We continue our study of different story types to try to understand what is so compelling about how stories are told and how to apply the fundamentals of storytelling to presentations. Our next story type is Tragedy, and it’s only natural since it is the opposite of Overcoming the Monster; it’s the tale of the villain spiraling down into evil.
The transformation into villain is something that happens throughout the tale, and when the villain is defeated in the end, the audience is satisfied. The power behind this story is that even though as an audience you may have come to like this antihero, who is the main character of the plot, in the end you feel it is only just that this evil comes to an end. Examples of this are abundant, from Shakespeare’s Mac Beth to The Godfather’s family, the Corleones.
There is a great example of how this type of story was used for a presentation: In 2005 lawyer Mark Lanier, representing Carol Ernst, sued Merck pharmaceuticals for the death of the plaintiff’s husband after taking one of the pharmaceutical’s pain killers. Lanier enlisted the help of Cliff Atkinson, author of Beyond Bullet Points, to prepare the opening speech. This type of case is hardly ever won, but with Atkinson’s extraordinary way of depicting the giant Merck as negligent, the jury was compelled to find Merck guilty and fined them for $253 million, $1 million per slide used in the presentation.
Here is a great example of the power behind a story well told and how presentations can be used in many ways. Now, I’m not saying you should go out to try to bring down Toys ‘R’ Us because the clown toy you got for Christmas when you were 7 scared the life out of you… but you get the point.
Until next time,
Byron Stanford for Project Presentation.