Tell your personal story with Playback Theatre

Have you heard of Playback Theatre?
Playback Theatre is a form of improvisational Theatre. Memers of the audience tell their stories and actors represent these stories on stage. The stories “come to life”.

teatro PlaybackHow to use Playback Theatre for Business?
Playback Theatre is a powerful tool for training situations to improve communication or raise the awareness on, for example, diversity. Participants decribe events from out of the work environment, these can be conflicts or other situations which caused difficult feelings. The actors “replay” the event and afterwards a facilitator leads a discussion about this replay, “Seeing” and “living” the story and the discussion afterwards result in a valuable learning experience.

Playbak Theatre in Valencia
The 17th and the 24th of February 2014 you can experience Playback Theatre in “Espacio Inestable“.

Want to know more?
The Spanish book “Otros Escenarios para el teatro” describes the different uses of Plaback Theatre in detail. In my e-book on “Theatre for organizatrional change” (also in Spanish), you can read more about Playback Theatre for business with some examples of the TrueStroyTheater.

Book published on Theatre for Business

otros-escenarios-para-el-teatro1I´m co-author of a book!

The project involves a printed book with an explanation of Applied Theatre and four e-books focusing on theatre for change: personal, social, in education and in organizations. I have written the last part about theatre for business. For company training theatre offers a lot of possibilities, many more than just role playing or warming ups. I have included examples of workshops and activities, one of the workshops is about public speaking.

teatro para el cambio en las organizaciones

teatro para el cambio en las organizaciones

The project
Otros escenarios del teatro – Other scenes of theatre

My e-book
Teatro para el cambio en las organizaciones – Theatre for change in organizations

More breaking news:
In the very same week of the publication, my daughter Paula was born. At this moment I´m on maternity leave and that´s the reason why I´m not very active writing posts :).

3 tips to control the environment of your presentation

scared manHave you ever had the feeling you were not in control of your presentation? Maybe due to technical problems, a room you didn´t know or an audience that seemed bored?
Maybe you feel that much of the outside environment of your presentation is beyond your influence, but there are some things you can do. I’ll give you three short tips to make you feel more in control.

  • Try to go to see the room of your presentation beforehand and if you can: practice in that room. This gives you the opportunity to get familiar with it and with the equipment. Can you move the way you want? Can people hear you in all corners or do you need a microphone?
  • Check yourself that all the equipment is working properly. Of course there are things you want to delegate, but if you can check yourself that everything is OK (for example, the projector, the remote control, the microphone), it can give you a feeling of control. You don´t depend on others for the success of the technical part of the presentation.
  • Practice and control the timing of your presentation. Stick to the time you were giving. If you run over, the audience, the client or the organization might get irritated. Please them and stop on time or early.

Apply these three tips and you will feel more relaxed as you get the idea you are the one in control! Good luck.

photo: Graur Razvan Ionut, Free digital Photos

The importance of eye contact

Some time ago I wrote a post “where to look while presenting”, about the importance of eye-contact during a presentation. Eye contact is related to honesty, trust and sincerity.

After working with several speakers, I´d like to add that the majority of the people tend to have some kind of preference looking more to the left or to the right side of the audience. That way they “forget” the other half of their public. It is a good idea to record yourself on camera or to have someone to give you feedback in order to raise your awareness and to avoid this.

An example of good and very direct contact with the audience (he even steps of the stage to go into the audience) is this talk of Benjamin Zander in which he talks about music and passion.

The importance of a clear objective

We asked the speakers of TEDxValencia the following: imagine that after the event a person asks one of the attendees of the event what your talk was about. What should this attendee remember from your talk? What should he transmit to the other person? That is the objective of your talk.

Chris Anderson, the CEO of TED, says that the number one problem of speakers at TED events, in their first draft, is that they want to tell too many things.

He says:

The biggest problem I see in first drafts of presentations is that they try to cover too much ground. You can’t summarize an entire career in a single talk. If you try to cram in everything you know, you won’t have time to include key details, and your talk will disappear into abstract language that may make sense if your listeners are familiar with the subject matter but will be completely opaque if they’re new to it. You need specific examples to flesh out your ideas. So limit the scope of your talk to that which can be explained, and brought to life with examples, in the available time.

You can find more information in the article “How to give a killer presentation“. A clear objective helps you to limit the scope of your talk.

An example of a talk with a clear objective and full of examples, anecdotes and references is: The game that can give you 10 extra years of life.

Favourite speakers of TEDxValencia 2012

The two favourite speakers from TEDxValencia 2012 were Jose Luis Pastor and Alejandro Hernandez. We encourange you to watch the videos as inspiration for your own presentations. Some comments of attendees are added.

Jose Luis Pastor

  • His talk was very professional, fun and stimulating.
  • He transmitted exactly what he wanted to express.
  • Great communicator, with an inspiring, motivating and encouraging message, deeply connected with the audience.
  • Excellent presentation and original content, using a touch of humor to engage the audience.

Alejandro Hernandez

  • He brought new concepts and the message was very original.
  • He captured the attention of the audience.
  • Enjoyable, fun, educational and motivating talk.
  • The talk was well structured and he used appropriate body language; the speaker was experienced in transmitting his ideas.
  • He transmitted the passion and spirit of TED in an outstanding manner.
  • Fresh message and full of possibilities for new entrepreneurs.

The importance of a good conclusion

Today a new tip for a memorable presentation at TEDxValencia: The importance of a good conclusion.

An interesting introduction is important to catch the attention of the audience. As important as this introduction, is the conclusion of your presentation, so that the people remember the most important of what you have told them. They tend to remember the last things you have said.

Some suggestions:

  • give a summary
  • make a connection with your introduction
  • don´t say “well, that´s everything, thank you”, but think carefully about your last sentence.
  • make a call for action: What can / should the audience do after your presentation?

We can find a perfect example of a good conclusion in this TED talk of Dan Pink. First he gives a summary, after that a he makes a call for action and he finishes off with a comment connecting with the introduction of his presentation.

The importance of a good introduction

As part of the speaker´s team of TEDxValencia 2012 we are in charge of the coordination of the speakers. We have already selected all the presenters and are now helping them to prepare their talks. With the frequency of two or three times a week, we send them tips for the design and the delivery of their speech. On my blog I am going to publish the tips we send them.

The first tip: the importance of a good introduction written by César Gomez, vice-president of Toastmasters Valencia.

The first seconds of a talk are critical. If the introduction is boring and without imagination, the audience will lose their interest in the rest of the presentation. A creative and interesting beginning captures and maintains the attention of the people.

Some classic techniques:
– Tell the audience why your talk is important for them
– Surprise them with a unusual statement
– Tell a story or an anecdote
– Ask a rhetoric question
– Start with a quote

A fabulous example you can find in this TED talk of Andrew Stanton.


The TED commandments for better presentations

Next Saturday the 22nd of June the third edition of TEDxValencia is being held. This year the theme of the event is “rewriting the future“. With the team of volunteers, we are selecting the speakers, preparing the webpage and organizing all the details to create an amazing event!

This year I´m part of the “speakers team” and our objective is to select the speakers and to help them to prepare their talks: the content, the structure and the visual aids if they decide to use them.

What is the most important for the speakers at a TEDx event? The organization of TED has established some ground rules. These are every interesting for everyone who has to prepare a speech, not only for TED-speakers: the TED commandments.


Here we go:

  1. Thou Shalt Not Simply Trot Out thy Usual Shtick.
  2. Thou Shalt Dream a Great Dream, or Show Forth a Wondrous New Thing, Or Share Something Thou Hast Never Shared Before.
  3. Thou Shalt Reveal thy Curiosity and Thy Passion.
  4. Thou Shalt Tell a Story.
  5. Thou Shalt Freely Comment on the Utterances of Other Speakers for the Sake of Blessed Connection and Exquisite Controversy.
  6. Thou Shalt Not Flaunt thine Ego. Be Thou Vulnerable. Speak of thy Failure as well as thy Success.
  7. Thou Shalt Not Sell from the Stage: Neither thy Company, thy Goods, thy Writings, nor thy Desperate need for Funding; Lest Thou be Cast Aside into Outer Darkness.
  8. Thou Shalt Remember all the while: Laughter is Good.
  9. Thou Shalt Not Read thy Speech.
  10. Thou Shalt Not Steal the Time of Them that Follow Thee.

I encourage you to apply these principles to your own talks and I hope to see you at TEDxValencia the 22nd of June!