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Improve Your Presentations With Storytelling Structures

By William Vogeler, Esq. on January 11, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Nobody tells a story like a good storyteller.

Kurt Vonnegut, the acclaimed American author, had a structure for crafting stories. He said one is the Cinderalla story, and another is the Man in a Hole.

"People love that story," he said. That about sums it up for corporate counsel, especially when they have to present company successes and failures.

Storytelling Structures

At times, it can be intimidating to give presentations -- for example, when you have to tell the board some bad news. Having a good storyline can help.

In his book, "The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories," Christopher Booker says all stories boil down to one of seven plot structures. According to Entrepreneur, they can be helpful outlines for many business presentations.

"Rags to Riches" could be the story for a startup. A "Voyage and Return" could be about a business on the rebound.

Typically, a story will introduce a more detailed presentation. It's like warming up an audience for the main act.

The Main Act

"The Quest" is another storyline -- a story about teamwork. A group starts off on a journey with a goal in mind, and they work together to overcome all obstacles.

Uber could tell that story. It's about a little app that could, eventually reaching an audience of 40 million drivers and passengers pooled together on a journey around the world.

Of course, there have been bumps along the road with scandals, lawsuits, and regulatory roadblocks. And the story could end differently.

It could end up a tragedy, where we see the downfall of a villain who chooses the wrong path. Perhaps corporate counsel can work on that.

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