Annette Ferrara on Laughing, Being Vulnerable, and Telling a Great Story

Brian Burkhart Maximizing Opportunity Podcast Leave a Comment

Our team likes to keep up on current events, like the Cubs making it to the World Series (still freaking out inside) and obviously what’s going on in the world of presentations and communication. We were so delighted to have come across an amazing Harvard Business Review article – Your Presentation Needs a Punchline. We did a little digging and found that it was authored by a Chicago local, Annette Ferrara.

Annette is a producer at Mortified Chicago, and a Storyteller at IDEO. Between her sage HBR advice and the haunting beauty that is Mortified, we decided to bring her in for a chat to learn about why people would humiliate themselves and how this translates to the professional world. You wouldn’t think it does. But it does. Listen up as Annette shares a snippet from her own diary (or is it journal?) and urges us to take a bar exam.

Check out an upcoming Mortified show in Chicago on 11/19/16 or 12/10/16.
Don’t live in Chicago? Find a Mortified show in your city.

Interview Notes

00:18 – Annette’s backstory with Mortified

1:07 – What is Mortified?

1:45 – Diary vs. Journal

4:32 – Therapy? For storytelling?

4:56 – Sorry, you’re too normal and well adjusted.

6:29 – It’s not about being funny. It’s about being yourself and allowing people to connect with you.

6:50 – Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable.

7:36 – The audience is pulling for the presenter.

7:46 – Can sad moments help you connect with people too? Yes.

9:42 – Stop thinking about it as a presentation, and start thinking about it more as a performance.

10:39 – Take a bar exam.

12:28 – Be relatable.

13:30 – An excerpt from Annette!

18:00 – Are selfies the new diary/journal?

Find Annette

Maximizing Opportunity Host

Brian Burkhart

Twitter Google+

Brian is on faculty at Northwestern University and is Founder of SquarePlanet Presentations in Chicago. Through his work with TED speakers, Shark Tank contestants and business leaders around the globe, Brian’s mission is to help bring innovative ideas to life through the power of communication.

Maximizing Opportunity Co-Host

Derek Rudel


As SquarePlanet’s Curator of Growth + Marketing Solutions, Derek leverages his unique combination of creative, design and technical skills to lead the charge on all things marketing, community engagement and workflow optimization. He is also the co-host of the Maximizing Opportunity Podcast, and hates the taste of cilantro.