Story of Monkey

“Far away, on an island, there lived Monkey. He was a happy monkey. He had a good job keeping the beach clean and watching out for pirate ships. One day he was gazing out to sea and he thought: “I’m happy now, but what about the future? What about when I’m old and weak, will I still be happy then?” And he began to worry.“

Start with a story

Often starting with a story is the best way to connect with your audience, whether they are colleagues, investors, or prospects costumers. The good people at Michel Berger understand this: they have a mission and they have chosen a great story to share their mission with us.

Sell sunshine, not coconut water

The website they created is as “wonderful, fresh and young” as their favorite drink: coconut water bottled straight from a fresh coconut. Everything on their site talks to us about sunshine, happy life and friendship. They are not just out to sell coconut water, they want to experience a bit of that sunshine feeling every day and share it with their friends. “To us it just feels like sitting under a palm tree, gazing out in to the ocean, getting younger and stronger, sip by sip.”

Be remarkable

If you want to be remarkable and resonate with your audience, don’t tell us about your company, your product, and your distribution points. Tell us a story that will take us to another place and make us dream. But first read and listen to The story of Monkey, preferably with a glass of cold coconut water.

Notes: The story of Monkey is based on the tale of Sun Wukong from the classical Chinese novel, Journey to the west as well as the adventures of Lord Hanuman.


Using the right visuals can greatly enhance the emotional impact of our stories. Not surprisingly, it is not easy to choose images that everybody watching our presentation will be able to relate to.

But what if we did not have to choose? What if we could deliver each one of them the experience they like best? Not one standard slide deck, video or image style, but each person in the audience getting a personalized version that they get to choose.

Science fiction? Not quite, as you will know after watching this amazing video. Devised as a webcam-enabled, YouTube-only experience, this interactive ad changes its visual content with every blink of a viewer’s eye while delivering a straightforward message about Virgin Mobile’s many awesome features.

So turn the webcam on and choose your very own version of the story. In the blink of an eye.

Read more on ads and visual stories


What children can teach us about presentations

When it comes to storytelling, children are the undisputed experts. Children simply love stories and instinctively understand what makes a good story. You’d be surprised how much they can teach you about the subject if you just asked them.

The other day, I took my eight-year-old daughter to the bookstore to buy her a present. I found a new edition of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, which attracted my attention with its many gorgeous illustrations. I showed her the book, only to find out she was not impressed. I thought it was a really beautiful book, didn’t she like the illustrations? “Dad, that’s exactly the problem” she said, sounding like she was explaining the obvious. “With all those nice drawings, I won’t be able to concentrate on you when you read the story.”

I’ll try to remember that next time I am preparing my slides for a presentation.

BTW: Denslow’s (1856-1919) original illustrations of the first edition of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz are wonderful, indeed.

Choose to inspire

I watched two videos several times last night, for very different reasons and with very different feelings. The first video is about the perception and reality of wealth inequalities in the US. It is a beautiful video in its clarity, simplicity and impact. I loved it, it is exemplary in showing how a story based on complex information can touch us and change our view of the world.

The second video is a showcase of 40 innovations for a TEDx event. Each innovation is displayed for a couple of seconds through a combination of images and text. I found it very hard to see the images and read the text at the same time, let alone grasp the importance of the inventions. I hated it, I felt the makers of the movie abused the time I gave them by trying to stuff me up, instead of inspiring me.

Inspiring is difficult, it requires effort and giving the audience a gift they are willing to accept. Abusing on the contrary is easy, it is the selfish thing, it is focusing on what we want to give, no matter what.

Inspiring or abusing, what do you choose in your daily work?

Are you making an impact or foie gras?

Foie gras is a food product made of the liver of a duck hat has been specially fattened by force feeding. A tube is put into the duck’s neck and up to 2 kilogram of food is forced down in a very short time. Does the duck enjoy it? I doubt it.

How much information are you going to put in your next presentation? Sure, we gave you a 30 minute slot. That’s a lot of slides you can squeeze in, say 40, or even 50; you are an experienced speaker, sure you can manage that? And hey, you really cannot skip the background info, it is key for us to understand how difficult your project was, right?

Problem is, it is not about you or your project, and we certainly are not here to be force fed by you, slide after slide. We gave you an opportunity to connect with us, to inspire us, to touch us with your ideas. How about you only talk for 20 minutes and spend the rest of the time involving us in a dialogue? How about you give us something truly remarkable, something memorable, something we’ll talk about at home tonight at the dinner table?

You don’t think you have anything remarkable to tell, I hear you say. Well, why are you wasting our time? Come back when you do have a remarkable story for us. And by the way, foie gras production has been banned in many nations.

Read more on corporate presentations.

We all know what good visual design is, and yet we still make bad slides from time to time. What’s the story behind your bad slides?
?1. I just couldn’t be bothered, bad slides are less work.?
2. It makes it look like I have done tons of work.?
3. My boss asks specifically for those bad slides.?
4. How am I to remember what I have to say if it’s not on the slide?
?5. What do you mean, bad slides?