Compete to Win Together – By Story Telling

As I was in Paris, I contemplated what to write about concerning our competency goal of competing to win together, but then it hit me like the stone that took down Goliath. Well, not that hard.

In this last day session, I had lunch with Matthew Luhn. He explained how Toy Story three was a film he did not want to make. He's not a fan of sequels, but what Pixar got right was the culminated emotional feeling portrayed in the last sequence of Act III of the movie.

This sequence made me think about how can I convey emotion and feeling into products and solutions. Pixar and Matthew did it using the Logline technique I learned at his workshop – The Art of Storytelling. By defining a Logline, we create a sentence or two on positioning our message and establishing relationships. Once the premise is written up, they then tested this Logline by developing a Story Spine. A story spine helps pitch the idea and structure an impactful story.

The Logline.

Who is the audience?

First, we have to understand to whom are we communicating. What do they like? Their day-to-day activities and how do they make decisions.

Analyzing and identifying these traits will help define our audience to write a hook about our core message. An audience example is they are techy, have families, travel the world, and like movies.

To start writing a hook, try something that will grab their attention. Start with a 'What if' statement. A "What if" statement will define the type of information you will foreshadow in communication. For example - What if you could be everywhere at once without skipping a beat in your life's needs and challenges?

What do they connect with?

Connect to your audience with stories that bring a level of emotion. Either be specific or broad, but make sure you know the common interests, passions, and struggles the audience goes through. Pinpointing your audience's interests will bring more creativity into the story. Connect with world-views, for example, climate change, gender equality, corrupt banks, social networking, technology, or family issues. Be authentic and vulnerable, which will resonate and create empathy.

What is the goal our audience wants?

After identifying and capturing our audience's interests, we will want to create direction to attain their goals. After that, we have a driving force that connects with our audience's goals in mind. For example - the only way to achieve everything is by using our technology. It is easy as one, two, and three.

Who or what is holding us back?

We now have to have an antagonist character or component to help round our Logline. With this opposing force, we can help our core message change the way things are done using products or solutions.

For example, this would be a logline that can help structure our story or message.

An executive-driven stay-at-home mother who is full of energy needs to take care of her children, husband, and herself by aiding her family through hard economic times. Using products & solutions, she can succeed in the workplace and be in various places when needed most.

The Story Spine.

To create a story with a clear beginning, middle, and end, you can now test your Logline and write a Story Spine. With this Story Spine, we have the opportunity to develop a story that will guide visual scenes and sequences.


Once upon a time….the exposition (Mary CEO of AxB has a very demanding job)

And every day…the exposition (Mary wakes up in the middle of the night to cater to her family)

Until one day… Inciting incident (Mary's children all got tremendously sick)


And because of that…progressive complication (Mary had to figure out a way to work from remote locations)

And because of that…progressive complication (Mary was at the brink of losing her job)

And because of that…progressive complication (Mary could not support her family)

Until finally…crisis/climax (There was a solution that help aid Mary)


And since that day…resolution (Mary can go from any location securely and without missing a beat)

With tools like a logline and story spine, we can help each other compete and win together by collaborating on ideas and executing the same goals. To discuss more on storytelling your message, contact me Christian Pareja.

The 5-minute Formula for impactful Demos

To resonate with your audience, impactful demoing takes five elements: Hook, Change, Connect, Structure and Authenticity – or better said, Storytelling.

"The purpose of a storyteller is not to tell you how to think, but to give you questions to think upon."

― Brandon Sanderson, The Way of Kings

Before we begin

Let's take a look at the subject of the intended message. Make a list of words that you hope would ideally describe the product, service, or whatever message you're trying to get across. This exercise is essential. A compelling story isn't about making the takeaway positive and attractive. Instead, it needs to be specific and distinctive, just like you, the person delivering the content.

Next, write another list of the seven top descriptors that apply to you. Be honest with yourself because you want to be authentic with your audience and make your message resonate. Comparing the two lists, pick out common traits and begin to craft a message that's valid for the product and reflects your personal beliefs and values. We now will use these words as a guide to define your demo story and message across a storytelling landscape.

First, let's define a demo structure.

1. Beginning – What is it that you want to say?

  • For whom is this demo intended?

  • Why is it beneficial to watch the demo?

  • What problem will the demo solve?

2. Middle – Why do you want to say it?

  • Segment and highlight the top 3 actions, show don't tell.

  • Use pictures to help drive the point or create a situation to have your audience imagine what you want to happen.

  • Focus on what the product did for you, not how your product functions.

3. End – How do you want the audience to feel?

  • Build up to a payoff

  • Reiterate what was accomplished after experiencing the demo.

  • Quickly wrap up a call to action or call back.

Next, write a Hook

Using the list you created at the beginning, use these values to write a hook that will catch people's attention as quickly as possible (in 8 seconds by creating an unusual, unexpected action or a conflict).

"What is your personal truth? "

"What does your truth have in common with the truth of your message?"

― Roger S.H. Schulman, Author

Then, think about a Change.

A story tells how the things that happen (the plot) affect the protagonist or hero component in pursuing a challenging goal and how the hero changes internally as a result. The story is about that internal change. Think about how to convey that feeling. A solid way to begin is to use a 'What if' statement to define a theme to encaptivate your audience. With this tactic, start the story in action, trigger the senses, and focus on detail to excite and create anticipation/tension.

After that – Connect

Use everyday events, environment, or worldviews to channel your story to connect with your audience.

The best way to connect is emotionally, so using common interests, passions, and struggles will aid your story. Some examples are:

  • Climate change

  • Gender equality

  • Exploding phones

  • Corrupt banks

  • Social networking

  • Self-driving cars

After that, create – Structure.

A tool you can use to intertwine a personal story with your demo is the Story Spine template seen below.

By following a structure, we create an exposition that defines who the character is, what they want, where the story takes place, and why it happened that concludes with a moral.

Story Spine template

And then, have – Authenticity.

Now that you have your story in place, next are rehearsals. I bet you have heard the saying, "practice makes perfect," and that is precisely what is needed in this situation. I recommend recording yourself to see, hear, and feel how you tell a story – in the industry, we call this our Story Beats. The beats are building the structure of the story spine. I would also encourage you to practice and present to various people, like your loved ones, a colleague, and even your dentist, to see if you can grab their attention. This exercise allows you to be yourself and be a guide to your story by being vulnerable to your audience, which creates empathy and authenticity

  • Don't be clever.

  • Be vulnerable and honest.

  • Let your audience feel it.

  • Use images to guide values.

  • Actions speak louder than words.

Finally, consider these tips.

During your presentation, try to add and pay attention to the following

• Bring a character or story to life by acting out an accent.

• Gestures and hand movements

• Pacing out your delivery, tone, and timbre

• Put your story in the present tense

  • Don't – I was at the zoo, and I looked at this tiger…

  • Do – I see the tiger, and I start running…

• Exaggerate to make a point or a punch line

  • I was hoping to see the show, but as I stood in the line, one hour passed, then two, and finally, after 620 hours, I moved one inch. Luckily, I brought my moon boots and comfortably worked from my secured device.

  • A presentation that exemplifies the tactic:


• Make local references/elements

• Takeaway or a Callback – circle back to take away or provide a payoff for the journey/story experienced.

I leave you with this last video which provides a great example of how to include all these elements of being informative, entertaining, valid, dependable, transparent, valuable, and trustworthy from start to finish. Andrew Stanton incorporates his demo on Storytelling throughout the presentation and intertwines his personal experiences with jokes, and he builds anticipation with a variety of content. Watch this TED talk; you might take away a tactic and create your own secret sauce because the best stories infuse wonder. Use what you know, draw from it, express values you personally feel deep down in your core.

All you need is Story - Demo Warrior

Demo Warrior is a program that takes the approach of an American Idol-style production providing competition and breakthrough thinking. After participation in this program, you will have a use case for our products, storytelling techniques, and skills in your story arsenal to win your next sale.

Like Matthew Luhn, Kendra Hall, and my mentor Miri Rodriguez says, be authentic and connect with audiences. The following points below will help you start a compelling story and incorporate it into your presentation. All it takes is a good story.

  1. A story makes you a human instead of an expert.

Some audiences welcome speakers with open arms. Others are more challenging to win over.

Sometimes it’s the nature of the event–a pitch or a sales presentation in which puts an automatic divide between the speaker and the audience. Sometimes it’s the nature of the people in the room–they are experts and are skeptical about listening to other so-called experts.

The sooner you can transition from “expert in the front of the room” to “person just like you,” the smoother the entire experience will be.

A story is the fastest way to make that transition happen.

  1. A story will calm your nerves.

If you have butterflies in your stomach every time, you get up to present, congratulations. You’re normal.

Public speaking triggers the ancient, self-preservation fight-or-flight response. Starting with a story can cut the nerves off at the source by answering the only question a speaker’s lizard brain cares about:

Do they like me?

Tell them a story, and the answer will be yes. Remember, humans like stories. We respond to them. Starting a presentation with a story gives the audience something they want.

Within 30 seconds of taking the stage, the audience will visibly engage: nodding, laughing, and even closing their laptops. All of these signals soothe your reptilian brain and ease your nerves so you can get on with delivering the best speech they’ve ever heard.

  1. A story is easy

Storytelling is a skill and, like anything worth doing, requires effort to master. However, much like Dorothy realizing everything she desired was already within her, your stories are just a heel-click away.

When preparing for your following speech, think back on life experiences that illustrate the message you want to deliver. You’ve already lived these stories. All you have to do now is tell them.

Thanks for reading. Contact me if you would like to brainstorm, Christian Pareja.

The Stories from behind the Camera

A passion of mine is storytelling. We achieve this by using a camera, writing an excerpt, developing animation, or even through sound. Well, that is how I can create a story, and you might as well, but how do you tell a story through sound, you ask? Well, a quick view through this TED talk can explain the fundamentals of how and why it is crucial.

Now, as Julian Treasure states, sounds affect your physiological, psychological, and cognitive state. My favorite part. Sonics and frequencies are what I enjoy applying to motion pictures. These elements are what enhance the experience of a story. Consider this: the oscillating waves composed in any duration of time can make an uneasy and nervous feeling at any frequency. Even more, watch this video that explains more.

Awesome, right, and now if you think about sound effects. This next component makes everything on the screen come to life.

Well, this is how I started my career. Graduating with a Dual Bachelors Degree in Media Productions from London, England. My experiences lead me to film production, sound engineering, creative structuring, and team collaboration. Have you ever seen or focused your attention on the credits, "end roller," of a movie or TV production? Every one of those people made the program you just experienced possible. Each with expertise in their own right. As Mark Cersosimo, Freelancer filmmaker, puts it:

A motion picture takes a village. But, it is possible to impact the story if you include the correct elements. As an avid sound producer, the skills I have built and explored helped me distinguish a structure towards creation. The one thing that I did notice was every story has a frequency of events that describe the goal or a key message. Takke a look at Kurt Vonnegut's Pinterest graphic, and here he shapes out stories in a fundamental way that reveal the foundations of a story. If we think of these themes Kurt states, we can use them as a guide. Then, as a result, a story can resonate with the intended audience to make an impact or, technically, what we all are looking for, a CTA; call to action.

The Shapes of Stories by Kurt Vonnegut

Did Kurt's infographic give you any ideas? It sure did for me, and the more I interacted with story creation, the more I started relating things with my passion for sound. I realized everything is related to waves. The frequency of how often things are observed or heard. Once I understood this concept, this blew my mind into the cosmos. A human can only hear in the frequency spectrum of 20 Hz – 20kHz and see a fraction of the electromagnetic spectrum to give you some statistics. I translate this as more to experience and an endless amount of stories to create.

Light in the Universe by

That's interesting. So join me on this journey and comment on what you would like to explore. In these following blogs, I will be touching upon narratives, storytelling technologies, and the types of media we can use to tell our ultimate story. I was hoping you could send us an email or contact me directly Hope to hear or read from you soon. Thanks for reading.

Train Your Voice

Train Your Voice

Have you ever wondered how the radio personalities sound and articulate each word clearly?

Voice projection is the strength of speaking or singing whereby the voice is used loudly and clearly. It is a technique employed to command respect and attention, as when a teacher talks to a class, or simply to be heard clearly, as used by an actor in a theatre.”


I had the opportunity to present a storytelling workshop. Unfortunately, I stuttered, my voice cracked, and I talked too fast as I was practicing. These repeated outcomes made me get frustrated with myself and nicely stressed. I started forgetting things, and the day was approaching fast. Days before the presentation, I listened to NPR on my way into the office and figured, hey, these talented people on the radio must know the tricks to present. They are showing and reading content all day. This notion caused me a flashback to remember when I took a singing class elective while attending USF.

I know we are correlate singing to presenting, but the exercises and techniques are the same. Follow these vocal exercises presented in the video below, and I guarantee you will notice the difference.

The reasons why you should train your voice are:

  • Builds Self-Esteem

  • Learn to Focus

  • Increase Brain Function

  • Build Character

  • Increase Listening Skills

  • Improve Speaking and Communication

  • Develop Presentation and Leadership Skills

The list above is what I felt I improved on the most from training my voice. I became more aware and delivered a workshop that resonated with people. Please email me if you would like to go through any coaching around developing stories or even your voice.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to reach out to discuss any ideas or topics.