Storytelling | Richard Dykes | Skillshare

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

10 Lessons (28m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Credits

    • 3. Case Study

    • 4. Why and What

    • 5. The Soul

    • 6. The Story

    • 7. The Show

    • 8. How

    • 9. Modern Storytelling

    • 10. Final Thoughts

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About This Class

What is a story? And why is storytelling such a powerful communication device?

Stories have been told from the beginning of time. They’ve been told to entertain, to share experiences and convey deep, important messages.

Stories have been told from parent to child, from tribe to tribe. They’ve been told to one person, to ten, to hundreds, to thousands.

Storytelling is something that’s ingrained in our humanity. Every one of us is a storyteller, even if it’s not a skill we practice often.

This course is designed to teach you the basics of storytelling and apply it in modern business communication (presentations and facilitation).

Meet Your Teacher

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Richard Dykes



Hello, I'm Richard. I am an information designer for a global consultancy. My specialisations are in innovation management, data analytics, and UI/UX design.

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1. Introduction: Welcome to this course on storytelling. What is the story? And why is storytelling is such a powerful communication device? Stories have been told from the beginning of time, and they've been told to entertain, to share experiences, and to convey deep important messages. Storytelling is something that's ingrained in our humanity. And every one of us is a storyteller. Even if it's not a skill that we practice often. This course is designed to teach you the basics of storytelling and how to apply it in modern-day business communication, such as presentations at facilitation. This causes no prerequisites. One is invited to come and join us. Let's get started. 2. Credits: Before we get too excited, I need to disclose that I'm not the expert in this field. I've just been relatively clever about stealing artfully. So here are some of the source materials that I've babbling on. And then I suggest that you go ahead and read up on yourself. First up is Steven Pressfield. Nobody wants to read your shit. And the world watt. Then we have Simon Sinek, Start with Why Chip and Dan Heath Made to Stick. And finally, there is a, there's an article around seven types of stories and which are you telling? If you have the time? Pause this video now. Read through these books, get around notable on Amazon and join us again. When you're ready. 3. Case Study: Before we dive in, just a quick note on your case study, your task is to tell someone who's just starting out a difficult journey of a time when you were the hero. And you can choose a format of your choosing. So that could be a video arisen segment, whatever tickles your fancy. I've also is scattered in a few extra prompts which you're welcome to post in the comments below. Or else just keep to yourself. 4. Why and What: Let's first start off by answering the questions, why and what? Why is storytelling such a powerful communication class? Maybe it's because we've been telling stories for millennia. Whether that was around the fire side. When Iraq painting later sketched into Stein. And finally, in written formats on paper, one, on the stage. Storytelling is something that's ingrained in our humanity. It makes us distinctly human, and it's a powerful way to communicate. Storytelling can be made up of three parts, in my opinion. And I call them the three S's. So it's the Soul, the story. And the show will dive into what each three of these mean in the next segment. 5. The Soul: This is the salt. And what do we mean by that? But before we dive into it, please will you if you can put those video down and read up on nobody wants to read your ships. By Steven Pressfield. Who or what is the most important thing in your story? It's the audience. You need to give them the message. Tell it through the lens from the worldview of the narrative. Because it's a story modules. If you can remember this simple thing, you'll nail the soul of the story every time. Your first prompt is to think about a story that you, that you told before. And now with the added benefit of what you've led, now, think about from many different perspectives. You could tell it, how many different audience members you can tell it. And with that change, how you would have told it when you told it. 6. The Story: Next up is the story. And again, pause this video. If you can read, Start with why Made to Stick and read through the seven types of stories. So what's your most important task as a storyteller? If we said that you, your most important element is the audience. What's the most important thing that you bring to the table? You need to tell the story and you need to tell it. Now. Storing can be made up of a couple of different things. I've put down here. Genre, plot, character, and the world. The world, all the setting. We'll talk a bit more about plots in a second. But genre could be things like, is it a romance or was it a comedy? Characters, all the heroes and villains and your story, and the window, the setting is the environment in which these actors play at the story. You'll first prompt in this section is how do we plot character? And the same thing with the world fit into the saving DOCTYPE stories that were described in the article. Let's dive a little bit further into plots. It's one of the more complicated things that you can look at as these quite a few different types according to academics. But the simplest is poverty, the 3x structure. Simplest but try but true. That's, it's hot. The three-act structure has 3x, the beginning, the middle, and the end. And they can look a little bit like this. So the, the point of the beginning is to first off obviously introduce everything you'll characters, your world, et cetera. But it's also meant to credit promises that need to be fulfilled. And generally concludes in a inciting incident, something unexpected, exciting, or some sort of conflict that drives our characters towards the end. The next part is the middle. And the middle is all about how do I resolve that conflict tool had, how do I overcome the challenges that are being set before me in the beginning. And the end is rarely about bringing us down off to the highs of throat of throwing the ring into the volcano. So in the final sections, you need to resolve anything, especially the promises that you made in the first section. So you need to fulfill the promises that you set up. You can imagine this occasionally means that the three-act structure could look a little bit more like this, a little bit more of a bumpy ride with many different conflicts and resolutions all leading up to one pivotal conclusion. But when you are starting out the way, if you're doing something relatively simple like a presentation, then it's best to think of it as this easy curve. How can you, how can you include that? Inciting incident, that resolution and that come down in your next presentation, for instance. And the way that I like to think about it is along the same lines of Simon Sinek, Golden Circle. In the first act or the beginning. I tried to ask the question, why? Why is this important to the audience? Why should I carry on listening? Why should I carry on reading? Once you've understood that that driving force, then you can start to answer that with a house statement. So in the second act, I might show the audience how this will benefit the lives. How this, we'll see the Eagles to a conclusion or how we can make good on the promises that we sit in the Y statement. And finally, the what is kinda like the cherry on top. So the what might be the feature that you, that you want to show? It might be the outcome of a project. But the what is essentially your, your way of making good on the promise that you set up in the y and should answer the question of the why and the what. The other thing that I like to think about or reference is the success framework from Chip and Dan heats Made to Stick. So we start off with simple. Every story should be as simple as it can be. They are obviously times when you have a complex stories and tell a technical manual to engineers, for instance. But that doesn't give you the right to make it overly complex. You should always try and simplify it as much as you can. Because complexity is forgettable. Next is unexpected. And if you follow the why, how, what structure they will be, maybe a little bit of unexpectedness that should come out in your Y. But it's always great to keep your audience on the feet. Keep them excited and keep them focused. By sprinkling, sprinkling in unexpectedness in your presentation, you talk your novel, whatever it is. The next is concreteness. Concreteness means that you need to paint a picture with your words. Or if you are actually doing a picture, then that's obviously simplified for you. But make sure that your story is concrete. It's limited. Then we have credible. Credible in a non-fictional sense is usually easier to talk about. But you can think of this as does you does water. And it might be the flip side to simplicity. Makes sure that no matter how much you simplify things, that the story still holds water, that it's credible, that your sources are legitimate, that you use your auntie authorities correctly. Even when you're doing a fictional work. Make sure that if gravity is a system that you have in your book or movie, that everyone is conforming to the same laws of physics. Then we have emotional. And I think this is probably way. We, as storytellers can improve our stories immensely immediately. And it's low hanging fruit. So particularly in business sense, we, we're really bad at bringing in motion to our stories. We don't think about what are the emotions that we want to invoke in our next spreadsheet. It's not something that we've been trying to do, all that we even think to do. But if you can start to bring in emotion and think about what you want, the person opposite you are all around the boardroom table to think about what you feel. When you tell them those words. Then you can tell incredibly impactful stories. And that leads us to the final one which is stories. All of this leads up to, we need to tell a story. Recites down, put down bullet notes. Everything should follow the story. 7. The Show: The final case is the shutter. What differentiates my stories from every other signal that's opposite. Your interpretation is really important. So I don't like to think of myself as the script ride to the actors in the play, or even the lighting will produce a, I think of myself as the director. When I'm creating new stories, the director plays an incredibly important role in that. She needs to take everything into account. The the actors, the lighting, the script. He needs to think about the audience, and what's the story that they want to have and provide that interpretation that is unique. This two sides to the show. The first is voice. And voice at a very simplistic level, is things like do use third person, third first-person. What sort of tends to use one of the words of the prose and as the pros might say, that you use. And as we go deeper into it, we can think about things like the setting. So what level of attention to you have to come on depending on the medium that you're using, all the setting in which your story is being told. What distractions or they are people going to be on their cell phones? Are you allowing people to walk in and out? Is everyone going to be there for half an hour and half an hour early? What was it like a book where you pick it up and put it down whenever you want to. So setting and attention is really important when it comes to the voice. Similarly, when we look at context, context has a base level and that can maybe be called the medium or the format that you, that you've chosen as a slide. Is it a book? Is it a game? Is it an app? But if we go deeper into things, we can talk about 22 concepts, immersion and agency. So immersion is how invested someone is in your story when you story telling. And how focused Ave, and how much do they feel as if they are part of the story. So if you think about something like virtual reality type of movie or story or game, people are incredibly immersed. They feel like they are a part of the world that you're talking about or that you are presenting. Whereas if we, if we look at, say, a book, it requires a bit of imagination for a reader to imagine that they are part of that story. And then we have agency, which if I'm going to use the thing around books, you can think of agency in two extremes. The one might be a standard book when you take them along the journey in has a sad conclusion. Or you can provide them a choose your own ending type of story where they have to choose certain paths. So agency is all about how much control the audience has over the story itself. Games have a high level of agency. Movies have a very low level of agency. Neither is right or wrong. It's just something that you need to think about when you're setting up your story. Your last prompt for this section is, what's your medium or your mediums? What level of professional do you need to be before you feel confident enough to ship your next story? Do you need to go and try to? Do you need more experience? Does your voice match your, your mediums? And with that, the does the setting, the agency in the image, the immersion, match with the format that you've chosen. 8. How: Now that we understand what a story is and what makes up a story, let's talk a little bit around how do we actually tell stories? And before we jump into it, I first want you to put this down, read the Wolbachia. There's a very basic process that I have put up on the screen now of draft, edit and shift. Depending on your creative medium or your off that you're shipping. This might be a little bit too high level, but bear with me for the time being. For most autistic pursuits, we have process of drafting something before we edit it. And this is usually a iterative cycle, which we'll talk about in a second. The last bit is the shipping pot, which is something that we sometimes forget about. But there's a, there's a whole odd way process to actually shipping the work that you've done. With that means monetizing it, getting it out into the public eye, whatever it is. But completing a project also takes work. As I said, drafting and editing is an iterative process. And I can take a number of different texts. So if you're writing a book, you might start off by writing off the structure and editing it to make sure that everything fits together and it holds water that is concrete. And then once you finish that, you write your first draft of the prior logo, the first chapter, and then edited again. And then come back to that. Drafted again edits, draft edit. Steven Pressfield, I think said that it took him between 152015 or 20 drafts before he was happy with it. And there are other authors that have said to have tens, nearly hundreds of drafts and edits. So really the, the point of this is to go as many times as it takes until it's at the quantity that you that you are happy with. And also it's a get out of jail free card for yourself to remember that your first few edits for your first few drops are not ever really going to be very good. Professionals spend multiple drafts over multiple years before they are happy with what they, what they put out. But that doesn't mean that we should forget about shipping. So there is a balancing act between making sure that the quantity is high enough that your audience will respect and understand what you're talking about and holding onto it until it's perfect. Because perfection is maybe not attainable. So whatever you do, don't forget to ship. Great. Let's talk about your prompt. So what stories have you started up and put down? And what's stopping you from shipping now? 9. Modern Storytelling: And finally, we can talk about storytelling in modern times. So I've mentioned a few examples of storytelling in modern times. If we think about the full history of storytelling, stories have started out potentially as rock paintings, campfire, stories that were person-to-person. Then we started to develop rotting structures like those used on stone tablets or on paper. We might have moved on towards play, play, writing and acting out certain things. And there would have been songs. And you know, this, this basically was the, the modus upper Randy for many millennia. But the 19th, 20th century brought in a lot of innovation. So these days we have a lot more that we can, that we can play around with. Whether that's video, for instance, the silver screen came. It might be audio and the progression from radio through to CDO or some sort of physical, physical manifestation of a digital audio signature through to now streaming and podcasts. And in the business world, we also have a number of other things. So we have things like technology, like apps, for instance, apps and dashboards, which are quite abstract stories. But we also have more concrete ones like presentations and facilitation, which is what I'm gonna talk about today. So really the big difference between presentations and facilitation is that presenting is basically you giving a message and idea and insights to your audience and facilitating you're trying to get that out of your audience. So that means that there are a couple of different things that you need to take into account. First, offers maybe the size of your audience. In presenting. You can go from one person to any number of people. Especially today where we can prerecord and share that message across YouTube or whatever it is that we want to do. So you can have a very large audience and you can also have a fairly technical audience in terms of the level of detail that you want to go into. It generally requires you to be a good public speaker. And you might use props such as slides and flip boards, et cetera. So something that you can pay or bring it, bring alive what you talking about. And then I've put down continuous on near continuous. So if you think about the voice aspect of this, they usually, usually the environments that people the audience is going to be sitting in is relatively controlled. So you can expect fewer distractions. And you might need to awesome to switch off their cell phone if you're sitting in a boardroom. Or you might need to close the doors to an auditorium. But you can generally expect that 90% of the audience is going to be focused on your message, so long as it's interesting. On the flip side, facilitation is if you think about a workshop, that guy or girl that stands up at the front of the room and guides the participants through a number of exercises. So when presenting has this very low agency single ending that is basically up to the present. The facilitator might have several endings or several things that they want to achieve in the session. But the ending itself is actually up to the participants and collaborating. So that means that it's difficult if you're going to be setting an auditorium of thousands of people to try and control. That is generally better for smaller, more intimate audiences. Maybe only up to about ten or 20 people. Instead of communicating messages, you're trying to extract those or collaborate those, those ideas and those points of view from your audience. Then when it comes to the prompts that you will use, generally, you're showing lists and providing more collaborative type of tools. So you might have whiteboards or flip charts, sticking rights, etc. And as I said, you have a very high level of agency when you're facilitating. So there's there's almost two GR and ending title field to it. But equally it's then also highly immersive. You generally don't have to motivate people once they get started in a workshop because they are actively doing toss that you've set them. Your last prompt will be, how will you look at your next presentation or workshop differently? Now that you've understood the basics of storytelling. 10. Final Thoughts: Congratulations, you've made it through all of my monitor. Now suppose some final thoughts. I said at the beginning that I'm not the expert and that you should draw the read through the coolant source material. I really, I advise you to go ahead and do that even more strongly now. So storytelling is unfortunately not something that's easy to transfer through learning like this. It's something that needs to be experienced. So try and, try and read up as much as you can. Get out in front of someone, writes on what could ride something, tell it in your voice and shared with someone or someones. At the end of the day. You need to ship it. Anything less and it will be wasted effort or an idea that goes to the idea graveyard. I wish you the best of luck. Go and tell stories.