Blog, Event, Resources, Skills Lab

Long Story Short: 5 tips to help encapsulate your PGS journey

Photo by airfocus on Unsplash

While all transformation journeys are rich and moving in their own ways, none of them tells the same tale, and there’s always much more to the story. When sharing your journey with your audience in a public revalida, it is natural to put your best foot forward and leave no noteworthy detail behind. But with only a few precious minutes at hand, summarizing your long and compelling PGS journey during a revalida is no easy task. 

Here are five essential tips to help you sum up your PGS journey and maximize your revalida:

1. Learn the difference between reporting and storytelling.

Presenting organizations in a public revalida often put out all the stops possible to bring their institutions in the best light. This includes giving all available data and statistics that support their growth, exhibited through graphs. However, Ms. Julienne Joven, a communication expert and co-founder of Fennel says that a data-heavy-driven presentation doesn’t always make a lasting impression on the general public.

“Madaling makalimot ng mga facts, data, numbers, and statistics, but the stories that are told to us—those are the ones that stick to us throughout time and history,” she said. 

Reporting and storytelling may have common qualities but have entirely different impacts on the general audience. Reporting talks about what happened through facts and data, but storytelling particularly talks about what happened to the person, and, more often than not, has more staying power than merely reporting. 

“With storytelling…we want to see how these facts, milestones, and events affected the characters in your story. We talk about motives, emotions, and behavior. We want to show how these elements get tied together into a cohesive story versus just saying one, two, three,” the communication expert explained.

2. Plan out your story.

Condensing a years-long transformation journey into a minutes-long presentation may be like jumping through hoops, but completely possible, as evidenced by the Institute for Solidarity in Asia’s array of exhilarating presentations from its partners. And to do this, Ms. Joven suggests identifying your storytelling elements and plan out your story before hitting any design and layout development stage.

The storytelling elements are as follows, and the questions that each aims to address:

  1. Theme – What is the overarching concept that your story follows? 
  2. Characters – Who are the main players in your stories, and what are their hopes, fears, and dreams? Where are they now?
  3. Setting/Background – What are the physical location and time of your story? What are the social and cultural conditions in which the characters exist?
  4. Conflict – What are the challenges or problems the plot is based around? 
  5. Plot – What are the main events in your story? 

“Make sure that there is cohesion among all of these different elements. [Explain] how did Point A lead to Point B? How do we tie together all these points? Make sure that the different stories that we weave into the report are relevant to get your point across,” Ms. Joven advised.

Madaling makalimot ng mga facts, data, numbers, and statistics, but the stories that are told to us—those are the ones that stick to us throughout time and history.⁠
— Julienne Joven, Fennel

3. Know your core message first. 

Every story of transformation has its ups and downs, lefts and rights, and beginnings and ends. With all these narratives you’d like to share and build into each other, Ms. Joven suggests learning and applying storytelling techniques in your presentation.

One of which is called Nested Loops, a storytelling technique where the presenter layers three or more narratives within each other. However, this technique requires the presenter to know their core message and build around all the narratives to it. This allows you to share multiple narratives while still explaining a central concept and show how a piece of wisdom was passed along from one to another. 

“This technique is a bit more complex in structure, but essentially…if you think there are many stories you’d like to tell and all of them are tied into one concept, then you might want to look into Nested Loops,” she said.

4. Hint at something unexpected.

Another storytelling technique to help you sum up your story is In Media Res. A Latin phrase that means “in the midst of things,” this technique begins your story right in the heat of action instead of the beginning.

In Media Res can help make your story stand out and keep your audience craving for resolution. The challenge, Ms. Joven cautions, is not to give away too much of your story and get to the point at the right time to prevent your audience from losing interest. 

“This is a good technique for showing your audience what was important to you, why did you need to succeed, and what was that part of your story that made the journey something to look forward to,” Ms. Joven said.

If you think there are many stories you’d like to tell and all of them are tied into one concept, then you might want to look into Nested Loops.
— Julienne Joven, Fennel

5. Keep things organized. 

While making your presentation a visual experience rather than textual is highly encouraged, Ms. Joven emphasizes the importance of keeping things organized. This includes making sure your photos are well aligned, clean, and not overlapping each other. 

Selecting typefaces may sound insignificant but can make or break your presentation. When selecting fonts, Ms. Joven advised to be intentional, use easy-to-read fonts, and limit them to three font styles for your heading, subtitles, and text.

“Another thing we noticed in previous revalidas is the tendency to cover up by adding a lot of different elements; lagyan ng photos, graphs, tables. More is not necessarily good and sometimes less is more because when you have less, you can focus more on what is important,” she said.

Ultimately, presenting your PGS journey is not limited to showcasing your organization’s progress in the governance pathway. Instead, it is an opportunity to make a lasting impact on your audience and be remembered for your organization’s commitment to bringing about change for the communities you serve. 


All geared up to share your PGS story with the world? We at ISA offer the Skills Lab, a capacity development program designed to empower organizations by enhancing diverse skills unique to any organization’s needs to achieve long-term sustainability and success. A Skills Lab course on Revalida Storytelling and Visualization is coming this August 11 and 12! Register now at For more information, don’t hesitate to contact Kristine Roraldo at [email protected]

Related Posts