The Mediaweek Academy held its seventh session at News Corp’s office in Surry Hills on Wednesday, August 30.
Attendees returned to the session focused on Storytelling and Presenting, led by facilitator Rowena Millward, a global leader in business and personal growth.
See also: Mediaweek Academy Legend Rose Herceg shares her simple solution to presenting well
See also: Initiative managing director Sam Geer reveals the key to successful storytelling ahead of the Mediaweek Academy
The session focussed on storytelling and presenting skills with both Legend and Superstar, giving effective tips on how to tell an effective story and informing how most people remember a great story, not a presentation.
Herceg used her own storytelling skills to inform attendees that great storytellers keep you in the palm of their hand. She also said that human fragility connects people and at the end of the day, being real works wonders when telling a story.
Herceg shared that she hoped attendees took away the importance of honing their style of presenting and being proud of the fact that they are part of an industry that has the best storytellers in the world.
While being a legend of the industry, Herceg called Geer’s note on being brave as a particular highlight. “Belief is absolutely the first and foremost before being a confident presenter. And have some fun with it,” she said.
Looking to the future of the industry and the questions from the attendees, she said: “The future has never looked brighter, the best user ahead of us. What I’d love to say many great questions we got which tells me that people were really listening.
“They’ll hopefully take some of the lessons and apply it to the day-to-day life and business,” she added.
Geer expanded on the idea of creating a scenario and having technique in your storytelling during the discussion. He said: “You can write the script, but audiences aren’t buying a script. Delivering the script perfectly is not a good way to tell the story.”
Elsewhere in the session, Geer shared many pearls of wisdom to the attendees, among them being: “Storytellers have to have stories,” and “Your voice is your weapon, and it’s important how you wield that weapon in your storytelling.”
The entire conversation had many takeaways, but for Geer, his highlights were the importance of preparation, narrative arc, and “how, despite the fact we’ve been conditioned to think in media that we’re not good storytellers, we are.”
“I think we need to start holding ourselves to a higher standard and have the courage of our own convictions. We’re great at coming up with ideas were great at telling extremely complex stories and making them simple,” he said.
“I think the more and more that we can do that and champion that in our industry, the happier we are going to be,” he added.
Geer noted that aside from learning Herceg was previously a professional dancer before her media career, much like himself, he appreciated her wisdom around the importance of asking for respect in a presentation.
“If you’re presenting and telling a story and your audience isn’t paying attention, it is okay to call them out. It’s okay to stop, pause and say, ‘Do you have something more important? We’re happy to wait,” he recalled.
“I think hearing from someone as powerful and senior as Rose and encouraging young people to do that when they’re being disrespected is really important.”
Geer also highlighted Herceg’s point on clarity and simplicity. “Her stories around articulating at the moment very, very succinct stories, I think, can never be overestimated.”
Nick Smith, creative strategist from Paramount AU/NZ said that today’s session made him realise the true importance of storytelling and how it weaves into his day-to-day work with brand integration.
“I want to start taking the challenge instead of just presenting the stats – actually creating a story and making it engaging and just changing the boring parts that no one listens to into something more engaging,” he said.
Julia Gapon, a marketing communications executive from Nine said that she gathered a lot of storytelling insight from today’s session that she plans to implement into her own work.
“One of the main things I learnt from the Q&A session was the idea of cutting out the unnecessary when it comes to speaking or telling a story in meetings, pitches etc and sharing more of my personal life in work life to create connections and better my storytelling abilities,” she said.
First-time Mediaweek Academy facilitator Rowena Millward said she was very pleased with the turnout of the event from young professionals and the wisdom and experience shared by Herceg and Geer from their respective careers.
“They’re two of the icons of the industry, and I hope that people took away that they can all be great storytellers.
“We all have great stories within us, we just have to find the courage and the conviction to be able to tell them to solve problems,” she added.
While both Herceg and Geer shared insightful industry and career anecdotes, for Millward the highlight was thinking about how to tell stories across people.
“Sam made a great point about doing a pitch, you may only be presenting a piece, but how do you ensure that your piece makes sense of all the other pieces. I think that’s really important because the story is coming from all of you, not just one person,” she said.
With her first Academy under her belt, Millward said she was pleased to see incredible and diverse talent making their way up in the industry.
“I think we’re at a unique time in history where diversity is valued, and people feel that they can bring their own stories to life and communicate and connect with people through who they are and what’s important to say about the business.
“I think that message came through really loud and clear from Rose as well when she talked about being human, being kind, being honest, and being real in relationships with people,” Millward said.
Top image: Trent Thomas, Sam Geer, Rose Herceg and Rowena Millward