Storytelling ProTips from Cooper

By Nick Myers of Cooper

Now that we’re just a few short weeks from demo day, we asked our friends at Cooper for their top presentation tips. What follows are a few tactical frameworks from Nick Myers, Managing Director of Visual Design and Branding.

Create a dramatic story arc to keep your audience engaged
All classically great stories begin in a state of everyday life but then a trigger sparks a quest for resolution. The story then takes the audience on a journey to reach that resolution. Structuring your pitch in this fashion will keep your audience engaged and want to join your journey through to resolution. Good pitches can follow this structure by identifying a problem that needs solving and then explaining how they will achieve that goal.

Plot your story
Stories are easy to memorize and share if they have a great framework and structure. Begin your pitch using post-it notes so you focus on the story framework without the distractions of images, quotes, videos. Then add life to your pitch once you’re happy with the story framework.

Share a vision that people can imagine
Great design means nothing if people can’t imagine using it in their lives. When you pitch your product or service it’s imperative to share how it will meet a person’s need. At Cooper, we often share our designs as stories so people can imagine a persona, or character in our story, having their goals met in a delightful or effective way through the use of your product or service. Sometimes this can be through imagery of an interface, or through illustrations or video. Remember that people help your audience connect to your cause. We may not always imagine ourselves use a product but it’s great to see someone else have their life improved because of it.

Make sure your presentation includes memorable qualities for your audience
Investors must sit through hundreds and hundreds of pitches every single month. They’ve seen it all. So your pitch must have a memorable quality that they won’t forget long after you’re done. That’s a hard task because you could risk ruining your entire presentation if it’s not genuinely useful to your story. The element of surprise is a great technique to make your presentation memorable in a way your audience didn’t expect to happen. Remember how Steve Jobs introduced the MacBook Air to the world by pulling it out of a manilla envelope? People still talk about that magical moment long after it happened (like here 🙂

Connect the audience to your cause
Humans are natural storytellers and stories are what keep us interested and excited as viewers. People are the center of our design work at Cooper and they are the center of great stories. Don’t be afraid to tell your story through the eyes of a human to help people imagine your quest.

Remember the pitch is secondary
It’s easy to get carried away telling a great story and putting all your effort into a phenomenal pitch. But remember, it’s your idea or product that you will be judged by. Spend your time ensuring you’re product is excellent and the story will write itself.

Study up and remember your story framework
Complete knowledge of your business model, users, market, and mission will ensure you can craft and weave a story that feels natural no matter what slides you have. Investors want to know you understand your business back to front, and you probably do. And if you know the framework of your story, you will feel more confident, seem more engaged and your audience will be captivated.