Connecting with a story

I worked pretty hard on preparing for a presentation I was going to make in the beginning of the school year at my new school. I think ended up with three different versions.  I didn’t end up using any of the slides from this presentation.  Slides 1 -16 would have been torturous. I broke all the rules and didn’t tell a story, as Garr Reynolds invites us to do.

This presentation never happened. None of it, thankfully.

Sadly, though, full of fear, I ended up borrowing a presentation from someone else. I asked her, and she said yes, it’s licensed under the creative commons – go for it. I sold out. I told her story.

My goal was to introduce myself, define (or demystify) the role of a librarian, and to let poeple know that there feedback was listened to and will be addressed.

Now, looking back on it, I should have told my story. I actually do have a story, if you can still bare going through that slideshow above, that starts at about slide 17. The purpose of the story was to be funny, but, also, to tell my job description, using the perspective of another teacher, my friend Perry.

The story could have been a winner. At least, it would have been my own. Turns out there’s many tools available online to tell stories in different ways.

No doubt, though, the design is still a nightmare. The fonts and colours are hard on the eyes. I’d go back and simplify for sure, and I’d also consider Daniel Pink’s suggestions.

I’d have to redo my design, retell the story, but I’d also, somehow, want to address these ideas of symphony, empathy, play, and meaning.

“Symphony…is the ability to put together the pieces. It is the capacity to synthesize rather than to analyze; to see relationships between seemingly unrelated fields; to detect broad patterns rather than to deliver specific answers; and to invent something new by combining elements nobody else thought to pair.”

I’ve seen people do this. It’s rare and special, but it’s definitely possible, too. Any thoughts?


In looking at and reflecting on powerful presentations, I’m left with these thoughts:

  1. Less is more.
  2. A theme, as part of the story, is important
  3. Showing change in your story or presentation is powerful.
  4. Images can make or break you
  5. Somewhere I saw some expert mention consistency throughout.


Finally, most importantly, I’ve learned that I must tell my own story – not someone else’s. Daniel Pink talks about connection and empathy – it’s impossible for this to happen, if the story is not your own.




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One Response to Connecting with a story

  1. Troy White says:


    Ha! You were certainly in a Zen Presentation rebel mode with this one. It’s amazing how reflective some of the Coetail coursework can be. I of course get why your presentation was so non-zen friendly. The content, information, everything is quite relevant and smart.

    Wow, that presentation did escalate quickly. The exchange with your former colleague was funny and worked, but you’re right, they might have been in snooze-mode by the time slide 17 came around. On very different note, did not know you were from S. Carolina – from ATL myself.

    Agree about taking ownership of one’s own story. I think this is where we run into issues with content and trying to be didactic. There’s a conundrum – too much text and teachers are, “I do not need someone to read this to me”. Ask them to read it on their own and many don’t. Could you have front-loaded or end-loaded them with the informative breakdowns of your presentation and then used the anecdotal “your story” to either bring them back (front-load) or hook them (end-load)?

    Call out boxes are nice with quotations/dialogue and built in with Google Slides.

    Maybe the “let people know that there feedback was listened to and will be addressed” could have been turned into an infographic – another Course 3 Final Project option? If I were to get an email about an upcoming meeting and it had an attachment to it that I was going to need to read ahead of time… vs. an lovely .png infographic embedded in the email itself, I would be about 1000% (accurate data) more inclined to take in the infographic.
    This way attendees show up with some sort of technical prior knowledge, then the personal story might have the desired data-driven context – just an idea.

    I had to meet with Admin last week to discuss how my Tech Integration role was going. I have Google sheet with some equations where I track how often I meet with teachers, push in, etc. I thought an infographic might be a more digestible way to get this information across.


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