Be Your Own Spielberg: Using Storytelling Techniques to Create Highly Engaging and Impactful Presentations


How many times have you seen (or given!) a presentation where the audience's eyes glazed over with boredom or exhaustion? How do we communicate ideas that are important to us in a way that's meaningful to our audiences? Can we make complex science and deep data meaningful to non-expert audiences? Interestingly, directorial and editing techniques that have long been used in movies correspond with some of the best practices derived from cognitive research about how we can engage our audiences in the delivery of our ideas. This webinar looks at how we can create highly engaging and impactful presentations in our substance misuse prevention work.



  • Explain how basic narrative techniques apply to the successful design and delivery of presentations
  • Describe how design and composition affect an audience's ability to process our messages
  • Apply the Pixar storytelling framework to presentation content design



Photo: Brian Klass

Brian Klaas 

Brian Klaas is the Assistant Director for Technology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health's Center for Teaching and Learning. He also has a faculty appointment in the School's R3 Center for Innovation in Science Education. As the architect for online learning technology at the School, he leads a team that designs and delivers custom online courseware to thousands of students around the world each year. He teaches graduate level courses on communications design and data visualization for non-expert audiences as well as applications of generative artificial intelligence in public health. Brian heads the university’s IT Accessibility Training and Education subcommittee and the Hopkins Universal Design for Learning initiative at Johns Hopkins. Brian has presented on techniques for successful online learning delivery and UDL programs at conferences throughout the country, including Educause, OLC, TeachX, UBTech, APHA, TechEd, Syllabus, and CUE.


The Great Lakes A/MH/PTTC is offering this training for individuals working in HHS Region 5: IL, IN, MI, MN, OH, WI. This training is being provided in response to a need identified by Region 5 stakeholders

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