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THE SOUND
The Sound
Guide to
Storytelling.
Or... “How to Trick People into
Listening to you and
Remembering what you Say”
THE SOUND
Hello.
We are The Sound. Today we’re
going to tell you a story. A story
about stories. How meta, right?
This one...
Storytelling.
We believe storytelling is the answer to
your problems. Whether it’s getting
people to think fondly of your ...
The Story
about the
Secret to
Telling
Good
Stories.
Once upon a time (i.e. now) most
people were not very good
storyteller...
Questions
Questions
Questions.
You know you want to tell a
story… that’s wonderful news!
Did you know all good stories
sta...
Once upon a time there was a story and there
was a pie chart. Everyone liked the story and
nobody liked the chart.
People ...
THE SOUND
The
Hypothesis.
Now that you’ve asked
yourself some basic
questions about your story,
guess what time it is. If ...
THE SOUND
Aka
Questions
Questions
Questions.
To form a nice strong story
that will make anyone with a
pulse drool (remembe...
THE SOUND
My father taught me many things here - he
taught me in this room. He taught me: keep your
friends close, but you...
Put your Damn Slides Down.
So when do we get to the part in the story when we get to open Keynote?
Analyzing your Dump
Tim...
THE SOUND
Put Your Damn Slides Down
So when do we get to the Part in the Story when we get to Open Keynote?
Analyzing your...
After you’ve taken your Braindump you should feel
a nice sense of relief (and release). Go ahead and
pat yourself on the b...
THE SOUND
Put Your Damn Slides Down
So when do we get to the part in the story when we get to open Keynote?
Analyzing your...
Can Keynote come out
to Play now?
Put Your Damn Slides Down
So when do we get to the part in the story when we get to open...
THE SOUND
Put Your Damn Slides Down
So when do we get to the part in the story when we get to open Keynote?
Analyzing your...
Unpack The Model
The visualization of a tension or mental dynamic at
play is awesome. But simply organizing it on a slide
...
Well done! High five! Poorly orchestrated
elaborate handshake!
You did it. Your story is solid. But...yes
there’s still on...
THE SOUND
Our Job.
If we’ve done our job here today you should feel inspired and intrigued.
If this was really bada$$ enou...
VA N C O U V E R | N E W Y O R K | L O N D O N | T O R O N T O | C H I C A G O | M U M B A I
W W W. T H E S O U N D H Q . ...
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The Sound Guide to Storytelling

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Or... “How to Trick People into Listening to you and Remembering what you Say”

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The Sound Guide to Storytelling

  1. 1. THE SOUND The Sound Guide to Storytelling. Or... “How to Trick People into Listening to you and Remembering what you Say”
  2. 2. THE SOUND Hello. We are The Sound. Today we’re going to tell you a story. A story about stories. How meta, right? This one has got everything you could possibly want — adventure, romance, sex, intrigue, bottlenose dolphins, and almost no marketing buzzwords. And the best part? Hang on, we’ll get there… See? Intrigue!
  3. 3. Storytelling. We believe storytelling is the answer to your problems. Whether it’s getting people to think fondly of your brand or simply getting out of a speeding ticket, crafting and telling a powerful story is the way to go. True story. It’s truly the finest way to say something in a memorable way that moves people into doing something. Like moving on to page three. THE SOUND
  4. 4. The Story about the Secret to Telling Good Stories. Once upon a time (i.e. now) most people were not very good storytellers. There were a few basic reasons for that. First, people often didn’t know the point of their story before they’d start telling it. It’s vital to know where you are and where you want to end up. If you don’t, you risk looking like a rambler rather than a raconteur. Second, people often didn’t know how in depth to make the story. Were they supposed to tell the 5 minute version or the 45 minute one? As a result their listeners would end up confused or asleep. A good storyteller knows when and how to make a long story short. THE SOUND
  5. 5. Questions Questions Questions. You know you want to tell a story… that’s wonderful news! Did you know all good stories start with questions? Here are some questions you should ask yourself before you open your mouth to begin this exciting adventure. Q. What’s this story about?
 Q. Who is it about?
 Q. What happens? Q. Why does this story matter (to your customer/brand)?
 Q. What do you want your audience to feel/do after hearing your story?
 Q. Has this story been told before? Q. If so, how can I tell it better?
 Q. Are you my mother? Q. Can you stop asking me so many questions? THE SOUND
  6. 6. Once upon a time there was a story and there was a pie chart. Everyone liked the story and nobody liked the chart. People liked the story because it captivated and engaged them. What’s not to like about a bottlenose dolphin who leaves her successful bottle opener empire behind in the ocean to pursue a social media career on land? It made people feel something. Meanwhile the chart which dryly detailed the most popular social media careers for dolphins also made people feel something. Boredom. The chart was quickly forgotten by the people and soon died. Meanwhile the story about the dolphin (supported by charts) was optioned by Netflix and made into a somewhat mediocre streaming series that people loved anyway. The End. The Story about Stories vs Charts THE SOUND
  7. 7. THE SOUND The Hypothesis. Now that you’ve asked yourself some basic questions about your story, guess what time it is. If you guessed peanut butter and jelly time, you were close. It’s time to form a hypothesis to help you figure out what information you’re going to need to tell your story.
  8. 8. THE SOUND Aka Questions Questions Questions. To form a nice strong story that will make anyone with a pulse drool (remember when we said this story contained sex?) it’s helpful to ask yourself a whole bunch more questions. These questions are all about building hypotheses. Because hypotheses help us start from something instead of scratch. Q. What do you already know? Q. What do you think you know?
 Q. What do you need to find out? Q. What do you think you’re going to find when you look?
 And of course… Q. Did you put on sunscreen today?
  9. 9. THE SOUND My father taught me many things here - he taught me in this room. He taught me: keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.” “ Michael Corleone, The Godfather II The Session. At the start of nearly every Sound project we begin with a Hypothesis Session. Rather than us sitting in a room making guesses about your business or problem, we invite you to join us. That way we can all gossip about it together. These hypothesis are the difference between ending up with a story you think you’ve vaguely heard before (like most 90’s rom- coms) and a story that feels like the greatest sequel of all time…
  10. 10. Put your Damn Slides Down. So when do we get to the part in the story when we get to open Keynote? Analyzing your Dump Time to Celebrate and Pour the Keynote? Can Keynote come out to play now? Make it rain slides! Toss in some visuals and you’ve got a happy ending Here are six reasons why you shouldn’t start making slides yet. 1) It’s a waste of time. You’re not ready. 2) It encourages sequential thinking. But you don’t know the order of your story yet. 3) It causes retrofitting and defensiveness. 4) It encourages silo-working and banality. 5) It’s the opposite of deep thinking. 6) It’s simply bass-ackwards. THE SOUND Put your Damn Slides Down. So now that you’re feeling all confident with your big strong hypothesis by your side, we’ve reached the part in our story where you (our hero) bust out the Keynote to start making some slides, right? Well not exactly... In fact not even approximately. While the Law of Insights does state that we are required to tell stories with slides. Writing a story and making slides aren’t the same thing. Slides exist to enhance our stories. But until you have your story fully figured out, you can put that Keynote away.
  11. 11. THE SOUND Put Your Damn Slides Down So when do we get to the Part in the Story when we get to Open Keynote? Analyzing your Dump Time to Celebrate and Pour the Keynote? Can Keynote come out to play now? Make it rain slides! Toss in some visuals and you’ve got a happy ending So when do we get to the Part in the Story when we get to Open Keynote? Yes, we know you love to open Keynote. But as the saying goes, you can’t mention the Jedi before you’ve received permission from Disney. By the same token, you can’t open the Keynote before you initiate the Braindump. The Braindump is a technical industry term. It refers to the process of strapping on an apron, tying your hair back in a ponytail and emptying your brain of all the data and observations you’ve collected for your story. It’s messy. It’s disorganized. And it’s ok. It’s what a Braindump is. ‘Initiate the Braindump’
  12. 12. After you’ve taken your Braindump you should feel a nice sense of relief (and release). Go ahead and pat yourself on the back (assuming you’ve washed your hands first). Now sit back down and take a good hard look at the giant mess of data before you. Isn’t it gorgeous? No? Too messy for your taste? Perfect. Time to call in the cleaning staff i.e. you. This is where you start to identify themes and connections in your observations and ladder them up to land the big insights. Say what? This is where you (for lack of a better phrase) analyze your dump. It’s at this point that your mess will begin to stop looking like a mess and start showing early signs of storylike characteristics. Be proud. It’s kind of like your mess is going through puberty. So also be patient. Messes can be frustratingly messy. Find the core insights. They look like little nuggets of truth. Then begin to order them on a white board, Google doc or what have you, connective thought threads will reveal themselves. Just look at that. It’s like you’re practically the proud parent of an outline to a healthy narrative. THE SOUND Put Your Damn Slides Down So when do we get to the part in the story when we get to open Keynote? Analyzing your Dump. Time to Celebrate and Pour the Keynote? Can Keynote come out to play now? Make it rain slides! Toss in some visuals and you’ve got a happy ending Analyzing your Dump. We call them Sound Bites
  13. 13. THE SOUND Put Your Damn Slides Down So when do we get to the part in the story when we get to open Keynote? Analyzing your Dump Time to Celebrate and Pour the Keynote? Can Keynote come out to play now? Make it rain slides! Toss in some visuals and you’ve got a happy ending Time to Celebrate and Pour the Keynote? Not yet! You’ve got chapters to build, son. That’s right. Take that big beautiful narrative full of insights you’re cradling in your arms and break it into chapters. Select your most important, impactful insights and turn each one into their own chapter. ProTip: Use the actual insights as your chapter titles. With Keynote still sealed shut, take each chapter and flesh it out. Not to be confused with flushing it out. Toilets are flushed. Chapters are fleshed. It’s like you’re pimping them out with gold chains of supporting insights, sub-points, commentary and evidence. But careful not to overpimp and end up looking like a hot mess. Less is often more. Sometimes one hard hitting sentence, stat, data point or quote is all the pimping a chapter needs.
  14. 14. Can Keynote come out to Play now? Put Your Damn Slides Down So when do we get to the part in the story when we get to open Keynote? Analyzing your Dump Time to Celebrate and Pour the Keynote? Can Keynote come out to Play now? Make it rain slides! Toss in some visuals and you’ve got a happy ending THE SOUND Guys, can you believe it? It’s almost Keynote time. We’ve just gotta do one more thing before we can double click on our best friend in the whole wide world. One teeny tiny thing. Make the words perfect. Craft some headlines out of those raw ideas. Before we were only concerned with getting the ideas down. That was then. This is now. This is the time to tap into your inner poet to say what you’re trying to say. Be provocative. Be direct. Mostly be yourself. Everyone has a unique voice. Don’t be afraid to use it. When you do, you’ll probably have your slide divisions so you can… (drumroll, please)...
  15. 15. THE SOUND Put Your Damn Slides Down So when do we get to the part in the story when we get to open Keynote? Analyzing your Dump Time to Celebrate and Pour the Keynote? Can Keynote come out to play now? Make it Rain Slides! Toss in some visuals and you’ve got a happy ending Make it Rain Slides! At last! We’ve reached the climax of our story. Congratulations! Time to bust open Keynote and get our rough draft going. And hey; it’s not even that rough of a process. Simply, mindlessly cut and paste from the outline you made for your narrative. Put your headlines on top. Paste the supporting pimped out content below. Then boom! Move to the next slide. Look at you. You’re doing the electric Keynote slide. But how’s your slide flow? Meaning slides should flow horizontally and vertically. That’s side to side and up and down. So basically you’ll want each slide to flow horizontally into the next slide to tell your story in a coherent narrative. Good? Now check to make sure the content within each slide flows vertically so that your support points are paying off your headlines. Good? Now check your blood pressure and your cholesterol levels. Though not part of your slide flow, it’s always a good idea to have them checked periodically.
  16. 16. Unpack The Model The visualization of a tension or mental dynamic at play is awesome. But simply organizing it on a slide isn’t enough... now you need to take the time to ‘unpack’ each of the points you make. It’s best to do your unpacking on a subsequent slide or two. Parallel Structures Ah... unpacking a series of similar points requires finesse and structure. Parallel structures to be specific. In our stories Parallel Structures can be:
 • Organizational frameworks for each point. Think of it as creating a series of boxes you know you must check in order to make your point clear and sticky (ewww... That’s gross.) • Could be a simple side by side... e.g. maybe this, definitely not that. • Or a consistent way of laying out each slide in a series... e.g. deciding every point needs a headline, subhead and 3 bullets. Cadence of Language This is some real poetic stuff here people! We love to find a way to tell stories that flow easily. The kind that can pass from generation or generation or from Brand Manager to CMO. It helps the reader find a rhythm. And rhythm’s help things stick in our brain. Just ask anyone who has ever written an ear worm of a pop-song.
 For example you might say about a person... they think, they feel, they do
 Breathing Room Not every slide needs to be a killer onslaught of brilliance. Only 97% of them should be. That leaves 3% of wiggle room to give the reader a chance to pause, digest and comprehend. Those slides give us all some much needed air. We like to use quotes, bridge slides and imagery to help give the audience some air.* THE SOUND Put Your Damn Slides Down So when do we get to the part in the story when we get to open Keynote? Analyzing your Dump Time to Celebrate and Pour the Keynote? Can Keynote come out to play now? Make it Rain Slides! Toss in some visuals and you’ve got a happy ending *Little air was used in this deck because we knew you were going to be holding your breath with excitement the entire time you read this.
  17. 17. Well done! High five! Poorly orchestrated elaborate handshake! You did it. Your story is solid. But...yes there’s still one more thing. And it’s not a small thing. It’s a visual thing. No matter how amazing your story is, if it’s not told in a visually appealing way it can fall flat. So use film. Use evocative images. Gather ye models and visualizations while ye may. Pull up some pull quotes. Use all the tools at your disposal. Invent new ones. Do what you’ve got to do to make all your brilliant story look as impressive as it is. That said, style can never totally make up for lack of substance. The best visuals and formatting will never make up for a lack of real strategic thought and analysis. We’re all familiar with the story of The Emperor’s New Clothes. Don’t let your story serve as the living embodiment of it. Do let your story win the hearts and minds of the world. Toss in some Visuals and you’ve got a Happy Ending. THE SOUND Put Your Damn Slides Down So when do we get to the part in the story when we get to open Keynote? Analyzing your Dump Time to Celebrate and Pour the Keynote? Can Keynote come out to play now? Make it rain slides! Toss in some Visuals and you’ve got a Happy Ending. Use all the tools. Invent new ones.
  18. 18. THE SOUND Our Job. If we’ve done our job here today you should feel inspired and intrigued. If this was really bada$$ enough I suppose we’ve taught you how to master the Art of Storytelling without us. So that means we can all hit the beach and grab a pina colada. But…. we suspect there are other things you’d rather do than learn a new skill and start doing everything by yourself. So we will hold off on one-way plane tickets and wait by the phone to hear from you. Seriously. Call us. Invite us to help solve your brand and marketing problems. We promise to be clever and witty and tell a damn smart story that will get noticed.
  19. 19. VA N C O U V E R | N E W Y O R K | L O N D O N | T O R O N T O | C H I C A G O | M U M B A I W W W. T H E S O U N D H Q . C O M

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