Scott Schwertly is an epic storyteller. Today, he owns and operates Ethos3 Communications, an internationally renown and award-winning presentation design and training company located in Nashville, TN. Scott works with a wide spectrum of clients that includes Fortune 100 companies, Silicon Valley start-ups, and various other organizations throughout the world. Scott has a B.A. in Communications and an M.B.A. from Harding University. .
Geetesh: What’s StoryBored? Is it a blog? Or an e-book — or both? Also what is the raison d’être for StoryBored?
Scott: StoryBored is an e-book that was sparked by my desire to help others tell better stories through their presentations. During the past few years, I have done a lot of research on Gen X and Y in my quest to understand myself better and why certain messages/stories resonate or don’t resonate with me. What I found through this research and my own self-discovery is that alternative methods work best with me and people who are in my same age demographic. We want sarcasm. We want pop-culture. We want something fun. It’s those three things that I tried to deliver in my writing. With that said, StoryBored is really an e-book for everyone but just told through the eyes of a twenty-something.
Geetesh: This one is not really a question — it’s probably just an invitation to think aloud. Nowadays, it’s the “in” thing to have a story rather than those bullet points, complex slides, and animated charts. But we all know that the real world is different — people still need to make those slides. So how do they weave a story in their existing content — also, does a middle path exist?
Scott: I firmly believe that there is a story in everything. You have stories. Your parents have stories. Your grandparents have stories. Your company even has a story. No one should miss an opportunity to tell a story when giving a presentation. After all, stories create emotions. Emotions create motivation. Motivation creates action. Action creates results. On that note, storytelling equals results.
I have found that the best place to tell a story is in your introduction. There really is no better way to engage your audience than early on. There is this great quote out there: “If you tell me a fact, I’ll remember it. If you tell me the truth, I’ll believe it. If you tell me a story, I’ll put it in my heart forever”. That’s powerful stuff.
Regarding a middle ground, I do think it exists. When Ethos3 works with clients, we often suggest that they use a compelling metaphor or center their content around a powerful theme – a one-word brand that captures the essence of their message. These are great alternatives to telling a story without feeling like you are huddled around a campfire singing Kumbaya. Honestly, many still get uncomfortable around the concept of “story” even with it being such a big buzz word these days. In short, centering your message around a metaphor or theme is a great middle ground.