Category Archives: Extreme Presentation Method

Creating a great story by KILLING OFF THE MAIN CHARACTER

They say a powerful story is one that grabs you by the throat and that’s definitely what UNCUT GEMS staring Adam Sandler did to me, but not a good way. It consisted of Adam Sandler yelling  and swearing and talking over the top of everyone else for 120 minutes – but I was determined to see it through because my son said it was a great movie. Having said that I think the story line was fantastic as Sandler got into and out of trouble – tension release, tension release – all the way through.

However, overarching the entire story was the tension created by Sandler’s delivery style.  When this tension came to an end, the release was one I wasn’t expecting. I think the writers did this deliberately but the emotion I felt was very much a surprise.

Moving Mountains

A participant on a program recently worked on a presentation that was due in two days time. He delivered the presentation and I called him the day after: “How did it go Jim?”

“Not so good Justin”

“Why was that Jim, did you achieve your objective?”

“Yes I achieved everything I wanted to, but it just turned into a conversation”

Jim was stuck in an old school mindset of presenting – the “sage on the stage”.  What happened was his presentation turned into a conversation and he started to engage the audience because he was talking about things that are important to them – he nailed it!

So, the formulae we use to get the audience involved is what Andrew Abela calls the SCoRE method which is based on the work of Henry Boettinger in his book Moving Mountains. It works by juxtaposing tension and release – the formulae for all good stories.

SCoRE stands for:

Situation – what are you there to talk about – put simply in a few words

Complication – What’s the biggest problem the audience is facing.  This creates tension and the need.

Resolution – what’s the solution to that problem.  This creates the release and satisfies the need.

Example – provide some evidence as to why your resolution will work.

Then continue on with the next CoRE (Complication Resolution Example) for as long as you need to.

This simple formula enables us to craft a story, engage the audience and achieve our objective.

Boettinger, HM 1974, Moving mountains; or, The art and craft of letting others see things your way, 1st Collier Booksedn., Collier Books, New York,.

WHY Ecstasy, Misery and Cinderella are so powerful

There is a part in The Extreme Presentation Method program where we show participants how to construct an anecdote. In order to do that we have to tell them one. Without fail, as soon as I say “I have a story to tell you” I have everyone’s attention, they are all focused on the storyteller. Why are they so powerful?  There are many reasons from historical to neurological, but the famous American writer Kurt Vonnegut helps us with a simple explanation.

If you think of the Cinderella story, you have a dynamic of ecstasy and misery played out over time.  Derek Sivers draws it like this:

https://sivers.org/drama

So why is this so compelling. It’s because most of our lives don’t have this dynamic.  They look like this:

So when you are constructing anecdotes (hypotheticals) or deciding which story to tell, make sure they are dynamic so that you grab the audiences attention.

Two types of stories

There is an abundance of evidence that stories are essential for persuasion, to the extent that storytelling in organisations drives business results. To take facts and figures and craft them into a story links the information together and aids retention by the audience. Also stories engage emotions which also aids memory.

In the next few posts we will talk about two broad categories as they relate to the Extreme Presentation Method.

The first is anecdotes and the second is sequencing your evidence to craft a story.

Anecdotes.  Anecdotes are used to highlight the most important points of your presentation and will be typically one of three types:

  1. Directly relatable to a company issue e.g. an employee did “x” which resulted in “y”
  2. Hypothetical. A story about a company that is not real, but the story is possible
  3. Metaphor.  A story that is symbolic of the story you want to make

The second type of story is the one where your evidence and anecdotes are sequenced in a way that juxtapose tension and release which is the formulae of all good stories. Andrew Abela calls this the SCoRE method and is based on the Method of Opposites outlined in detail by Henry Boettinger in his book Moving Mountains.

We will explore these two categories in the following posts.

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