2019 will be the year of podcasts, I read somewhere.
I have started to listen to podcasts already last year, especially to give a purpose to some of the empty-not-empty time in my days: when I brush my teeth, when I walk to work or when I clean the apartment… I just feel much more productive if I can also listen to some good content.
In a previous post I have shared with you the first podcast about public speaking I have ever followed, The Speaker Lab by Grant Baldwin. Lately I have found another good source of inspiration in The Speaking Club, by Sarah Archer.
Sarah Archer is a former HR manager, now speaker, writer, stand-up comedian and coach. The format of The Speaking Club is similar to Grant Baldwin’s podcast, as she often has long conversations with guests. Still, in this case she is not interviewing only speakers, but a variety of professionals from different fields – always with public speaking as a major focus. Approximately every month she tackles a broader theme, that connects all the episodes in the period. So far I have listened to episodes related to humour, productivity and TEDx. My favourite episodes of the show were three short solo chapters in which Sarah focused on the theme of storytelling.
Episode 005: Secrets to Storytelling (Part 1)
So, are you ready to get into storytelling? No, you are not. Unless you have applied, first of all, the SPEAK framework. In this episode, Sarah explains how to make sure that the strategy and message of your talk are clear, before you start to think about adding stories. Is your Strategy clear? Have you identified which is the Problem experienced by the audience and which solution you can provide? Do you know what you want them to do or think at the End of your story? And who is your Audience exactly? Finally, are you able to summarize your message in one Kernel sentence?
Episode 007: Secrets to Storytelling (Part 2)
Now that you have checked the strategy, you can move to the story. At the basis of most of the popular stories we see and hear, from Disney movies to business cases, we find a common model: the Hero’s Journey. Sarah walks us through the classic twelve steps of the Hero’s Journey, adding examples not only from cinema, but also from case studies in business. Following this template, you can identify all the phases the hero experiences moving from their ordinary world to end up becoming the final, changed and better version of themselves.
Episode 009: Secrets to Storytelling (Part 3)
Twelve steps for one story? Isn’t it a bit too much? Yes, I feel you. And Sarah does as well. So, in this third part she presents a shorter version, that is easier to apply also to the business environment: the Six Step Success Story process. From setup to crisis, from pursuit to conflict, and ending with climax and the aftermath – here we have an easy checklist process to shape our storytelling even when we don’t have time to go through a fully fledged hero’s journey.
Personally, I found these episodes very useful to develop my stories. I tended to think that storytelling was a matter of pure artsy creativity, or some sort of incredibly complicated science. Instead, thanks to the frameworks explained in these episodes I realized that: first, there is nothing extremely complicated about it; and second, creativity sometimes works better if it can rely on a clear step-by-step process. The models above are easy to follow, even if you don’t have a lot of time to read through theory. Just listen to the examples, write down the list of points and then fill in your story using the schemes provided.
(Image by Malte Wingen on Unsplash)