Down the Storytelling Rabbit Hole We Go

Episode 1:
Down the Storytelling Rabbit Hole We Go


Mikey introduces what is to come from Presentation Thinking™

Nov 30, 2021

The Presentation Thinking Podcast— aka Adventures in Storytelling, aka Pitchin' Ain't Easy— begins! 

It's a cool ten minutes and change, quickly setting up the what and why of this flavorful podcast. Let's start pulling some storytelling threads and get into this goodness!

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Full Transcript

Hey there, pitch partner. My name is Mikey Mioduski. I am the founder of a presentation design agency called Go strange communication. And I'm a presentation nerd.

I appreciate you checking out just what the heck this podcast is, I'm guessing taking a shot in the dark here. Not trying to put a label on you. But well, you clicked to listen to the first episode of some very obscure podcast called "Presentation Thinking." And I am guessing you must be a presentation nerd too. Well, this is a safe place. And I guess the first step is admitting.

Now that we have that out of the way, I want to talk to you about why the heck we are here. Not like here, here. But like here at this podcast. We'll get into the purpose of existence in later episodes.

I want to take this opportunity on this Prelude introductory episode to tell you what we have in store for this podcast called presentation thinking. AKA Adventures in Storytelling, aka Pitchin' Ain't Easy. This is truly a passion project. And really more than anything, an independent study conducted by myself and some of my closest presentation pals. In and out of ghost ranch communications, who are all just people who care about better presenting and on this collective mission to become better storytellers. Better technicians, better people of our craft better communicators?

Why are we on this mission? So check this out. I am, by my trade, a presentation designer. Actually, I'm a designer turned presentation specialist, turned founder of a presentation design agency. So we're in a few hats. But really, what myself and others at ghost ranch do is we work collaboratively with executives to help them bring their slides and stories to life with custom design, custom visuals, custom illustrations, and even storytelling help to help them make their presentations. Great, memorable world class.

But guess what? The other day, a friend of mine, some friend asked me if I had heard of this AI software that promises to design your slides for you in minutes for like 10 bucks a month? And I was like, no, but screw you, you know, for telling me about that. Also, copywriters don't think you're out of the clear yet. Have you seen those tools out there claiming to write your marketing copy for you with AI in minutes for like dollars a month? We're not the only ones in creative industries, wondering what in the hell is about to become of our trades, right?

And not only are we looking at automation, you know, the singularity to come in and take over our jobs. But we're also competing with people in other places, right? Right now in this modern age, we can work from anywhere, we can also work with anyone. So corporations and entrepreneurs alike have been taking full advantage of the ability to hire someone in Bulgaria rather than San Francisco, Philippines, not Manhattan. And I'm gonna tell you right now, my agency can't compete on price with a warehouse of PowerPoint technicians, you know, in New Delhi, so we don't. Instead, we are pushing ourselves to become strategic advisors of storytelling, because we believe that mastering storytelling will help us help our clients to build and deliver some much better, more powerful presentations.

So maybe just maybe, when we zoom back out and consider how intimate and emotional presentations can be, how vulnerable a presenter is up there on the stage. Well, we realize how human a great presentation really is. Perhaps the development and delivery of a world class presentation requires too much nuance, too much psychology, too much awareness, too much empathy, too much context, too perfect balance of art and science. Too much passion, too much emotion for a machine to come in and do it for us. Presenting is storytelling, and storytelling is uniquely human. Storytelling is also very hot, so hot right now, right?


But here's the funny thing. It's been hot, from caveman times through Plato times, all the way to now that Nancy Duarte times, the study of how we can become more successful speakers can help us get so far ahead in our careers, whether we're teachers, students, doctors, marketers, founders, we're all in one way or another, as Daniel Pink says, in sales, right? We all have ideas. Unfortunately, they don't sell themselves. So if we want to be able to change hearts and minds, we will have to to put in the time and devotion to mastering this great medium.

Some people are born with it. bunch of jerks right? For the rest of us. The good news is that storytelling and presenting is a soft skill. It's a muscle, one that we can actually build with practice, cross training, and a whole lot of reps from Hollywood to Apple theater. The best storytellers in history have at some point, come to the realization that this crap doesn't just happen. Now, they decidedly put themselves on their own independent studies, their own CrossFit gyms of storytelling and badass hurry to get those muscles just pumping. This first episode is my own first step in committing to become a better storyteller. I want to study the greats as you will hear in coming episodes. This is something that the great ones have done.

When Bethany and I watched Judd Appatow's masterclass on comedy. Judd admits that he studied the best comedians on Earth—joke by joke, breaking down and actually deconstructing why certain jokes worked, why others did it. And he began to recognize patterns develop theories of his own. There's already a massive body of work, a compendium of literature and resources out there on storytelling and communication, go to Amazon and just search storytelling. And you'll see how many, how many pages are out there on the different books on this subject. So we're not going to reinvent or try to recreate this stuff, because it's already been done, there's so much out there.

Instead, we're going to consume it, a lot of it, and give you some of those key takeaways aggregated and curated to help be the cliffnotes of of the storytelling literature out there, to help us ourselves, start to connect our own dots, and come up with our own theories. Based on what's already been said, right. From there, we're going to apply those theories and common principles and patterns, to be able to start to deconstruct things on our own TED talks, Shark Tank pitches, Apple keynotes, you get the picture.

We're also going to interview people founders, we want to hear some of their different stories, stories about storytelling, right? different pitches, they've done, how they became better presenters and and were able to help raise money or get their products to market better through storytelling. We want to hear those lessons from failed pitches, right, we can learn just as much from those maybe more, when we hear those, those pretty vulnerable stories about things that didn't work so well. We want to hear the stories of some pitches that maybe changed their lives. On the other side, we're going to interview a ton of VCs, the investors who are pitched at basically for their job seriously who's heard more pitches than a VC.

We're also going to read and review books. Andre Fernandes from GhostRanch is our strategist who is on his own mission to become a better storyteller and break things down. But you know, what's even cooler is and perhaps what I'm most excited for is the outside thinkers, people who aren't necessarily writing about better storytelling. They're not necessarily speech coaches, or speaker coaches. We're going to pull fresh perspectives in from people who don't work directly in the industry, to see what we can take from their mediums to apply to our own presentations. This medium is so cross disciplinary, we want to paint a 360 degree view to try and truly become masters of the space. Think about it.

Yeah, sure. Storytelling, that alone could take a lifelong lifetime to master visual design visual communication illustration. In this at a glance society, creating the exact right image to help support your point, so that it clicks it registers quickly, might be your only hope to help a complex idea land, or keeping your freakin audience's attention for more than 17 seconds.

Psychology, performance, motion graphics, broadcast music, teaching, selling marketing, advertising, screenwriting? I mean, is there a category or industry out there that we can't somehow extract a few applicable takeaways into our own pursuit of becoming better presenters and more persuasive communicators?

We are so pumped for this. We're going to document, you know, our learnings along the way. We're going to become better storytellers. And we hope if you're nerdy about this stuff as we are, get ready for some fun adventures and storytelling up on the docket. You know, once we get this silly little intro out of the way, we are going to actually listen to tune in to some of our takeaways from Aaron Sorkin's masterclass on script writing and storytelling. We're going to listen to our own deconstruction and takeaways from a sweet episode of how I built this with Melanie Perkins, the founder and CEO of Canva. We're going to try to pick apart Aristotle's Poetics pretty heady stuff. As I mentioned, Judd Apatow's masterclass. We are going to break that down what our takeaways were on Andre always has his head in the books. So we're going to talk to Andre on a repeated basis about what he's reading and picking up on. And then Bethany, she's diving in. She's done some toast mastering. She's gonna help me break down some of these TED talks, masterclasses and other literature out there. And we're gonna have fun.

So it's like stories about storytelling, which is pretty damn meta. And we're gonna have a blast. We're so glad you're tuning in. Let's enjoy the ride. And let's let's take our careers to new heights together. Mikey. This is Presentation Thinking. Thanks for tuning in. We'll see you next time.

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Down the Storytelling Rabbit Hole We Go