Category: Presentation Skills

And they’re off! Calling a horse race uses classic story-telling technique

Everyone loves a good story. Stories are what anchor your listeners to the main point you want them to remember. A technique that is often used to craft compelling stories is what is called “The Hero’s Journey”. It is an archetypal story pattern, common in ancient myths as well as modern-day adventures.

In essence, it includes three stages:

Departure: The Hero leaves the familiar world behind.
Initiation: The Hero learns to navigate the unfamiliar world of challenge and adventure.
Return: The Hero returns to the familiar world in victory to share the lessons learned.

Over the holiday break, I found myself watching an episode of the Netflix series: 7 Days Out which tracks seven days leading up to some of the world’s biggest events. As a native of Louisville, KY. I decided to tune into the episode on the Kentucky Derby. While I am very familiar with all the pomp and circumstance connected to the Derby, I learned something new.

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Improve your Presentations with an Actor’s Moves

When we go to the theatre and see actors on the stage communicating a story we get wrapped-up in the action and forget that the lines that are spoken are scripted and the movement on stage is choreographed. If the production and talent are good it all looks and feels organic and yet it was orchestrated well in advance.

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Lead with a Headline: Remove Presentation Static

head·line noun – a head of a newspaper story
or article usually printed in large type and giving the gist of the story or article that follows.


It is no secret that living in the digital age means we are bombarded with information. Some of it is important and relevant but most is a great source of distraction – or static. Static is that crackling or hissing noise we might hear when we have a bad connection to one of our telecommunication devices. It is annoying and causes communication fatigue.

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Overcoming the “Ta Da” Dilemma

I recall with dread the many times I was positioned backstage or seated at a table close to the stage waiting for my name to be called to present. I could hear the introducer reading my bio and suddenly, “Ta Da!” – here she is Mari Pat Varga… I would bound onto the stage full of energy but I could instantly tell that my audience wasn’t quite there with me yet. They had already heard a bunch of other speakers and now me – someone they really didn’t know from Adam. Because of that, they spent the first few moments of my presentation checking me out. “Boy, she’s tall…” “I don’t recognize her name…who is she?” “I love that suit but not so crazy about the shoes…” “I hope she’ll be good…”

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