Power Up Your Presentations with Story Style — 3 Levels of Story Problems

Here are the slides for a webinar given on Friday, October 27, 2023 — for goFLUENT.


Students, teachers, and business people often suffer a special kind of stress and frustration. What is it? They have to endure long, boring, overly-complex, and forgettable presentations. What’s the solution to this global problem?!

One solution comes from the power of story. Story works as the most powerful way to put information in human brains. And we can use the power and pattern of story to transform the way we communicate. Stories always follow a universal pattern. (1) A hero faces troubles and problems. (2) Our hero struggles to overcome these troubles and problems. (3) Our hero succeeds (or fails) to overcome their troubles and problems.

We can use this pattern when we communicate any kind of information. We can simplify the story pattern like this: (1) problem, (2) solution, (3) result. The audience stands as our hero. (1) We set our facts and data inside a problem they face. (2) Then we present our solutions to the problem. (3) Lastly, we present the result (the happy ending) that comes by following the solution.

In this webinar series, we will learn how to use tools and techniques to create presentations using story style. We’ll also learn how to use story style to clarify our written communication and the way we manage meetings. But most of all, we will learn to make our presentations more effective, impactful, and memorable.

Language Teaching with Story-Logic

When educators fail to infuse teaching and learning with the logic of story, they deprive themselves and their students of the most powerful form of communication and teaching available to the human mind — for the promotion of all learning. For example, when Brown et al. (2014) wrote their renowned book about the science of successful learning, they hired a storyteller as their third author. Though the effectiveness of story-logic connects to all forms of learning, this paper focuses specifically on language education. It provides a succinct definition of the magnetic elements of story and a clear theory for story-logical language education. It also sets out a simple framework, Nation’s four-strands (Nation, 2007), which language teachers can use as a guide to add story-logic in every aspect of language teaching. And it summarizes an experiment where participants liked the characters more, enjoyed the text more, and recalled and comprehended information better when it was embedded in and infused with story-logic.

This is an abstract for a paper that will be published by Senshu University Institute for the Humanities. The attached PDF is the questionnaire used for the experiment in the study.

Here is a PDF of the article Language Teaching with Story-Logic.

Story-Centric Language Teaching — Focus on Form

A talk for The Japanese Association for Studies in English Communication (JASEC), The Twenty-ninth Annual Convention (online Zoom convention), October 17, 2020.

In this talk, I claim that humans are naturally wired for story. We find story more comprehensible, memorable, and compelling than non-story. And though story may be the language teacher’s oldest tool, we can clarify and simplify how we define story. And with the clear and simple sense of story, we can work to weave it more deeply into every strand of language education — making all our language teaching — more story-centric.

Language teachers may easily weave story into input, output, and fluency activities, but grammar and form-focused activities present a more difficult challenge because we usually teach grammar simply by focusing on the nuts and bolts of language. Thus, in this talk I introduce a few ways that we can infuse story into the teaching of linguistics forms.

Click here for a PDF of the talk.

The Bigger Benefits of Big Reading

Mortimer J. Adler said, “Reading is a basic tool in the living of a good life.” Many English learners work the hard way doing test prep. But their hard study doesn’t always make their lives better. It may even make them suffer. But there is a better way. They can still study for English exams. But they can also balance their lives as they improve their English by reading big. And they can enjoy the many benefits of big reading for the good life. (1) They can enjoy more play and pleasure by reading big; (2) they can get more intelligence and smarts by reading big; (3) and they can grow more happiness and satisfaction — by reading big!

A virtual talk given at the 14th edition of vERtual TALK (October 3, 2020) in association with the Chapter of UIN Raden Intan Lampung, and in collaboration with the Indonesian Extensive Reading Association (IERA) and Extensive Reading Foundation (ERF). Click on the image to download a PDF of the talk.