Using Story Maps to help your presentation live on

Blog Post created by shanebradt on Aug 23, 2016

A lightning talk on maps for outreach


I recently gave a lightning talk titled Mapping Your Way to Better Engagement at the 2016 joint conference of the National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals and the Association of Natural Resource Extension Professionals. Preparing for this talk opened my eyes to the potential for Story Maps to help presentations live on far past the last word spoken at any event.


As is always the case when I work on a lightning talk, I spent a tremendous amount of time crafting the slides and story I was planning to share. I knew my talk would reach most of the people at the conference (~400), but I wondered about the best approach to let my message live on past the end of the event. How could I structure my talk so that my "mapping is great for outreach" message might be shared most effectively with a broader group of Extension professionals, whether or not they attended the conference?


A Story Map about using Story Maps


While I was considering how to end the talk, I realized that a powerful way to get my message about Story Maps across AND to let my message live on was to create a Story Map version of my presentation. I quickly modified the last slide of my lightning talk to feature an easy-to-remember address ( and set about crafting my very first Story Map Cascade based on the talk I was about to deliver. 


My lightning talk at the conference ended with a call for everyone in the audience to get mapping (of course!) and to bring home and share the Story Map version of my presentation. In weeks since the conference, the Story Map has been been viewed 170 times, undoubtedly both by people who saw my lightning talk at the conference and those who did not.


Help your presentation live on


If you are searching for a way to share a face-to-face presentation with a wider audience, consider creating a Story Map version of your talk. While this task will require an extra investment of time, it may allow your message reach a larger audience and have greater impact. Although it may not always be possible or appropriate, also consider using a Story Map as the method for delivering your presentation in the first place, which would eliminate the need to create two versions of your talk (which is something I was not able to do this time!).