Mic Check by Rhetoric: Volume 9
Why you should channel Dumbledore before your next presentation
Last week, we started digging in to some of the storytelling best practices that Nancy Duarte posited in her episode of Starting Greatness.
We've been thinking a lot about the hero's journey after listening. For those of us who have collected creative writing or liberal arts educations, the hero's journey is a familiar story structure: a hero leaves their familiar world behind, learns to navigate an unfamiliar world (usually with the help of a mentor and several life-altering battles), then returns to their familiar world.
The full hero's journey has seventeen steps and reading them will remind you of every epic you've ever read or watched. But even just the three steps above pose an interesting opportunity for storytellers of all stripes: how can we re-think the stories we tell to cast our audience as the hero?
Lessons from the hero's journey can be applied to anything from a pitch deck (what is your user's journey, and how do you fit in as the mentor?) to an executive presentation (what is our collective challenge and duty?).
Like the mentor—think of Yoda or Dumbledore—our job as presenters is to get our audience unstuck. This is essentially the inverse of how we're taught to think of presenting, which is: what's the fastest way to make my audience see that I'm the hero? With this mandate, we design stories to serve an audience rather than to convince one.
How have you seen the hero's journey employed as a presentation strategy?
📚 Open tabs
What team Rhetoric is reading during those awkwardly-timed few minutes between Zooms.
Storytelling via photos: "Inspired by an 18th-century naturalist, Christopher Edward Rodriguez set out to document our climate-changed planet with fresh eyes."
This is an interesting take from HBR on why using 'both-and' thinking rather than 'either-or,' leads to more creative decisions: Solving Tough Problems Requires a Mindset Shift.
I loved digging into this (rather long but worth it, I promise) analysis of how humans evaluate (and should evaluate) information. It's called the Feynman technique and could even be used in reverse when building a compelling presentation.
✨ New ways to present better
Here's what's going on at Rhetoric this week:
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