Photo by UX Indonesia on Unsplash

Since penetrating the digital space in 2020, it is no secret that the Institute for Solidarity in Asia’s (ISA) online revalida, a virtual platform where institutions showcase their progress in the governance pathway, has provided a sense of convenience for presenting organizations to perform at their own pace. Nonetheless, pre-revalida stress is still common among presenters, heightened by the pressures of delivering a spotless presentation, limited time allotments, and bagging the coveted Trailblazer Award, among others. 

Here are five effective tips for communicating your PGS journey and acing your revalida:


1. Know your audience.

It is age-old advice, but getting to know the backgrounds, perceptions, and motives of your listeners is an effective way to give your presentation a solid direction. After all, the online revalida seeks to give its audience a closer look at the headways of an institution, so ensuring a compelling visual and audible experience for your listeners is of utmost importance. 

“Identifying your audience is important because it changes the way that you connect all the different milestones, story elements that you have in a way that makes an impact on them,” Julienne Joven, communication expert and co-founder of Fennel, said. “What you want at the end of the day is ‘pag nagkwento tayo…have them feel na, ‘Wow! This story was tailor-fitted to me, and I now understand’.” 

Learning what the audience knows or believes about your institution can heavily influence your presentation’s overall tone of voice and approach. You may also determine and modify your content once you consider what you want the audience to pick up and remember from your institution’s story. 

2. Show, don’t tell. 

Visualization is a critical element in ensuring an immersive experience for your audience. While telling covers the ground of your institution’s transformation journey, showing transports your audience to the scene and makes them part of the experience. 

“If you are an avid reader, it’s not just about looking at the words on the page, but in your mind, envisioning that scene,” Ms. Joven elaborated. “It’s the same way when you do your PGS revalidas. You don’t just want to tell them the story, but you use visual elements that will make that experience richer for them.”

A color scheme can make or break your entire presentation, making it essential to be purposefully selective and avoid choosing colors at random. You may also use different hues of your desired color for consistency. Free online sites like colormind.io provide many pre-generated color palettes that you can choose from to avoid unappealing color combinations.

Similarly, font styles can bring cohesion to your text and reflect the spirit of your subject matter. Rounded fonts suggest friendliness; geometric fonts are “solid and strong,” while serifs convey elegance and sophistication. Ms. Joven suggests choosing a typeface that sings the song of your content.  

You don’t just want to tell them the story, but you use visual elements that will make that experience richer for them.⁠
— Julienne Joven, Fennel


3. Use storytelling techniques.

Not all stories start at the beginning and conclude with a resolution. It can be an exciting journey that brings the audience anywhere in between. There are different storytelling archetypes one can use to bring life to a narrative. 

One of which is In Media Res, which means “in the middle of.” It is a storytelling archetype that begins the story in the heat of the action before starting over at the beginning to explain how you got there. Often used in action films, In Media res grabs the audience’s attention from the start and keeps them craving for resolution.

“Ang challenge lang with this archetype is it should not give away too much,” Ms. Joven said. “We just use In Media Res when we want to make an impact…and give a glimpse of what is already happening.”

Other techniques include The Monomyth, also known as The Hero’s Journey; The Mountain, which focuses on a story’s drama and tension; and False Start, which disrupts audience expectations by showing how you once failed.

4. Go personal. 

Telling a story through your own eyes and experience will make a difference in the emotions you are trying to convey and prevent any presenter from sounding detached. In line with knowing your audience, you can recount parts of your experience you know the listeners can relate to.

You may also immerse the audience by conveying your story using the five senses. Enumerating the things they would have seen, heard, felt, or touched in the setting of your narrative places your audience right in the heart of your story.

“Instead of them having the mindset that they’re just listening to a report, help them picture things,” Ms. Joven said. “By creating that mental image, it makes your story more memorable and real for them.”

By creating that mental image, it makes your story more memorable and real for them.
— Julienne Joven, Fennel


5. Make it unforgettable.

Every transformation story is different, and each one has a “woah point” that can impact your audience. Build up your narrative to your story’s “woah point” and create a lasting impression that the listeners can never forget.

Techniques and gimmicks aside, it is important, if not most vital, to end your story with a clear takeaway. An institution’s story of transformation is often long and filled with details, and a presenter should make it their goal to leave the audience with something they can take home or possibly use in their daily lives.

“It can be a positive ending na at the end of the day, good triumphs over evil, [or] that hard work will save the day. Or if it might not have been a complete success, what was your lesson from the experience? If it’s generic, your audience will not remember,” Ms. Joven said. 

Presenting virtually oftentimes gives a false sense of security, but naturally, revalida presenters still experience nervousness or stress before they take center stage. In this case, Ms. Joven reminded that ultimately, the audience is on your side and wants to see you succeed.

“Hindi naman gusto makikta ng audience na we struggle on stage, we fail, we forget our lines or the things we want to say,” she said. “At the end of the day, they want to see you finish your story.”

Want to level up your storytelling skills and embrace the PGS journey with ease? 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 may soon be on your way! For more information, don’t hesitate to contact us at programs@isacenter.org.