hard at first, but you’ll get it.”


Your mom will not be honest, she can’t be

Category:nerves Tags : 

Have you ever watched TV shows like ‘Idols’, ‘The Voice’ or ‘Britain’s Got Talent”? These shows are very popular. And for good reason. We love to see others show their often hidden talents.

But next to those that show their talents, there are also many who fail. There’s something interesting about these people. Something that has nothing to do with their (lack of) talent on stage.

When you watch the interviews before their performances, you might notice something. Most of those who fail have something in common: their moms. Broader: their families and friends.

These families all say similar things. “She has always been singing at home and I always get goosebumps!” or “We love hearing him sing in the shower!”. They are proud. Genuinely proud. They are entitled to be.

But they are not always right.

They say these things because they are family. Even though what they say might not be true. Because they don’t want to hurt their loved ones. But some also because see their relatives in a different way. They believe in them. You could say that they are in a bubble. One that will make the performer sound good. Even if they are bad.

You need feedback

To improve as a speaker, you need feedback. I’ve talked about getting feedback before, like in this video.

It’s crucial to get feedback. But not always fun or easy. You will hear things you don’t like.

But if you want to grow, you will need to treat the criticism as a gift. As something that will make you a better speaker.

That means you need to ask for feedback as much as you can.

But don’t ask your mom.

Like with the contestants of the talent shows, your mom, or your boyfriend or girlfriend, brother or sister, or someone else close to you, won’t be honest. They can’t. Granted, there are parents who are the most critical people you will meet. But most aren’t.

You will need to find feedback from those that have a certain expertise. Get it from someone with expertise of the content (someone from your industry). Or from someone who understands what it takes to be on stage.

Getting the right feedback

When asking for the feedback, you need to be ready. Ready for the answer, but also to help those that give the feedback to give you the best answer.

In his book “Confidence 2.0” the author, Rob Yeung, highlights three things that are important when asking for feedback. I agree very much with them. They are:

1. You need to give those you are asking for feedback ‘permission’.

Permission to be honest and negative. Make sure you tell them you want to improve. That it’s ok, in fact even good, to get negative feedback. Because that will help you improve.

2. Anonymous feedback works.

If possible, get people to give written feedback. When they write things down, they will be more honest. And when they write it down, knowing it can’t be traced to them, they will be more honest. Most people are afraid to give criticism. By making it anonymous, you help them be more honest.

3. Thank them for the feedback

Finally, make sure you thank people for their feedback. You will have the urge to reply. You will want to explain or counter. Don’t. It won’t help and people will be less eager to help you out the next time. If you ask for negative feedback, you know you won’t like it.

Accept the feedback, use it and improve.

And I’m sure your mom, dad or loved one is amazing. And loves you very much. But be careful with their feedback!

More like this?

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The one thing that will improve all your talks

Category:Preparation Tags : 

When you are speaking, you want your message to come across. And to make that happen every single time, you want to be better every single time.

There is one way that without a doubt will improve all of your talks. And it’s very easy to do.

I’ve been doing it every time I spoke in the last decade or so, everywhere in the world.

It’s something every speaker should do, but not every speaker does even if it is so easy to do. It doesn’t cost any money, you don’t need any material or equipment. All you need is the guts to do it.


Use your Facial Expressions to make your audience feel emotions

Category:Body Language Tags : 

When you are communicating, whether it is in a talk or a conversation, facial expressions are important. If someone pulls a face when drinking orange juice, you can see how sour the orange juice is. And you will almost be able to taste the sourness. That is, if the expression fits the taste.

Emotions are transferred through the facial expressions. You can see disgust, see sourness, see anger or see happiness. In fact: as an audience, you will feel the emotion.

This means that as a speaker, you can play with people’s emotions, using your face. It’s therefor important to pay attention to your facial expressions.

When you’re talking about something that is exciting, make sure your face is exciting! Smile when you are happy! When you’re talking about something sad… pull up a sad face… And of course, When you are talking about something angry, be angry!

Your audience will experience the emotion you are expressing.

There are exercises you can do to train showing emotions. I’ve added a few in the document attached to this article.

Try to test out the different emotions that you have in your presentation. And see how people respond. You will be surprised by the impact of your face.


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Are you ready?

Category:Preparation Tags : 

Whether you are speaking at a conference or pitching for new clients. Whether you are teaching a workshop class or webinar. Or whether you are applying for a new position next year. All these situations ask for speaking and convincing skills.

Are you ready for this? You should be!

To be successful, you will need to be able to persuade. Show those in the room that YOU are the solution to their problems.

This is not easy. It’s a lot of work. And it is stressful.

We say anyone can be a convincing speaker. Because everyone has talents. The key is to highlight these talents!

As Sally Hogshead said:

This means: be the best you that you can be!

Becoming the best you can be will take one step: being ready to make the change.

Our training sessions do exactly what you need: help you become the best you that you can be.

We look at your talents and build your speaking skills from there. Highlight that was is strong and makes you stand out.

Let us help you become that persuasive and confident speaker.

  • We will make you more confident
  • We will make you more convincing and persuasive
  • We will make you the best speaker you can be

Past attendees of our training sessions have experienced exactly that:

SEMRush’ Ashley Ward says:

Lloyd’s Russell O’Sullivan says:

Deepcrawl’s Rachel Costello says:

Search Integrations’ Sara Clifton says:

They have become part of our elite persuasive speakers group!

Are you ready to become an elite persuasive speaker?

Sign up for one of our training or coaching sessions now. And in 2019, you will be an elite persuasive speaker!

Use your 2018 budget

Here’s a nice bonus: do you have any education budget left over from 2018, but you want to do a training in 2019? We can help! Register for a training session and you will get an invoice you can use for your 2018 budget. Your training will not start until 2019!

Do you want to get a partial invoice in 2018 and partial in 2019? We can do that as well!

Can we reserve a spot for you in one of our sessions? Let us know below!


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The power of convincing: “He is talking about me!”

Category:Structuring Tags : 

Persuading or convincing people isn’t easy.

People don’t like to be wrong. And most people believe they are right. Tell them they aren’t, and you are the bad guy…

This means there is a really important thing you need to remember when you are on stage. Especially when you want to convince or persuade people. If you want to convince them about something that is your vision, you will need to make sure that you start off on the same side as those people.

There is one thing that people really want when you describe a problem or when you describe a situation. That is that they feel like you’re talking about them.

Their feeling should be: “Hey that’s me he’s talking about!”

As soon as people have the feeling that you are talking about them, about their situation, they will give you 100% attention.

And that is when they will feel that you understand them!

And when they feel you understand them, they will feel that whatever you have to say will help them. And therefore they will believe you!

As long as you can get that recognition element from your audience, you can convince them about anything you want.

In the video below, Bas van den Beld explains the importance of making people recognize themselves:


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How to be a good event moderator

Category:Preparation Tags : 

Every event needs a good event moderator. Whether it is someone who assists the speakers and the audience throughout the day, or in a session. There are a few elements that make for a good moderator.

A good moderator will make any event run smooth. 

You could get asked to be a moderator yourself. I would suggest any speaker: accept that invitation, at least once. You will learn a lot from it. Not only from what the other speakers are talking about, but from the experience. You will be a better presenter afterward.

In this article, we will dive into what it takes to be a good event moderator. At the end of the article we have a free gift for those that are going to moderate an event soon!

Let’s start with the what and how to recognise a good event moderator.

What is an (event) moderator?

An event moderator is the master of ceremony of the event. He or she is there to make sure the speakers can do the best job and the audience gets the most out of the day or session. A moderator introduces speakers. He or she also makes sure the speakers stick to the time and the moderator asks and moderate questions. He or she is the connection between the different talks.

There are two types of moderators. There are those that are the ‘host’ for an entire day, the event moderator. They are for a large part responsible for the success of a conference. There are also panel- or session moderators. They are ‘only’ responsible for a specific session. Even though it is less work, it doesn’t make them less important. They can still make or break an event.

How to be a good event moderator

Unlike what some speakers think, being a good or even great moderator isn’t easy. If you do it right, it’s a lot of work. If you want to be a good moderator at a conference or to moderate a conference session, you need to do certain things well. You need to work on these moderation skills:

  • Be prepared
  • Research
  • Get in touch with the speakers
  • Make the speakers the center of attention
  • Ask the right questions
  • Pay attention
  • Be a host

Let’s dive in! What are the most important moderation skills you need?

Be prepared

First, you want to be ready. Don’t show up without any preparation. The simplest thing here is to know the agenda. It sounds obvious, but trust me, I’ve seen them. Moderators that didn’t even know what was going to happen.

You want to know who you are dealing with. Know the speakers (by name!) and know their topics.

Research

If you aren’t knowledgeable enough on the topic, research. Do some reading. There is a ton of content available on the web on the web on any topic. It should be easy to at least get a feel for the topic. You might also want to get in touch with others who do know more about the topic. Let them inform you.

GET 50 TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR PUBLIC SPEAKING SKILLS NOW

If you do know about the topic, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t research. But you want to make sure you don’t fall into the trap of knowing too much. Of taking over the presentations of the speakers.

You should research the topic on potential questions you can ask or the audience will ask. Go to Q&A websites like Quora and look on Social Media to figure out what people want to know about the topic.

Get in touch with the speakers

“Can we jump on a call to discuss your talk this Tuesday?” the moderator had e-mailed. He e-mailed all the speakers in the panel at once. As soon as I saw the e-mail, I knew this wasn’t going to end well. One by one the replies came. “I can’t do Tuesday, how about Wednesday?”, one speaker responded. Another couldn’t make it on Wednesday. The third speaker e-mailed that she wasn’t ready with the preparation of her talk yet.

In total, we ended up with a thread of about 20 e-mails. And no call.

Trying to get a call together with speakers usually won’t work. In a post on Entrepreneur, Rebecca Lieb, who has moderated tons of panels, says not to worry about a pre-call.

“Don’t break your neck getting your panelists on an advance call. It’s like herding cats. Instead, solicit input on the topic from people individually, and then send a bulletin to the entire group on the topics and questions you’ll cover.”

She’s right. It usually doesn’t work.

But you should get in touch with the speakers before the talk. But do it one at a time. First, ask them about their talk. What they want to discuss and what the most important outcomes of their talks are. Then summarise it all in one email to all the speakers. See if there is any overlap and suggest changes if needed.

Make the speakers the center of attention

As a moderator, you are not the center of attention. The speakers are. The best moderators know how to take a step back. To shut up when needed. Always be aware of the fact that you should keep what you say as short as possible. Summarise what the speakers said. Ask short questions and repeat the questions from the audience. That’s it.

It’s like I’ve said many times in my presentations when it comes to marketing: you are not the hero, you are Yoda. As a moderator, you help the speakers become the heroes.

As a good event moderator you are Yoda, not the hero
As a good event moderator, you are Yoda, not the hero

Ask the right questions

As an event moderator that knows the topic, there is the danger of asking questions that are too difficult. That could lead to a great conversation between you and a speaker. But it might also mean the audience doesn’t get it.

Do your research to find out what your audience is like. Test their knowledge level and have your questions be in line with that. Ask questions the audience would want to know, not what you want to know

Pay attention

Being an event moderator is hard work! You are the only one who knows for sure that you need to pay attention. You want to know what happens and you want to make sure you ask the right questions. For that, you need to pay attention. If you have seen the talks before, pay attention to the audience. If not, pay attention to the talk. You have to ask a question after!

Be a host

Finally. As a moderator, you are more than the person watching time. You are the person in charge of the session. That means the people in the room are your guests. And you want to make your guests happy. This is much like hospitality. The customer is king, so you treat him well. In this case, the audience is your customer.

That’s why you want to be the perfect host. Be attentive. Know who’s in front of you. And make sure they have a great time.

To conclude

Being a good event moderator isn’t easy. Even though many think they can ‘wing’ it, the good ones spend a lot of time preparing. But it’s worth it. In the end, the audience will go away with a lot more than if the moderator doesn’t do a good job.

To answer the question “how to be a good moderator at a conference”: you need to have the right moderation skills. But most important: you need to make it work.

A moderator is the glue that keeps it together. And remember: you are Yoda.

Free for you: The Moderator Checklist

Because we know moderating is hard work, we’ve created a checklist for you. This checklist will help you to remember everything you need to do at an event. It’s the most complete checklist you will find on the web!
And for you,  we have a big discount, instead of the regular $20, you now get it for FREE!!!


Why telling stories will help you win pitches

Category:Persuasion,Storytelling Tags : 

Pitching is often seen as hard-core sales. You are there to convince your audience to buy your product or service. Or to invest in your company. All you are after is ‘winning’. Closing the deal.

That’s why many believe pitching is all about broadcasting your message. About stating facts. And about convincing by showing how amazing you are.

These people are dead wrong. In pitching, it is about one thing only: trust. If you are capable of winning the trust of those listening to your pitch, they will buy anything. That is why pitching should be about winning trust. And what better way to win trust, than to tell a story?

Storytelling is often referred to as a marketing tactic. Telling stories isn’t often seen as a good pitch strategy. But it should. Because it is. And for more reasons than winning trust. In pitching, storytelling skills are important. Let me explain why.

Stories will take people out of the role of the critic

Someone who is listening to pitches has one role that they want to play. One that they feel they have to play: that of the critic.

As a potential client or investor, I’m thinking: “You are trying to sell me something. And I don’t that. I want to make my own decision.”

And because I want to make my own decision, I want to prove that it wasn’t you persuading me. To do that, I must be as critical as possible. This is why those listening to a pitch, will focus on finding loopholes. They will try to find something wrong with your product or service.

The best way to get people out of this role is storytelling. The mind works in mysterious ways. And one way is that when we hear stories, we become part of it.

When people listen to stories, they will step into another world. No longer are they the critics. They are listeners, trying to relate to the hero in your story.

A story will show real life

If there is one thing that those listening to a pitch think is ‘how does this fit into my life or business?’. We want to make sure that what we buy is something that will help us forward. It has to improve our lives.

Listening to a ‘dry’ pitch means that we have to do the translation to real life ourselves. We hear the facts, we see the functionalities of a product. But how will that work in our real-life situation? It is hard to imagine.

If you’re presenting in a pitch, you can help your audience imagine real life. By telling a story. It will make it easier for the listener to imagine how things will work in real life. Because they show a part of reality. Even if they are fictional. It takes people into a world where they can picture themselves in a new situation. Using your product or service.

Stories get them to talk

A misconception about pitches is that it’s all about the salesman talking. Trying to show the product or service. If a pitch goes well, the ‘receiving end’, those that are making the decisions, are talking a lot as well. In fact, the more you get them to talk, the higher the chance you will make the sale.

A great way to get people to talk is to tell a story. It will trigger them to relate to and talk about their own experiences. It will open them up.

They will hear something, will relate and when you let them, they will talk.

A story trigger emotions

We think we are all rational buyers. We buy products and services based on checklists. On functionalities. And on well-researched documentation. Right? Wrong!

Most of our buying decisions, both personal and professional, are emotional. In fact, over 80% of our buying decisions based on emotion. Because we feel good about a product. Because we like the salesperson. Or because of peer pressure. Our friends have it, or even worse: our competitors. That’s why we need it as well!

A story is a great way to trigger emotions. Once the listener can relate to the problem, it will feel emotionally close to the hero. This means that the emotion is decisive when buying. Because they feel a relationship. They can see themselves. And if they are emotionally involved in the story, it will mean they will make the right decision. Buying into your product or service.

Storytelling is crucial in a pitch

You see? Storytelling is very important in pitching. In fact, it’s crucial! When you use stories, you will have a bigger chance of winning the pitch. Go for it! Tell that story!

And if you need help, we have the Story Pyramid Template for you that will help you create a story or take our Storytelling Class below!


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Create great stories using The Story Pyramid Template

Category:Structuring,Storytelling Tags : 

If you are struggling to structure your story, use The Story Pyramid. It guides you through the story. And we have a template for it!

Storytelling. We all want to do it. It’s one of the most asked about topics in relation to marketing these days. Of course, it’s also a huge element of any presentation. It does wonders when you are speaking at a conference. And it’s a big asset when you are pitching or speaking in front of small groups.

But creating a good story isn’t all that easy. Not everyone has the storytelling skills and some don’t believe it works. There are a lot of elements that play an important role. In storytelling, having the right structure is crucial.

Storytelling skills are important to have for any speaker.

There are various ways to structure a story. They all have a beginning, middle, and end. But what structure is the best? One way to make sure you have the right structure is to use The Story Pyramid.

What is the Story Pyramid?

This method is often used for summarising. It also is useful as a tool to write, especially when it comes to business stories.

Why is it called a ‘pyramid’?

If you look at the storyline, it has a rhythm. You work up to a climax, followed by a falling point going towards the new situation. In the new situation, everything calms down. If you picture this, it looks like a pyramid.

How does it work?

The Story Pyramid shows the structure of your story in one view. The Pyramid has 8 steps in three categories. The main categories are the start, the middle and the end of the story. In each step, you write down the essence of that step.

The beginning

At the beginning of the story, you introduce the characters. You explain the situation they are in and what conflict they need to overcome.

The middle

In the middle part, you describe the ‘rising action’. This is what happens in the lead up to the climax.

The end

In the last part of the story, you describe the ‘falling point’. This is what happens after the climax and how your character takes action on the situation he or she is in. You then describe the resolution and you end with the new (successful) situation.

Once you have written down the essence, you can start writing the details of the story.

One overview

The Pyramid makes sure you have all the important elements embedded, in the right order. This way you are sure you have everything that makes a story interesting. In one overview, you show the storyline by writing down the key elements.

Step by step

The Pyramid has 8 steps divided into three categories. The main categories are the start, the middle and the end. In each step, you write down the essence of that step.

The eight steps are:

  • Introduction, in which you introduce the characters of the story;
  • Situation: you describe and explain the current situation the main characters are in;
  • Conflict, which describes the most important problems;
  • Rising Action, where you are working towards the climax;
  • The Climax shows how the hero handles the problems;
  • The Falling Point shows the action
  • In the Resolution, we see how the characters change their lives
  • In the New Situation, we see the new and improved situation.

The Template

To help you structure, we’ve created a template to use this method.

The Story Pyramid Template is a step by step approach to crafting your story. We guide you through the process.

What’s in the template?

In the template file you can find:

  • The Pyramid Timeline: a template to help structure
  • The Pyramid Details: a template to write out the details of your story
  • An explanation of how to use the template

This WILL be useful to you! Your storytelling skills will get better!

As a bonus: this method is not only great for using in your talks, you can use this method in your blogposts, in your social media and content marketing in general. You can even use it when writing a book or short story!

And if you need any guidance or help, don’t hesitate to get in touch!

You can download your FREE Story Pyramid Template below


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