Episode 66 | May 30, 2017

Powerful Presentations & Storytelling with Louis DiBianco

A Personal Note from Orion

Sometimes, it’s not about what you say, but how you say it. This is especially important when you are up on stage giving a speech or a presentation. You may not realize it, but your stage presence, how you deliver the message, and the amount of heart you put into it, really makes a difference on whether you will engage your audience and motivate them to take action.

Louis Di Bianco is a brilliant master at helping others deliver powerful presentations. His acting background has enabled him to really help others craft compelling stories, and cultivate them from the heart. If you want to be memorable on stage, you have to tune in to see how you can start inspiring audiences and leave them thinking about your speech long after it’s over.



In this Episode

  • [03:27] – We start things off by learning a little bit about Louis, what he does, and how he got started in storytelling as a child. He then shares his roundabout life story, which includes ending up studying the unlikely field of accounting.
  • [08:26] – Louis actually enjoyed the study of accounting, he reveals, but knew it wasn’t his lifelong career. He then shares more of his story, describing his change of major to English literature and how he eventually used his acting skills to teach business-people.
  • [12:28] – How did Louis translate his skills on stage to the business world, and what are some of the most important things that he taught these people to do?
  • [13:56] – Louis offers one tip that will immediately help listeners become better presenters, involving an “in late, out early” approach to speeches and presentations.
  • [20:27] – We learn another possible way to compellingly open a speech: starting with a question. He offers a few examples in response to topics Orion suggests, and then offers an example of using a prop instead of a question.
  • [24:05] – How does Louis come up with these brilliant openers? In response, he demystifies the idea of brilliance, explaining that “everyone is brilliant.”
  • [27:28] – Louis describes what he believes is one of the most important keys to powerful communication: using all five of your senses.
  • [30:08] – Louis gives us a rule that he offers people from his acting experience: “show, don’t tell.” He elaborates on what he means by this, tying it into his previous point of addressing all five senses.
  • [31:30] – We learn more about how Louis’ stage acting experience contributes to his storytelling, from his perspective. He and Orion then talk about the importance of body language.
  • [35:48] – Does Louis memorize a script for his presentation, or have general cues and then go with the flow from there?
  • [38:16] – Louis discusses ways to remember the bulletpoints. He and Orion then discuss the potential issues with PowerPoint. Louis then talks about a complete template for doing a powerful presentation every time, which he calls the “Frankenstein template.”
  • [40:11] – Louis and Orion discuss Frankenstein. Louis then shares how the Frankenstein concept relates to creating a compelling presentation.
  • [44:37] – We learn what Louis means by the “message” in the presentation: it’s the one thing that your entire presentation is about, that you want people to remember even if they forget everything else.
  • [45:46]- Louis goes through the different parts of a presentation, linking each of these to body parts to continue his Frankenstein analogy. He gives a specific example of a presentation and how he would apply these concepts.
  • [51:13] – Orion steps in for a moment to discuss the importance of bringing things home for people in a powerful way. Louis elaborates this, offering specific examples again.
  • [53:51] – What does Louis do throughout the presentation for persuasion to plant seeds for the final call to action?
  • [55:09] – What are Louis’ three tips to living a stellar life? 1. The moment you open your eyes in the morning, turn your mind to gratitude. 2. Don’t begin your day until you know how it’s going to end. 3. Don’t blame, don’t complain, and don’t explain.
  • [58:35] – Louis talks about where listeners can find him: his podcast Change Your Story, Change Your Life (where Orion is featured on an episode!). You can also find this podcast on iTunes. He mentions his book Persuasion Genie, and offers a free copy to the first 10 Stellar Life listeners who reach out to him at lousclub@nullgmail.com. Anyone after those 10 will receive the Frankenstein template in a PDF format along with an ebook on the secrets of powerful storytelling.

About Today’s Show

‏‏Hello and welcome to Stellar Life Podcast. I’m your host, Orion. My guest today is very special. His name is Louis Di Bianco. He’s a professional storyteller who specializes in helping people become clear, confident, powerful communicators and overall superstars when they go on stage, and present on stage, and tell their story in a way that is really engaging and breathtaking. He teaches them how to present, persuade, and profit. He developed his compelling communication skills through his work as a screen and stage actor, a teacher and business presentation coach. As an actor, Louis has performed in theatres, internationally, on TV, and the big screen. He was featured on TV and in featured film and worked with famous actors like Christian Slater, Olympia Dukakis, Cher, and many, many more. He has a podcast called Change Your Story, Change Your Life. I was a guest on his podcast. I was so impressed with him because we had a conversation at the end of the podcast and I was thinking to myself, “This man is brilliant.” I want to learn everything that he offers, everything that he teaches because he’s so good in engaging, he’s so good in story-telling and really capturing the essence of the story on stage. I will let you enjoy his brilliant presentation, teachings, and his brilliant storytelling, onto the show. Hello, Louis and welcome to Stellar Life Podcast. How are you doing today?

‏‏I am just feeling wonderful. Thank you very much for inviting me to your show.

‏‏Thank you. I’m really excited to be talking to you because you have a special skill that I think everybody will enjoy. Before we dive in, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself?

‏‏That’s broad. What do you want to know about myself?

‏‏Everything. Why don’t you share a little bit about what you do and how did you start doing what you’re doing, what your passion is, and why we should have the conversation that we are going to have today.

‏‏I am a professional storyteller. That started when I was a little kid. I was always engaged in entertaining my parent’s guests at home. I remember as a little kid ducking into the closet with my parents and people over and I would get dressed up in adult clothing and then come out and perform a character for them and entertain them. But the real education and storytelling came when I was living in The Bronx as a teenager and I literally developed my ability to tell stories in order to stay alive because I was growing up in a neighborhood that was pretty tough. There were a lot of gangs at the time. There was a lot of violence. I looked like one of the tough kids on the outside but I wasn’t on the inside. On the inside, I was a guy who loved to read. I loved the world of my imagination and I used to enjoy school. That didn’t fly too well on the streets of The Bronx. Whenever I used to walk to school, I had to actually go through an area where I would run into a lot of the real tough guys and it was scary because I could easily have gotten myself beaten up, intimidated, bullied. What I discovered very early on was that by engaging these guys in conversations where I would entertain them, make them laugh by telling them stories, and appealing to their egos and making them feel good about themselves, they accepted me and liked me and wouldn’t bother me at all. As a matter of fact, I felt pretty safe around them. I was able to navigate their world without becoming part of their world. I also discovered in school that one of my favorite subjects was English Literature. Why? Because I could dive into the world of fiction and live on a much larger plane if you like, I liked living in that dramatic world of literary characters and adventurous stories. When I got out of school, I didn’t know what I was going to do. I was restless. I didn’t want to go to university because I really needed a break from the academic world. My parents were shocked. They thought I was going to become a bum. “What is this guy going to do?” I started hanging around pool halls, wandering around, just trying to deal with my restlessness. Eventually, I got a job selling door to door magazine subscriptions. You want to talk about having to master the art of storytelling. That was a fabulous training ground. I did it for a while, became restless with that, and tried a number of other jobs and basically I didn’t like working in any kind of structure. Finally, I was ready to go back to school but I still didn’t know what I wanted to study. Believe it or not, I ended up in an Accounting program which if you know me, it makes about as much sense as becoming an axe murderer.

‏‏We do that sometimes, especially young people where we settle for less just because it looks like the most logical thing to do.

‏‏Yeah, it’s true. Actually, you know what? I enjoyed the study of accounting but I knew that I was never going to do this on a [9:00]AM to [5:00]PM basis for the rest of my life. But it was in that program that I had an English teacher who changed the course of my life because he made creative writing and the world of literature so exciting for me that I decided that’s what I’m going to major in. I’m going to major in English Literature and I did. Eventually, I transferred my major from Accounting to English Literature. It was during that time that I discovered dramatic literature which I was absolutely passionate about. I began to read, take courses in all kinds of drama: Renaissance drama, Shakespearean drama, Modern drama. Eventually, it wasn’t enough to just read about plays, I wanted to live them. I enrolled in a professional acting studio and that was it. I was gone. I knew that was the direction I was going to follow. To cut the long story short, I eventually became a professional actor and started on stage then went to television and then to film and became pretty good at it. It sustained me for most of my adult life. It was more than 20 years ago when I was teaching people how to act that one of my students was a businessman and he said to me, “You know what? What you’re teaching us, business people could use.” I thought about it and I said, “You know, he’s right.” They could learn what it means to have presence, how to communicate so that people pay attention to you, how to move people with the things that you say. I created a course teaching business people presentation skills using all of the principles of dramatic communications and it was a big hit. All of the business people I worked with became really strong communicators. They found that when they adopted this way of communicating that they started making more money, that people paid more attention to them, they, as communicators, gained more influence. The rest is history. I’ve been doing that kind of thing for many years and I even took it into the realm of network marketing which I’ve been successful at because the heart of network marketing is the ability to tell an authentic story.

‏‏That’s so powerful. I’m just curious, how did you translate your skills on stage into the business world and what were some of the most important things that you taught these people to do that they didn’t know?

‏‏Let’s talk about presence, for instance. A lot of people believe that you’re either born with presence or you’re out of luck and it’s not true. Once we demystify it, you can learn it and it’s very simple, basically. If you can learn to be still, to say less rather than more, and simply to control the movements of your body when you’re on stage so that you’re not wandering all over the stage, that your arms and legs are not moving in all different directions like you’re some silly puppet on a string, and to simply stand tall with your arms relaxed at your side, your head held high, you will immediately begin to attract people toward you. That’s one of the characteristics of developing presence. The other is actually learning what to say and what not to say when a person is doing a presentation. Let me give you a very direct, specific example from the world of screenwriting and the way stories are told in the movies. If your listeners just learn this one thing and begin to adopt it, they will immediately start to become better presenters. How do most people open their presentations? The majority of them will get up. They will smile. They will tell the audience their names. Let’s say I’m doing a presentation and I’m doing an average run-of-the-mill one. I might get up and say, “Hello, my name is Louis Di Bianco. I want to thank you so much for being here today, etc., etc.” That is not the way to open. First of all, if I’m in a presentation setting, I’ve already been introduced, they know my name. The other thing is my name means nothing to these people until they know what I can offer them, what is the topic that I’m talking about today and how does it address some problem they’re trying to solve or fulfill some need that they really, really want to have fulfilled. Let’s use the example for movies. When you go to the movie theatre, let’s say you go there on a day when you’ve had a lot of lousy stuff happening during your day. You had a bad day at work, maybe your car broke down, maybe you had a disagreement with your employer or even a fight with your significant other, your mind is preoccupied. If a film is doing its job, the moment the first image comes on that screen, you will be transported into the world of that movie and you will forget for the next two hours what you were worried about before. It’s because of techniques, how to open a presentation? I’m going to give people a phrase and I want them to really think about what this means. This is from screenwriting. The phrase is, “If you want to write a great scene, you should come in late and get out early.” The phrase is very simply in late, out early. What does that mean? It means that we throw the audience into the middle of a conflict that’s already happening. Therefore, their curiosity is aroused immediately. They have to pay attention. They’re watching, let’s say, two people having some kind of intense argument and they’re not really sure what the argument is about so they start trying to find out. As it develops, the tension melts and they begin to understand, “Oh that’s what it’s about.” Then they’re really hooked. Just before the conflict is resolved, the scene ends and we cut to a totally different scene. We’re going to come back to that argument later on in the film but we’re not going to resolve it now. We came in late and we got out early. What does that have to do with presentation? In presentation, I can open a presentation with a story and instead of giving the audience a long, detailed back story by saying, “Today, I’m going to…” I’m going to give you an example, when I talked to you the other day I used this example, let’s say we’re talking about the importance of learning some basic self defense just for your everyday life so that when you’re walking on the street, if you’re suddenly threatened by somebody who wants to do you harm, you can protect yourself. The boring way to begin that would be to say, “My name is Louis Di Bianco. Thank you for being here. Today, we’re going to learn about what you should do if blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah..” It’s not bad but it doesn’t grab me.

A lot of people believe that you’re either born with presence or you’re out of luck and it’s not true. Click To Tweet

‏‏It’s not enticing.

‏‏It’s not enticing. But, imagine that I walk onto the stage. I just look quietly at my audience. I don’t say a word right away. Calmly take my place on the stage and I center my body. I scan the audience with a look and the first words out of my mouth would be, “On June 2, 2016, I knew in my gut that I shouldn’t walk down that alley at [11:00]PM at night, but I did it anyway.”

‏‏That’s so powerful.

‏‏I pause there because immediately, the thought comes up, “What happened in that alley at [11:00]PM? Why did your gut tell you not to go down there?” I’ve got to deliver on that promise so I can’t just use that as a hook and then abandon it because if I do, I’m cheating the audience but hopefully I can continue the story and it would have something to do with the fact that as I got down to the end of the alley, two men suddenly turned the corner and they drew guns on me. I’m just making this up right now but this would be an example because if I did that and the talk was about self defense, I guarantee you, you wouldn’t hear a sound in that audience. They’d all be paying attention. Another way to open is with a question that is relevant again to the topic at hand. Throw me a topic.

‏‏Awakening your inner Goddess.

‏‏Awakening your inner Goddess, okay, great. If I was an expert on that, which I’m not, let’s say I’m opening a presentation with that and I say, “What do you do when the man you love suddenly turns on you with insults and even raise his hand to you?”

‏‏Oh, wow.

‏‏Got your attention?


‏‏Exactly, throw me another topic.

‏‏Finding love. This is all my topics, finding love.

‏‏Finding love, okay.

‏‏Or attracting love.

‏‏Have you ever felt really, really stupid because you answered someone’s ad in a dating site and when you met them you just wanted to run?

‏‏That’s so cool.

‏‏That’s what I mean. I only used two examples. I’m going to give you a very specific example. I recently coached a woman who was giving a talk on weight loss to a group of people. She was addressing the fact that many, many diets just don’t work. I suggested that she opened her presentation with a prop. Here’s what she did. She walked onto the stage and didn’t tell her name. She smiled and she took out a yoyo and she held it in front of the audience, slowly moved it from side to side and said, “What is this?” People of course said, “It’s a yoyo.” She said, “Right.” She took it and she began to play with it, dropping it down on the string and she said, “Isn’t this fun?” They go, “Yeah.” She said, “Yup, it’s a lot of fun unless you’re the person on the end of that string trapped.”

‏‏Oh my God. Sorry, let me just be like a moment of what? This is amazing, wow.

‏‏I spoke to her today. You know what she told me?

‏‏No, I don’t.

‏‏She’s been getting feedback from people and a couple of people said, “I want to thank you so much because that presentation you gave was transformational.” Two people told her that they have already lost between 5 and 10 pounds based on a talk.

‏‏How do you come up with these brilliant ideas?

‏‏I want to demystify this whole concept of being brilliant. Everyone is brilliant. If you follow rules, for instance, we’re going to assume if you’re going to do a presentation that you know your subject matter. I’m also going to assume that you care about your subject matter. Hopefully you’re passionate about it. That’s the beginning. That’s the raw material for your creativity. The rest is if you study how to do a presentation and let’s say you have a sheet of paper in front of you that tells you, “How do I open a presentation effectively?” You have tell a story, open with a dramatic statement, use a prop, open with a strong question. Now, you have guidelines. Pick one of them. Ask yourself the question and you will come up with something. That’s it.

You have tell a story, open with a dramatic statement, use a prop, open with a strong question.

‏‏Yeah, you’ll simplify it and you are denying your brilliance.

‏‏No, no, no, no, I am not.

‏‏Because you are, something like that is really powerful.

‏‏I want to thank you. I want to say something, I receive what you’re saying, by that I mean I acknowledge my brilliance. I know that I’m brilliant. I do. The thing is, if anybody feels, “Oh, that’s arrogant.” I want you to do a reality check and explore this question, why does it make you uncomfortable to say that about yourself? You should be saying it about yourself. If you can’t back it up, that’s a whole other story. Then maybe you’re just a jerk. Everyone should acknowledge the potential and the gifts that they’ve got. For me this is play. Being an actor, acting is playing and I take play very seriously. I’m in the world to play. I don’t mean that in a frivolous way. I don’t mean that I’m here to just waste time and instead of doing valuable work to sit around and play cards or go to a casino and play with slot machines, no. To play is to engage in activity on a grand scale so that it’s not only valuable and contributes but it’s a tremendous amount of fun. When you’re doing that, then work doesn’t feel like work anymore.

‏‏You are an incredible communicator. You are very clear in your messaging. Your intonation, the way you say what you say, it’s very beautiful, it’s very clear. What are the most important keys to powerful communication?

‏‏Very excellent question. One of the main things that I would say to people is write this one down, use your senses, all five of them. Here’s what I mean. Most people communicate in language that I would call head language. It’s conceptual. I’m going to give you a very specific example here again. I’m going to talk about weight loss. Let’s say I have a nutritional product that helps people to achieve rapid, safe, long term weight loss. I need a woman who has been struggling with her weight and she really, really now wants to lose weight because in a month her son’s getting married and she wants to look good on her son’s wedding day. I could say to her, “You should really take advantage of these products because they’re going to help you lose the 30 pounds that you want to lose and look and feel great at your son’s wedding.” There’s nothing wrong with that but you know what? It’s conceptual. Here’s the reason it’s not good enough. I’m letting her brain do the work and interpret what it means to look good, what it means to feel good. But let’s say I’ve been talking to her and she reveals certain things about it, her struggle, her unhappiness about her weight. Instead of talking about her weight loss, conceptually, I say this, “Orion, imagine how you’ll feel when you walk into your son’s wedding reception and people smile because you look 20 years younger in that sleek, black dress that right now only fits on your hanger.”

‏‏Just give me the product, okay?

‏‏“And how proud will you be when you see the tears of pride in your son’s eyes because his mother looks so beautiful.” Here’s a rule that I give to people. When you are presenting and you’re writing your ideas down for what you want to say, in acting, we have a very powerful expression, “Show, don’t tell.” When you’re using head language, you’re telling. When you’re using the language of the senses, you’re showing. You can begin by writing down the benefits of your product or service and allow yourself to write it down with conceptual head language first. But then when you see it on paper, now practice changing those sentences using the language of all five senses, make people see it, smell it, taste it, feel it, hear it. The more you do that, the more effective it’s going to be.

‏‏Wow, yeah, that was so powerful.

‏‏Thank you.

‏‏It’s obvious but what is your insight about how being a stage actor contributes to your story-telling?

‏‏That’s actually a great question. I don’t know if it’s as obvious as it sounds. Sure, you’ve got to know how to speak lines that have been written for you in an authentic and compelling way but there’s much more to it than that. One of the first things that you need to learn when you’re acting on stage, you have to become very aware of how your body communicates. Every single movement that you make is telling a story, is sending a message to an audience. One of the things I began to learn as I was growing as an actor was that actors who know how to be still command much more attention on stage than actors who energetically always are moving everywhere, almost uncontrollably. Sometimes when people are moving around a lot, it may seem like they’re being energetic but often it’s because they’re nervous. A person who’s nervous when they’re presenting will tend to walk a lot on the stage and basically pace back and forth. Also, they won’t be controlling what their arms and hands are doing. Their hands, it’s almost as if somebody has strings on them and is manipulating them like they are some kind of giant puppet.

‏‏There is a disconnect between what they’re saying and what their body is saying.

‏‏Totally. When I teach presentation, one of the things that I make people aware of, I ask them this, “Is your body undermining your words? As a matter of fact, is your body telling lies?” A person who’s not confident could be saying things that the word themselves sound very convincing but the audience is not believing it because the person doesn’t fully believe it and their posture and their body language is actually sending a message that says, “I’m not quite comfortable with this, I really don’t quite believe what I’m saying.” The message that the people remember is the physical message, not the verbal one.

The message that the people remember is the physical message, not the verbal one. Click To Tweet

‏‏Because 93% of communication is nonverbal.

‏‏Exactly. I’ll give you another example. Let’s say you go up on stage and automatically, you just fold your arms in front of your chest. Picture that. In fact, can you do it? Do it right now.

‏‏I’m doing it.

‏‏I’m doing it too now and I’m talking. The speaker may not think anything of it but that is a very closed message. What it’s doing is pushing the audience away. It’s saying, “I’m not open to you.”

‏‏Yeah, I don’t like it. It doesn’t feel good. I have to release it.

‏‏When a person does that when they’re speaking, they’re going to find that the audience may not trust them because their body language is closed. It’s saying, “I’m not available to you.” It pushes people away. Ideally, you learn to keep your hands most of the time relaxed and at your side. I’m not saying that you always keep them there. You definitely should use gestures but you should use them consciously. You don’t use them randomly. If I have my arms at my side but I want to make a powerful gesture, I could slowly lift my right arm, put my finger out and point. That gesture has meaning. People are going to look to where I’m pointing because that’s what I want them to do.

‏‏Do you script your presentation or do you start with a general overview, remembering some cues but have it come more naturally and more in the flow?

‏‏That is another excellent question. The biggest mistake that people make, it’s the way to really make yourself nervous, is to write out every word of your presentation and memorize it.

‏‏Sounds painful.

‏‏You know why? Because chances are that in the moment when you’re moving around, somebody drops something in the audience and you hear a sound, it can throw you off, you may forget what you’re going to say and then you’ll get nervous. At the very worst, you may actually panic. What I do is I definitely know everything that I’m going to say but what I want is a bullet point list that’s like a roadmap that guides me through the presentation so that when I get to another important point, I have the bullet point there that tells me what I’m going to say but I have the confidence to know that I can say that in many, many different ways. Maybe I’ll do the presentation four times and I’ll say the same thing but not using the exact same words. The only time you got to use exact same words is if it’s a quotation or like before, when I said if I’m using an opening. Let’s say if I’m talking to somebody and specifically I’m going to say, “Mary, imagine what it’s like to walk in that sleek, black dress that right now only fits on a hanger.”

‏‏That’s so painful when you say that. I just gained six pounds because I broke my wrist and gained six pounds. I couldn’t exercise and I let myself go. Every time you say it, it’s like, “Oh, it’s painful.”

‏‏Oh my God, I’m sorry.

‏‏No worries. You said bullet points but if you don’t have the screen where you can read the bullet points, do you remember those bullet points? Do you have paper on the floor that you look at? Do you write it on the palm of your hand? How do you remember the bullet points?

‏‏There’s a couple of ways. In the beginning, you can have an index card or index cards in your hand as long as you’re not constantly reading from them. Every once in awhile, you can just glance at it and pick up a bullet point and then continue to look at the audience when you’re speaking. This brings us to a very important topic, PowerPoint. There’s a topic that has to be addressed and it’s called Death by PowerPoint.

‏‏Where people have everything written down on their PowerPoint. When I do my slides, I like to have one idea on each slide and no more than that because maybe if it’s one idea with three points in it, I’ll put it on the slide but don’t I like to overpopulate my PowerPoint because it can be overwhelming to the audience.

‏‏You’re absolutely right and you’re doing it the way it should be done. What you just described, those are bullet points. It’s like a roadmap because when the next slide comes up, you now know, “Oh, this is where I’m heading.” What if I give you and your audience a complete template for doing a powerful presentation every time, would that be good?

‏‏Yes, please.

‏‏I came up with this image. I call this the Frankenstein template.

‏‏You’re very dramatic. It’s so interesting because your words are so powerful and even just calling it whatever you call it already brings up an image in my mind, it makes me laugh, help me connect to my emotions, get me more engaged and makes me want it more before I even know what it is.

‏‏I’m going to ask you now, what image comes to mind when you hear the word Frankenstein?

‏‏Frankenstein, or a movie. It also makes me laugh because sometimes it’s like I’ll see a cartoon in my mind which happens a lot, by the way.

‏‏That’s wonderful. What do you see when you hear Frankenstein specifically?

‏‏I just see the character walking around with Frankenstein.

‏‏How did Frankenstein come to exist? In the story, how did Frankenstein come into being?

‏‏I don’t remember the story. That’s the problem. I just remember the character. I don’t remember the story Frankenstein.

‏‏Here’s the rule. Build your presentation as if you were creating a human body. A strong presentation is alive and the body image is easy to remember. In the story of Frankenstein, we have Doctor Frankenstein who is a brilliant doctor, who takes different parts from corpses, puts them together, and then with this electronic circuit that he hooks up basically to this cadaver, he charges energy and life into it and it comes to life and becomes the Frankenstein monster.

Build your presentation as if you were creating a human body. A strong presentation is alive and the body image is easy to remember.

‏‏I bet he smells really bad.

‏‏Well, Frankenstein works alone. You didn’t know that. Especially in the sequel Bride of Frankenstein, because in Bride of Frankenstein he had to attract so he wore really good cologne. Let me ask you this question. You’re going to create a presentation, where would you start? What’s the first thing that you would think of putting on paper?

‏‏I will gather all the pieces that I need.

‏‏But what would be the first part of it that you would write?

‏‏The intro?

‏‏Okay, good.

‏‏Maybe the hook, like, “Who here wants to feel more live?” Or using your technique, “Have you ever been in this situation where you felt like this?”

‏‏What you said makes sense but it’s not where you should begin. Here’s the reason I created this. I’m going to ask you another question. If you were a scientist like Doctor Frankenstein and you wanted to create a body that was going to come to life, what is the one essential body part or organ that you would have to have in order for this body to live?

‏‏When a baby is formed, the first part that is formed is the heart.

‏‏That’s it. You got it, the heart. Here’s what I want to tell people. The most important part of your presentation is the message and the message is the heart of your presentation. If you start with the introduction, you’re basically creating the head of the body before you have the rest of the body. What I say to people is if you’re using the Frankenstein model, you’ve got a strong opening but it’s like Doctor Frankenstein running around with a head, where is he going to put it? He doesn’t have a body to put it on. It won’t come alive and actually speak unless you have the heart first.

‏‏When I think about the heart, I also think about the heart of the presentation as in comparison to the story of Frankenstein, I will think about what is the heart is what brings it to life, what is the life force of the message.

‏‏Exactly. People should be asking themselves, what does he mean by message? The message is the one thing, I’m going to say that again, one thing that your entire presentation is about. It is the one thing that you want people to remember long after they’ve left the presentation even if they forget all the other words that you’ve spoken. The problem with many presentations is either the person has never defined the message, so the audience leaves and they don’t even know what the message is, or the person who created the presentation is so excited in trying to say so many things without realizing that they’ve put two or three messages in there and the two or three messages are cancelling each other out, or they put their message, they buried it somewhere toward the end of their presentation. When you follow the Frankenstein model, you will always put it in the right place. I’m going to go through the different parts of the presentation. There’s the opening, the message, the framework, the content, the transitions, and the closing. I’m going to use body parts. The opening is the head, the message is the heart, the framework is the skeleton, the content are the muscles and organs, the transitions are the connective tissue, and the closing, the legs. If you begin with your message first, let me use an example again, we talked about weight loss. There are so many things I can say about weight loss but let’s say I’ve chosen that the topic of this particular presentation is, “It’s impossible to lose weight long term in the 21st century because of our toxic environment.” That’s going to be my message. If that’s my message, everything that I talk about has to relate in some way, shape, or form to that statement. It has to support it, it has to develop it, it has to drive it home, and then it has to bring everything to a very convincing conclusion that makes people agree, “I got it. If I really want to lose weight, I shouldn’t be counting calories. I should be addressing the toxins in my body.” I have my message. I’ve got the heart. Here’s how I would build my presentation. Remember, I’m not going to begin with what I’m going to say first. I’m going to find that later. I’m going to begin with what is my message and I just articulated it. Now, I’ve got that. That’s the first thing I find. The second thing I’m going to find is my framework. Let me describe the framework or skeleton. Let’s use the body as an example. If the framework is the skeleton, then everything in the body lives inside of that skeleton. The way to deliver a presentation, you have to have your message. You’re going to break up your presentation into three significant ideas. Why three? Because three is a magic number that people easily remember. To deliver this message about toxins and how they interfere with losing weight, I’m going to have three different sub sections or sub topics. I like to say to my audience, “Today, you’re going to learn how everything that you eat, the air that you breathe, and the water you drink is full of poison. You’re going to learn why nutritional cleansing in this day and age is not optional. It’s a must if you want to have good health and have an ideal body weight. Then, you’re going to learn what the ideal nutrition is to put in your body after you’ve cleansed the toxins.” Those are the three areas of my content. The framework is what I just described to you. It’s basically telling the audience, “This is what you’re going to get.” Why do I do that? Because by doing that, I’ve given them something to expect and I’ve told them what to focus on. Now they know, “Ah, that’s what I’m going to receive from this.” They’re going to be ready and receptive to what you’re going to deliver. The framework basically contains the three chunks of content that you’re going to deliver. I’m actually going to change something here, I would begin by finding my message, then I would create the content which is, what are the three chunks of information that are going to deliver my message? Then I would create the framework that’s going to hold those pieces of content in place. Next are the transitions. I call the transitions the connective tissue. When I get to the end of one topic, one chunk, after I’ve talked about all of the toxins in the environment, I could make a transitional sentence. Simple like this, “Now you know that there isn’t a thing that you take into your body that isn’t in some way very toxic.”

‏‏It’s really important to conclude it, to bring it home for people. Sometimes, people won’t even hear the whole thing but they will hear this last sentence and it will make sense to them because a lot of time when people listen to the information, they don’t really listen to the information, they listen to the conversation in their head. Sometimes, it’s even good to repeat that conclusion once or twice and maybe summarize at the end just so it will bring it home for people.

‏‏Exactly. Once I’ve made that statement that we agree that you can’t open your mouth without taking in toxins, then I could say, “Okay, what is the most effective way to protect your body from toxins?” Now, I’ve made the transition to the importance of nutritional cleansing. When I get to the end of the section on nutritional cleansing, I’m going to say something like, “Now that you removed the bad stuff, what kind of good stuff should you be putting in to build your body so that it’s strong and your immune system is strong?” I’ll begin to focus on the nutrition which is the third chunk of content. After I’ve completed all three, I need the legs for this body to stand on. I need some concluding statement that summarizes everything we’ve learned. I would make it more interesting than this but basically saying, “Today, you’ve learned that you can’t open your mouth without taking toxins, that it’s absolutely imperative that you use some form of nutritional cleansing and that then you flag your body with the highest quality protein on the planet.” Now, I’ve closed and of course if it’s a sales presentation, I would not give them a call to action by giving them a solution that’s going to provide all of the things that we agreed on that they need.

‏‏What do you do throughout the presentation for persuasion? Because it’s really important if you have a call to action at the end, it’s really important to seed what you do throughout the presentation so it doesn’t come as a surprise. How do you seed it? Seed what you do or get them to feel more prepared to engage with you and your offer?

‏‏You’re actually closing the audience. Let’s talk sales language. You’re closing the sale from the moment you open your mouth at the beginning. If I present a vivid picture of the real dangers of toxicity and they’re agreeing with me and I have statements in there to get them to agree, I might even have exercises that they’ll do where they make discoveries for themselves and they agree with these things. That is the seeding that I need to do. By the time they get to the solution, they’ve already said yes to it about 10 or 15 times, makes sense?

‏‏Yeah, it makes complete sense. I would like to listen more and learn more but we are almost at the hour, the time to finish. I don’t want to finish but I want to respect your time. Before we finish, what are your three tips to living a Stellar Life, and then I would like to know how our audience can find you and I also know that you have a special gift for them. What are your three tips to living a Stellar Life?

‏‏Easy, the moment you open your eyes in the morning, before you get out of bed, turn your mind to gratitude. If you really want to practice this deeply, get to a point where the things you’re grateful for bring up strong emotions for you, and even bring tears of gratitude to your eyes. Now, you’re in a place to go forward into the day. The other thing is don’t begin your day until you know you know how it’s going to end. That comes a lot from a man named Jim Rohn who says, “You always begin with the end in mind.” In other words, set a specific intention for what you want to happen during that day, who do you want to inspire? Let’s say you’re a salesperson, what outcome do you want by the end of that day from your career in sales? Have it really mapped out in your mind. The third thing is something I want people to try for a couple of days and see what happens. Don’t blame, don’t complain, and don’t explain.

Don’t blame, don’t complain, and don’t explain. Click To Tweet

‏‏That’s going to be hard.

‏‏When I say don’t blame, that’s easy to understand. It means no matter what happens, take responsibility for your role in it and don’t blame anybody or anything. Complaining is easy to understand. When I say don’t complain, I don’t just mean when you’re talking to people. Often, when we’re on self-talk, we find that we’re using language of complaining, “Ah, if only this were blah, blah, blah, if only that were easier, oh, why is this thing so expensive?” You’re saying it to yourself, stop it. Stop it. Here’s what I mean by explaining. Don’t justify anything. Let me give you an extreme example. You have a meeting which is at [10:00]AM. You leave your house at [9:15]AM and you get stuck in a traffic jam you didn’t anticipate, you’re 20 minutes late. The first thing out of your mouth when you walk into the meeting is, “I’m so sorry I’m late. The traffic was backed up on miles.” No, just walk in and say, “I apologize for being late.” Sit down. You’ve taken responsibility for it. I know it’s not easy to do but if you do this, you will find that you will have empowered yourself enormously.

‏‏Because you took responsibility for what you think and what you do.


‏‏But the moment you give excuses, you give away your power to someone or something else.


‏‏That’s amazing, amazing tips. I’m sure people are excited to know more about you. So many people want help with storytelling, presentation, and sales and everything that you have to offer. Where can they find you and can you also please share your special gift for our audience?

‏‏Absolutely. First of all I have a podcast that’s called Change Your Story, Change Your Life.

‏‏Yeah, there is one really special episode there that you should listen to.

‏‏Yeah, it’s with a woman named Orion Talmay. Do you know her?

‏‏Who is she?

‏‏You will find transformational stories there. The format of the show is a format that uses the principles of storytelling I’ve been talking about. Often or sometimes, I even do specific episodes just on the techniques of storytelling. On iTunes, which is the main platform, it’s Change Your Story, Change Your Life. You can also go to the podcast, to the site, my website which is changeyourstorypodcast.com. I would ask your listeners that if you value what you find there, please leave a comment and also subscribe to the podcast. I wrote a book called Persuasion Genie, it’s in a digital format and I’ve always sold this book in various packages. I’ve never really offered it to anyone for free but when you said to me, “Do you have anything special for my audience?” This book distills my whole life of experience from when I first became an actor till now, all of the things that I know about persuasion, presentation and storytelling that I’ve learned as I’ve lived my life and as I’ve taught and coached people. The book is 111 pages long.

‏‏I love that number. It’s 111. It’s almost like when you see a sign from the universe, it’s usually 111, 222, 333. Just the universe telling you, “We got your back.”

‏‏Luckily it’s not 666.

‏‏Yeah, we don’t want that.

‏‏No. Here’s what I offer only to the first 10 people who reach out to me by sending an email to louisclub@nullgmail.com. The first 10, I will give them that entire digital book for free. Anybody who sends me a message after the 10, I will give them the Frankenstein template in the PDF format and also the secrets of powerful storytelling. To be honest and fair with you, if anybody goes to changeyourstorypodcast.com and they put their information in there, their email address and their name, they will also be able to get the story-telling secrets ebook but they will not get the Frankenstein template unless they reach out to me and say, “I want that.” Of course, the people who do get the complete book Persuasion Genie, they will already have the template in there.

‏‏Thank you so much. It’s such a beautiful gift. You are a beautiful gift. Thank you for this interview.

‏‏Thank you, it’s been fun.

Your Checklist Actions to Take

✓ Enrich your mindset by reading fiction and getting excited about creative writing and the world of literature.

✓ Over 90% of communication is non verbal. Emotionally engage people and grab their attention with not only what I say, but how I say it.

✓ Show you story instead of telling it by engaging all five senses to make your audience actually feel the story.

✓ Develop presence by standing tall, holding your head high, being still, and saying less rather than more.

✓ Become a better presenter by opening your presentation with a story or question rather than an introduction.

✓ Arouse curiosity when telling a story by coming in late and leaving early or starting your story in the middle of a conflict.

✓ Write down the benefits of your product or service, then describe the benefits using the language of the senses taste, feel, smell, etc. for effective communication.

✓ Understand what kind of message your body is saying through your movement. Pacing could portray nervousness while stillness portrays control. 

✓ Use bullet points to guide you when you give speeches to sound natural as opposed to reading a scripted speech.

✓ Apply the “Frankenstein template” to build a strong presentation that is ‘alive’ by making your message the heart of your presentation.

Links and Resources:

About Louis Di Bianco

Louis Di Bianco is a professional screen and stage actor with international credits and more than thirty years experience. He has starred and costarred in a wide variety of dramatic and comic roles in numerous feature films, MOW’s and episodic TV shows. His professional on camera acting classes are in constant demand. As well, he has written two one-act plays, two full-length plays, and a screenplay. Louis Di Bianco is a member of SAG, Equity, and ACTRA. He holds dual citizenship in the United States and Canada and works freely in both countries


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