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What Is This?

This is a modification of Dia Bondi's StoryCraft, tailored for the Tech Speakers program to enable both group and self-directed programs of technical speaking improvement.

The program...

  • Consists of a worksheet and a series of self-recording sessions
  • Is designed to allow participants to strengthen each other
  • Is designed to be repeated to improve skill, regardless of level of competency


Part I: Content Development

The content development segment uses a worksheet called the ThoughtBox. The ThoughtBox is a tool to help you organize your thoughts while developing your presentation materials, in order to maximize the effectiveness of the content.

The ThoughtBox worksheet is here.

To design your talk, fill out the worksheet following these steps:

  • Pick your TOPIC. This will be the title of your presentation.
  • Who is your AUDIENCE? Do they have a decision to make? How will you influence them?
  • Determine the ACTION you want your audience to take.
  • What big-picture QUESTIONS do you think your audience will have? Make sure your presentation answers them.
    • Draw lines from the questions to the modules that answer them.
  • Identify RESISTANCE. What will stop your audience from taking the ACTION?
    • Draw lines to the modules which acknowledge and address the resistance.
    • For example, you might say something like: “You might think you can’t because ____, but that’s not true and here’s why…"
  • What is your audience’s MOTIVATION - what will get them to take the ACTION?
  • Fill the boxes up with the sub topics in your talk
    • Give each box a TITLE and details and data
    • Make sure to answer the QUESTIONS, address the RESISTANCE and stoke their MOTIVATION.
  • Create a BOTTOM LINE message for each box, representing the most important idea.
  • Organize, order and number your boxes for appropriate flow and continuity.
  • Fill out the agenda based on your box order, with the TITLE from each box.
  • Create a summary from the BOTTOM LINE from each of your boxes.

Part II: Speaker Practice

  • Step 1: Record Yourself
    • In this section, record 3-5 minutes of yourself presenting. Perhaps 1 or 2 of your modules from your ThoughtBox. Get feedback from your co-partipants or your peer group on:
      • 1. What's working about what I'm doing?
      • 2. What would you like to see more of?
  • Step 2: Re-record Yourself!
    • In light of feedback, re-record and resubmit to same peers with the following question:
      • 1. Was that better: Yes or No (no comments please)
  • Step 3: Repeat until satisfied with the results :)

Facilitator Guide

Feedback Guidelines

Video Recordings

  • Initial recording -- do it in the meeting.
  • Do it now - one take only.
  • Not about your performance, just making this a habit!


  • Give the listeners a loose suggestion to focus on one aspect of the speaker
  • Try to aim attention / "listen for..."
    • Aim audience and presenter both in same direction
    • Example: pay attn to first 25 words.

How to Measure Success

  • Participants
    • YOU FEEL IT!
    • Setting individual goals at the 2nd session -- and how did it change over the course of the program?
  • Program
    • The course evaluation
    • Attrition rate
  • Eval questions
    • How did the wiki serve you - what would you change?
    • Have attendees evaluate their own 1st and last recording. Ask for testimonials.

Participation Reinforcement

  • Each week identify homework, and define what to show up with for next meeting

Handling Resistance

  • Make clear that the program is not dogma. This is a framework for enabling program goals, tweak it as needed
  • Give participants a job
  • Give participants mentorship roles
  • Create experts

Program Materials

  • See if someone wants to re-record Dia's videos with a tech angle
  • Create a facilitator manual - put it in the wiki, to set expectations up front (THIS PAGE!)
  • Clarify which parts are self-guided vs facilitated
  • Tone - The material should have a voice
    • Ideally, the voice of someone who went through the program