Some days ago, I was carefully reviewing my things-to-do list and I remembered that one of my goals for this year was to start my own blog in English (I used to blog only in Spanish). I also found a video I made last January (my presentation + résumé) and then, I thought that it could be a good idea to share how some basics on storytelling helped me present content which is generally condensed in a fixed format, in a more engaging way. So, I decided to officially start my new blog with the behind-the-scene of “A dreamer´s présumé.”
Anything can trigger an idea
One of the main reasons I update my page daily (no matter what :)) is because it is the best place for me to store wonderful resources and organize stories in a meaningful, wider context. A single article, an image, or an interesting point of connection among latest news and trends can trigger an idea to develop my next project. It is through content curation that I found the right sources to completely transform a plain list of years and actions (=résumé) into my “real story”. Articles on storytelling and a great online presentation tool like SlideRocket were the seeds for this project.
Draft, define, create
So, I had the tool and the idea. Now, it was time to select and organize the content. I started with a list of the most relevant facts I wanted to include. But, the real challenge was to turn those facts into meanings and emotions. To identify my core message was the key to achieve that. My goal was to engage the audience and tell them my story as if I were talking to them and let them know that I was not just “a certain number of years of experience” or “a set of tools”, but also, and more importantly, I am a passionate instructional designer!
Make it attractive and therefore, memorable
Last week, David Anderson wrote about how predictable eLearning courses can be and encouraged us to look for new ways of presenting the message and introducing the learning content. When I started my presentation, I aimed at surprising and entertaining the audience. I think that it is more likely that viewers remember more details about me by watching this video rather than reading a traditional résumé among thousands of other applications, right?
Find your inspiration
It took me three days to finish the presentation. Throughout the process, I constantly tried to brainstorm touching phrases to place the content in context and create an emotional impact. As the daughter of a natural-born writer and poet, I must confess that this was the easiest task. But, when the spark of inspiration didn´t stem from my DNA, I tried to find new sources of incentives, being movies and data visualizations my favorite ones.
I wanted to appeal to emotions through clear and simple phrases like “Dreams rock!” or “My goal is to get the job of my dreams” as well as real experiences. This would help me to grab the audience´s attention and also, make them establish a connection between the content presented and their own experiences. Who has not been in this same situation at least once in his/her life?
Find the resources to make it happen
What do you need to support the core message? What feelings do you want to arouse in your audience through these elements? Images and music can maintain the audience´s interest by provoking different reactions and pacing the story.  But always remember, as I said in this briefpost,that every element has to have a purpose. From the point of view of Multisemiotics (my next week´s topic) composition, images, colors, music and even typography are meaning-making devices, i.e., they all have a specific function to fulfill.
The images used in the video are from The song is from You can also check out these sites for Creative Commons content and and this list of free digital storytelling tools for further ideas
Drawing it all together
Once I had all the resources, I started to put all the pieces together. Mindmapping and storyboarding are not only essential to coherently organize the information but also to find stronger or even, new connections among ideas and achieve the best possible results. [See video here]
All in all, storytelling is a great technique to get a message across, innovate and engage your audience. Of course, it cannot be applied to every project but it is worthwhile to try it in order to free your imagination and creativity.
Please, don´t forget to share your impressions on this post.