Storytelling 3: The Journey

Theo Millidonis L2, Cyprus

Theo Millidonis L2, Cyprus

Welcome to the third and final instalment of the article series on Storytelling. In Part 1 and Part 2 we delved into the Hero and Mentor present in our stories. If you remember, the hero is your audience and every great story has a hero who is central to the plot as well as a mentor, or the presenter in this case, who guides the hero throughout their adventures.

It is now time to focus on the journey which the hero embarks on, having the mentor as a guide. We will learn how establishing a successful relationship with your hero will result in them embarking on a positive journey. We will see how you as a presenter can deliver your message to your audience effectively and call them to action as a result of your seminar.

Seminars should have a destination. If you don’t map out where you want the audience to be when they leave your seminar, the audience won’t get there. You have to set a course, and that means developing the right content. The destination you define can serve as a guide and every bit of content you share should move the audience toward that direction.


Whenever we move away from the familiar and into the unknown, which is what a journey entails, we feel a sense of loss, so we need to understand that we are persuading the audience to let go of old beliefs or habits and adopt new ones. When people deeply understand things from a new perspective to the point where they feel inclined to change, that change begins on the inside (heart and mind) and ends on the outside (actions and behaviour). However, this typically doesn’t happen without a struggle.

That struggle usually manifests as resistance – something that can be harnessed if you plan for it. The journey should be mapped out, and all related messages should move the audience closer to the destination.

In order to map out the journey we need the elements listed below:

1. The Big Idea

This is the one key message you want to communicate, the gist, or the main takeaway of the seminar. A big idea must have the following components:

  1. Must articulate your point of view: ‘I believe that judges should work hard to improve their presentations skills.’
  2. Must convey what’s at stake: ‘Without good presentation skills, judges aren’t able to deliver rulings decisively and make an impact during seminars.’

Must be complete in one sentence: ‘Working on improving presentation skills will enable judges to deliver rulings more decisively and make a strong impact during seminars they deliver.’

2. Plan the Audience’s Journey

In the same way a story analyst looks at the first and last page of a screenplay, you must envision your heroes at the beginning of a presentation, and where you want them to be at the end. Your audience holds a point of view about your topic that you want to change. In order to plan the journey effectively, identify where both from and to you want to move the audience. Let us take as an example the recent combat shortcut change. Most judges felt strange about it because it was so counterintuitive. For that reason it would help to maybe show a video of the case in one of the recent Pro Tours that necessitated this change to be made, and use that to explain how with the new method, situations like these would never arise.

3. Tools for Mapping a Journey

It helps a lot to be able to identify what phase within the journey our heroes are and prepare your messages to move them from the current phase to the next. If your presentation is addressed to Level 1’s on the road to Level 2, then it would be great to link them up with all the available resources for judges working towards Level 2 during your seminar.

4. Acknowledge the Risk

It is the unknown element that makes change frightening. It involves the addition of the new and the abandonment of the old. To adopt your perspective, the audience has to abandon what they previously held as true, and you should empathise with their sacrifice and risk. For instance, your first presentation at a conference. There is always the fear of messing something up, therefore risking your reputation. You need to share with your audience that when you did your first presentation you were also nervous; this way you empathise with the audience and get them on your side.

5. Address Resistance: Refusal of the Call

Most people do not enjoy change and will resist it. Your heroes will often push back and find discrepancies, because if they don’t, they have to either live with the contradiction between their old position and the new perspective, or they must opt to change. This is why you should expect being challenged during your seminar, as a matter of fact you should be encouraging it. This way a healthy productive discussion could result and you should be prepared to reason with your audience, presenting your arguments as well.

6. Make the Reward Worth It

No matter how stimulating your idea, an audience will not act unless you describe a reward that makes it worthwhile. The ultimate gain must be clear, and if they are sacrificing their time or opinion for your call to action, make it obvious what the payoff will be. This could be either presenting higher quality seminars, delivering rulings better, or even becoming more efficient as a judge overall.


I do hope that the article series will serve its purpose in enabling you to be great mentors to your heroes throughout their journeys!


Source for the article series The Hero, The Mentor and The Journey: Resonate by Nancy Duarte

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