Storytelling Tips Part 3: Amanda Palmer

In Amanda Palmer’s beautifully crafted TED talk, ‘The Art of Asking’ she uses multiple storytelling techniques to connect to us, her audience.

1) She uses props brilliantly. Yes, props can help to make a talk more memorable, but sometimes in a gimmicky way that actually distracts from the core meaning of the talk. Not so in this case. She uses them to create a whole image at the beginning, which is compelling. She then returns to elements throughout, weaving them through the talk: how she sourced the very box she has been standing on; her final gesture with the flower at the end.

2) The photographs in her slides add to the storytelling. They fill out the images in our minds of the moments that she is describing – with real people, real fans. Again, nothing is extraneous. It is carefully layered to develop her points – for example the visual illustration of the similarities between couch surfing and crowd surfing.

3) All of the storytelling is underpinned by a single and strong theme, ‘The Art of Asking’. This gives a coherence to every example – from the days of being a living statue, through her changing career in the music industry, to this very talk. They help us visualise and understand and feel this journey.