What I’m going to invite you to do here requires a bit of time.
Maybe more time than the average blog post.
Bear with me because there might also be a great advantage in it for you. A lot of presentations tips along the way and a special bonus at the end.
What I want to do is analyze a great talk with you. I want to study it with you and understand what we can learn from it.
How much time should you set aside? Well you will need to watch the talk first and then read the post. The talk is 16 minutes long and this blog post takes 7 minutes to read.
It’s a lot to ask in this fast paced world. But, actually, the talk is just about this topic: how do you get your message across, when everybody has no time? How fitting.
This is a first, and to debut this new format I’ve chosen to analyze a talk by Gary Vaynerchuk – Gary Vee for his friends. He’s a best-selling book author, entrepreneur and energetic public speaker.
Let’s start with title of the talk: How to storytell in a Fast Paced Word. Quite fitting for anyone interested in becoming a Presentation Hero, isn’t it?
Here’s the video of the talk from YouTube. Watch it now!
The talk is quite compact. Gary Vee chose to use the whole time to make one major point: context should drive our content. Our understanding of the different ways we interact online on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest should drive the way we produce content for these platforms.
This point, the core takeaway, arrives 8 minutes into the presentation.
Gary uses a well proven device: he underlines that he is about to deliver his main takeaway, that this is the highest point of his presentation and then drops the core message in an articulate yet simple way.
“Quality storytelling always wins” he starts. After a bit he goes on: “all we need to do is one thing” and then he adds “this is the smartest thing I am going to say, so just listen to this one statement”.
Only then he drops the core message: “99% of the people are looking at social networks as distribution” instead “we have to start to respect the context and the nuances of [each social network]“ because they are not just distribution platforms.
To arrive to this point he has gone through many moments. He opened with his thesis by braking it down in simple points.
First of all he clears the context: we need to stop storytelling like it’s 2007, it’s now 2014. The speed of innovation is ever-increasing and we need to step up our game.
Before going on explaining his world view he tells something about himself. He doesn’t need to brag or recite his bio: he gives us a few pointers to the elements of his career and his personality that are most related to the topic of attention and storytelling.
We are at the second minute and he has already delivered us a map of the way (we are going to talk about attention) and his perspective on it (he is obsessed with the problem). That’s were he shows us that he is a total storytelling pro. At minute number two we are already hooked. How does he go on?
He goes on with his thesis.
“Quality storytelling always wins”: you can always count on how we respond to story, because relating to stories is a human quality. This was true in the past, but will also be true in the future.
A great, reassuring, calming statement. But Gary is not calm at all. He knows that there is no story without a bad guy, no hero without an enemy, no talk without a problem to solve.
Here’s the problem:
Speed of consumption is accelerating and attention is diminishing. Gary is very physical on stage and simulates the gesture of flicking really fast on a vertical timeline on an imaginary phone. He also paces back and forth. This can be disturbing, but you can tell that it’s in his nature. He’s driven, spontaneous in this gesture, so you are more keen to accept it from him than from other speakers.
It’s not that long form, slower, movie-like storytelling is at an end. But the speed of social media requires also new ways of thinking. Gary is spot on: not only he believes that slower storytelling is not dead, he is using it in an excellent way. He eases the audience into following through his 16 minutes long presentation.
He’s involving the audience from time to time by asking them questions. He asks for a show of hands a few times. In these occasions he gets to know the room a bit better. But in one particular occasion he is able to make his point more personal for the audience. He asks: “who of you nowadays is actually annoyed when someone calls them on the phone”. He goes on to define our current obsession for control of our time.
He’s getting close to delivering is high point when he frames his talk with a great quotable phrase: “Marketers ruin everything”, they over-analyze and overuse any media until it does not provide any benefit. Marketers have ruined banner ads and email marketing in the past and they are currently ruining social media.
All this build up brings him to minute 8 where he drops the core message. He then elaborates on it, explaining how each of our social platforms require a different mindset.
That you should use them to start conversations that have the sole purpose of being conversations on that media, that the idea of posting the same thing everywhere is wrong, because social media is not a distribution channel.
Enough with the problem. The solution is provided straight away: bring value in the context. Analyze the context and bring value to your audience, engage what Gary calls the “emotional attention”. Give your audience what they expect.
This is just one part of the solution: you are providing your audience with what they want. But how about what you – the marketer or the brand – want?
At minute number 13 Gary talks for the first time of “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook”, his book. The pitch comes in quite naturally. His book contains the second part of the solution.
The “jab” is the native content that drives the emotional attention, the “right hook” is the content we want to provide our audience. If you want to make your pitch, first provide a ton of value. For every “pitch”, provide at least three times the value. You get it? Three jabs to every hook.
Now we are the apex of the energy. But how does Gary continue?
He provides us with something very practical that we can apply. We are now convinced that “the context of the room changes the way you story tell” and if we are lucky we will apply this new knowledge starting tomorrow. We might as well change our content and social media strategy based on this talk.
16 minutes, 3000 words, that is an impressive 187 words per minute, a lot of body language and not a single slide. This is how Gary Vaynerchuk drives his point across and home.
He knows that the presentation is not only for his live audience. That Behance is going to make a very good recording of this talk and that it is going to be picked up by many different outlets across many months.
The talk was posted in February. It was featured in an article posted in April. I encountered in July and now I am sharing it again in September.
It has collected around 80K views in this time. Gary even uses it on his site on the page where he advertises his availability for speaking engagements.
This is one of those talks that provide at the same time a great deal of value and are a great promotional tool.
In this case this talk serves even another purpose: it has a great storytelling structure. Through this strong structure:
- you get to know the topic,
- you get to know the presenter,
- there is interaction between the audience and the presenter,
- he drops his core idea,
- this helps him make a point and arrive at the final problem,
- the final problem has the solution in the book pitch,
- but you don’t need to “buy” anything, you can just apply the takeaway and you’re good to go.
All that Gary says is also totally applicable to presentations. The social networks in this case are more like the different rooms: a meetup, a meeting room, a hall at a conference. And the emotional content and value is what we always need to provide first and foremost, because they can be the vehicle of our pitch.
One thing is to analyze somebody else’s work, another thing is to apply this knowledge to our own presentations. I’ve learned this all too well in the last years. This is why I’ve put together a very special presentation and video that will teach you how to master presentation structure in just 10 minutes.
Are you willing to invest another 10 minutes of your time? The prize is grand: you can become great storytellers just like Gary Vee.Click here if you want me to deliver the free presentation storytelling toolbox to you.
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