Good storytelling: There’s no such thing as dumbing it down

It only takes a handful of unproductive meetings or challenging [Exec/PRD/Design] reviews to remind yourself that being a good storyteller, and practicing that art, is a big part of the job.

I’ve been doing some research on this topic recently, much of which prompted by our recent post on presenting, and after reading a bunch of articles, books, and comments on the subject (including Made it Stick, which we’ve posted about in the past), there’s a few key takeaways that I wanted to share beyond the obvious ones we hear all the time:

Use weekend language: for better or worse we become better storytellers on the weekend, avoiding unnecessarily complex or business-y language, treating your audience with the right familiarity, and letting your enthusiasm shine through

Keep it simple: I read a great analysis of how often the phrase ‘dumbing it down’ is overused. As the author says, “There’s nothing dumb about communicating in a way that everyone and anyone can understand”. A big part of the PM role is to be able to take complex subject matter and make it your own, make it relatable, and use only the complexity that is necessary for the subject matter and the audience

Comfort with silence: Don’t bulldoze over the moments, which can feel awkward, where your audience can digest or engage with your most important messages. Don’t be afraid to pause, nobody’s gonna pass out.

Also, it doesn’t hurt to practice. Steve Jobs reportedly would spend 2 days at the Moscone Center in SF practicing in advance of his 45min. speech for Apple events.

Who’s got other go-to tricks to share?

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