4 Must-See Presentations for Story Fans

Here are four presentations — three videos and one slideshow — that I’ve come across recently. Story fans may already be aware of at last two of them as they’ve been a bit viral in the story world, but I thought it would be interesting to juxtapose all of them. Each in its own way shows a different approach to using technological tools to tell stories.

Andrew Slack of Harry Potter Alliance is not the first person to suggest a use for transmedia storytelling outside entertainment and pop culture (personally, I’ve suggested transmedia storytelling for job-hunting), but his 13-minute video, The strength of a story, calling for transmedia for activism and social change, is highly thought-provoking.

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(In another emerging use for transmedia, A Think Lab “works with organizations to identify their story — whether it’s for a an individual, a brand, a campaign, or an entire organization. Transmedia storytelling is smart communication because it is the language of experience.” I wrote about A Think Lab’s work here.)

Joe Sabia’s widely posted TED talk, The technology of storytelling (embedded below) is remarkable for showing, in less than four minutes, amazing capabilities of technology (in this case the iPad) for storytelling. He compares today’s revolution in tech-based storytelling tools to the pop-up book, created in the 19th century by Lothar Meggendorfer. Once you see this presentation, you’ll want to get an iPad, and if you already have one, you’ll want to start using it for presentations, a task that my friend Stephanie West Allen tells me is not hard to do.


The slideshow entry in this group is not revolutionary, but it does offer a little twist on telling a story in a slideshow. Presentation expert Carmine Gallo uses comic-like speech bubbles to present text in a beautifully designed 91-slide presentation, The Power of foursquare: 7 Innovative Ways to Get Your Customers to Check In Wherever They Are (he used an outside presentation design agency to create the slides). It’s a slightly more artful way to present text in a slideshow — instead of bullet points or text-heavy slides. They enable the show to pretty much make sense without audio narration. Gallo also includes video in the show. Not all of the slideshow is storied, but he presents storied case studies to illustrate his points.

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Gallo offers a behind-the-scenes view of how he made the presentation storied in 7 Ways to Tell Stories with PowerPoint.

Finally, a very affecting video (just under 7 minutes) that is a story. Its creator, Jacob Schemmel, doesn’t utter a word as he tells the story of 2010, the worst year of his life and what he learned from it. Instead, he holds up handwritten index cards. His facial expressions, especially his smile, and the background music enhance the story. I’m not sure why he chose this technique or why it works so well (at least for me), but it is highly emotionally engaging. It is called simply My Story. I recommend it.
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