Category Archives: Storytelling

Upcoming Presentation Webinars

Upcoming Webinars

While most of my training continues to be onsite at clients, you can occasionally catch me online. And I have two upcoming webinars.

American Management Association – April 7, 2016

American Management Association


This Thursday, April 7, I will again be giving Creating Visual Presentations for the AMA.

This 90-minute session is an overview on how to become a better visual storyteller. We’ll cover proven strategies for reducing text, how to avoid the bullet point trap by using the “chunking” technique, how to harness the picture  superiority effect and basic graphic design layout principles to make your presentations look more professional.

For more information and to sign up, click here.

*  *  *

Presentationxpert – April 13, 2016

The next is foPresentationxpertr my friends at where this time I will be giving a free 1-hour session on Creating an Effective Presentation Story. Much of my training revolves around what to do after you have created a clear and compelling story, but now I’ll take some time to dive into all the things you need to do before you start burying your head in PowerPoint.

In the webinar, I’ll guide you through creating your own persuasive presentation structure step by step, and reveal each question that needs to be answered along the way. From the very first and most important determining piece of information (it’s not what you think…) to identifying your audience, creating singular messaging, calls to action, simple ideation techniques and easy outlining.

You’ll learn how to define your “Point A” and your “Point B,” how to write your presentation bumper sticker and how to use certain PowerPoint tools to your advantage to stay organized.

I’ll even discuss what makes good a header and how to avoid jargon and business-speak.

Sign up for free here!


Generating Ideas With SmartStormer Online Training



If there’s one thing drives me crazy, it’s seeing people putting together and designing a presentation before they even know what they’re trying to say. Often, this cart-before-the-horse approach is the result of laziness and simply not wanting to outline a story first. But I also see cases where presenters are literally trying to generate business ideas and solutions at the same time they’re deciding what font color to use. This couldn’t be more counterproductive to successful ideation, and it shows me yet again that idea generation is a vanishing art.

“Innovation” is what leaders say time and again is most important to their businesses, and yet few of us know how to actually generate and select innovative ideas—be it an iPhone or a better way for signing up for the office softball team.

So, how do you successfully ideate?

I’ve written before about the book SmartStorming which I still consider the single best book I have ever seen on this topic. The authors, Keith Harmeyer and Mitchell Rigie (good friends and former colleagues, full disclosure) are simply the best in the business when it comes to helping others generate new ideas and innovate.

Until now, the only way to learn their secret sauce was through their book or by attending a private corporate training. That changes with the introduction of their new SmartStormer online training available to all. Adapted from their in-person trainings, the 5 1/2 hour course contains interactive exercises, quizzes and 70 high-quality videos. It is essentially the online version of the full day SmartStorming training. And yes, it definitely contains their secret sauce to ideation. If you feel like you struggle with coming up with “good ideas” and wonder how others can brainstorm 20 ideas vs your three, I highly encourage you to take a look. The course is modular and can be accessed for up to a year, so you can definitely go through it at your own pace.

The cost to the public is $299, but use the special Present Your Story code of PYS50, and you’ll receive a $50 discount. And if you’re interested in a group discount for your office, just give them a holler—I’m sure they’ll cut you a good deal.

Find out more here and even try a free sample.

Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 11.10.36 AM

And if you need more convincing, head over to 3 Questions with Keith.


Different Audiences, Different Process Graphics


I came across a simple, but excellent example of process graphics in Michael Bierut’s new book, How To. Above are two pages from the printed brand guidelines for the design of United Airline’s once low cost sub-brand called TED.

As part of the design and branding work, Michael’s firm Pentagram wanted to show how the different divisions of United Airlines all fit together. Instead of a single visual (“process graphic”), they created two: one for internal audiences (on the left) and one for external audiences (on the right.)

This is a great reminder for me that one story does not always mean one single graphic. Think about your audience, think about their level of knowledge, think about what you want them to take away from your graphic.

Below is the full page from Michael’s new book.



When Simple = Juvenile = Effective


Yesterday I had a structural carpenter come out to our house to look at a small issue we needed taking care of. This guy came highly recommended, and I couldn’t have been more impressed. He’s apparently the go-to guy in this area for this type of work, and it was clear he knew what he was talking about.

Then he handed me his card, and I was taken aback by the seemingly juvenile stick figure drawing. I’m used to seeing poorly designed business cards and in this day and age, and I actually I think they are far less important then they used to. (For the community in which this guy works, I think his Facebook page probably gets him far more work than his business card.) But still, I kept thinking that this guy needs a better calling card. Literally.

Then I showed it to my wife (who knows a thing or two about design and marketing), and this was her response:

“Doesn’t it tell you exactly what he does?”

I had no argument. And instantly, this juvenile stick figure drawing (maybe it actually was drawn by his kid which would be adorable) on the business card of a very successful expert has become one of my favorite examples of effective simplicity.

In just a few pen strokes, here’s a visual story that says: “I reinforce and make houses structurally sound.” 

But it probably wouldn’t be a good card for a professional illustrator…

visual training presentation