The best Storyteller Tactic we never published

The best Storyteller Tactic we never published

To write is to edit. A good first draft starts long, and gets cut ruthlessly short. I wrote 80 cards for Storyteller Tactics, picked 54 of the best and dropped the rest. Trouble is, good stuff gets cut too. 

Below is a draft version of a card we dropped called Storyboard. We felt it duplicated elements in other cards (and there's also a Workshop Tactics "Storyboard" card). But Storyboard might have been good for people trying to use stories in a presentation for the first time.

Have a go. Try Storyboard alongside Movie Time, Show and Tell, Five T's and Icebreaker Stories. The principles are the same: stories are about people, change and new information. We remember them when they are visual and emotional.
If you've any more suggestions for digital additions to Storyteller Tactics, get in touch on the Slack channel.


Pictures paint a thousand words. They help you think visually. And that helps us "see" what you mean.

People often use images in a presentation - slides, photographs or video. But even if you're telling a verbal story, with no visual aids, it helps to plan it out with a storyboard. Your story really works when it starts a movie playing in our heads.

If you're struggling to get images, try the Movie Time tactic. Use
Storyboard with Show and Tell tactic to prepare a presentation.

  1. Create a bank of images for your story. Use Post-It notes. Sketch or doodle one image per note, with one or two words of explanation at the bottom of the note.

  2. First, do the easy ones - the physical settings of the story.
    • Who: a doodle for each individual in the story (you, your user, ete)
    • What: the product or service you're working on, tools and obstacles that feature in the story.
    • Where: locations
    • When: times of day/night or seasons

  3. Now, do the “invisible” elements of the story:
    • Emotions: use emoji to reflect positive and negative states, specially around the problem you are solving.
    • Abstracts: data, facts, concepts. Don't agonise about sketches, just a word will do.

  4. Then create a timeline using the images. You can do a simple ‘Beginning - Middle - End, or put the images along a Story Arc (see Rags to Riches, No Easy Way tactics)

  5. Finally, see if you can tell the story simply from the visual clues.
    • What's my strongest image?
    • Where should I put it in the story? (Open with it as an attention-grabber, or build up to it at the end?
    • Is this image right for my audience?
    • Does this image help my message or distract from it?
    • Is it vivid and fresh, or a tired cliche?

  6. OK, what if you haven't got an image for a vital part of the story?
    This is the part where we rely on YOU, the storyteller. Don't show us a weak or distracting image, just talk directly to us. 


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