This Might Just Be the Holy Grail of Presentation Storytelling — About Storytelling

I’ve long been interested in storytelling in presentations and have followed the SlideShare presentation contests (especially the Tell a Story incarnation), as well as storytelling-in-presentation gurus like the guys at ethos3, Nancy Duarte, and Joyce Hostyn.

Somewhere in the midst of my study of this subject, reader Raf Stevens brought me up short by asking what exactly constituted good storytelling in presentations. I looked extensively into possible answers to that one but never felt I was quite there.

Most recently, I wished that Lou Hoffman’s superb presentation about storytelling had more story in it.

For that, to me, has been a holy-grail kind of quest: A presentation that not only has storytelling as its centerpiece but that is actually about storytelling — one that sells the idea of applied storytelling by telling a story.

Today I learned of a presentation that might just be that holy grail. The auteur is Gavin Heaton of Servant of Chaos. The bulk of the presentation is a compelling story. The images are absolutely gorgeous. Type on the slides is minimal. Best of all, it’s a storytelling presentation about storytelling.

Bonus: The slideshow pretty much stands on its own without a presenter to elucidate it.

When I got to near the end of the slide deck, where Heaton introduces a second story — one from Mad Men — I knew exactly what story it would be: the riveting, unforgettable scene from Season 1 in which Don Draper pitches an ad campaign for Kodak’s Carousel slide projector.