Tips for engineering presenters: deciding what kind of story to tell

11 Jul 19 ARH away tiny
Anthony Haynes

Anthony Haynes writes: In my previous post I proposed structuring your presentation as a story.

But what kind of story?

To answer that question you could go and read several books on the subject — narratology, after all, is a long-established and sizeable field. And I’m not saying that would be a bad thing to do. But you’d need to invest a lot of time to do that and it may be you’re looking for an instant solution.

So here’s a quick-fix way to start.

Decide whether the story you’re going to tell is a comedy or a tragedy.

By ‘comedy’ I don’t necessarily mean a story that makes people laugh. I simply mean a story that ends well.

And similarly by ‘tragedy’ I’m not implying that you need to seek to become a Sophocles or a Racine. I use the term simply to refer to a story that ends badly.

Once you’ve decided whether you’re telling a comedy or  tragedy, that gives you a principle for deciding what to include and also — even more valuably — what to omit.

For a comedy, include content to show that the story ends well and how — and even why — it did so. And for a tragedy, mutatis mutandis.

 

 

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