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Persuasive Storytelling Spotlight: Ryan Short of MODassic Marketing

Ryan Short is a founder and CEO of MODassic, a design and marketing agency based in Dallas, Texas. He started the agency in 2008 to specialize in persona- and ROI-based branding, design and marketing.

Ryan is incredibly skilled at delivering presentations that work. The one thing all of Ryan’s best presentations have in common? Him. 

He doesn’t consider himself a good public speaker, according to the traditional definition. Instead, he thinks of himself as a good conversationalist, and he uses this unorthodoxy to his advantage.

Visual Analogies Help a Message Stick

Short explains, “Anything that I’m going to be speaking [about] is something that hopefully I know a lot about, and I shouldn’t need a crutch to get me through it. If I’m telling you a story about my childhood, I don’t need slides to remind me. I can just talk to you about it… If you’re an expert about anything, you should be able to just talk about it and tell the story.”

However, Ryan doesn’t rely totally on his tone and his ability to converse. He knows well-placed, well-timed imagery can help cement takeaways for his audience. “I’m a very visual person. So, I use analogies.”

Ryan describes one such presentation: His goal was for the audience (an association of small business owners who were potential MODassic clients) to understand how digital marketing should be the “syrup” that ties their efforts together, not just another flapjack on the stack.

Ryan describes the typical sales process, where prospects come to him saying, “I was told I need to be blogging. Can you blog for me?” His role in the relationship is to help them understand why they need content. Hence, pancakes. He was priming the room to understand his firm’s expertise before they even picked up the phone.

Ryan continues to illustrate his prospects’ point of view: “‘Man, everyone is coming to me and they’re selling me stuff. They’re telling me what I have to do. I just made my website and now I’ve got to make it responsive. I’ve got to do social media.’ People are constantly telling [my clients] these things they need to do and spend money on.” Those tactics can really “stack up,” unless his clients are clear on what’s binding it all together.

Self-Awareness Guides Presentation Style

Ryan hasn’t always felt this confident in his approach. He says earlier in his career, there was a lot of doubt in his mind about how he performed and whether his audiences saw him as a good speaker. Then he realized these expectations were distracting him and, likely, his audiences. His style was forged from this realization: The ideal conclusion after any presentation is, “They wouldn’t care if I’m a good speaker or a bad speaker. They would [walk] away with ‘He knows what he’s talking about.’ Therefore, it was a good presentation.”

As a creative director, Ryan has spent many years of his career selling ideas and perfecting his persuasive presence. Now he better understands himself and how he can be effective in front of an audience who must buy in.

Finding Your Own Presentation Style

What’s your persuasive style? Could you stand up in front of a crowd of potential buyers and communicate your idea with only one slide? Shouldn’t we all be so knowledgeable, and shouldn’t we also all be so kind to our audiences?

Schedule The Campfire Method® workshop for you and your team so you can learn all about persuasive storytelling. We’ll dive in and reflect on your style, identifying your strengths and where you can improve.

For more about Ryan, MODassic Marketing, and perhaps some pancakes, visit