Category Archives: Extreme Presentation Method

It’s not difficult to Structure a Presentation as Story

2.4 Words Photo by Suket Dedhia on

In our last post we spoke about using anecdotes in a presentation. But we can also structure our entire presentation as a story. And its not that hard to build the foundations of a good story. Once you have the basics you can then refine your content to make it compelling and engaging.

Story telling Basics:

Set the Scene

Start by telling your audience the most important details of the story. Set the scene with a clear explanation of the context and what’s at stake. This will help them understand why they should care.

Show the Conflict

Now that your audience knows the setup, show them the conflict. Explain the challenge or problem you’re trying to solve. This will help them empathize with the story.

Describe the Resolution

Finally, explain how you overcame the challenge or solved the problem. Give details about the process and the result.


Once you’ve taken your audience through the story, end with a strong conclusion to emphasize the point. Your conclusion should include a call to action. Encourage your audience to apply what they’ve learned to their own lives

Why do stories work?

In his book Moving Mountains  Henry Boettinger puts it like this. “Present your idea in this structure and sequence: statement of the problem, development of its relevant aspects, and resolution of the problem and its development.  Use this structure and you send your idea rolling down the well-worn grooves of the human mind.  Ignore it and you send it into rocky, unknown canyons from which it may never return.”

You will notice that the four steps outlined above are represented in the Boettinger quotes above. But we still need a bit more detail in order to build out our presentation. Fortunately we have the SCORE method developed by Dr. Andrew Abela.

S stands for situation (setting the scene), Co stands for Complication (showing the conflict), R for Resolution (describe the resolution) and E for Example. The example has been added as a separate step because in a business presentation you need evidence in every sequence to convince your audience that your resolution will work.

At the beginning of a business presentation we start with the Situation and let the audience know why we are there, we then grab their attention and identify the biggest issue we are trying to resolve for them (Co), we give the over-arching solution (R), tell them why it will work in general terms and provide some evidence (E).

Next we move onto the next complication, resolution and example. But the way we get there is to ask “yeh but” from our audiences perspective, what would be their likely objection to our solution. For example they may say – but that sounds expensive. That’s our next complication. we provide a resolution and then an example. Then keep asking “yeh but” until we have cleaned up all the audiences potential objections.

So it’s SCoRE then CoRE, CoRE etc,

What we have done is brought the audience into the story, they become a key character in the story.

There you have it a very simple formula for developing a story.

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:

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.

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