027: Hank Fortener: On Crafting a Talk

Hank Fortener is a pastor, speaker, photographer, and overall communicator from Mosaic Church in L.A. Hank is passionate about making the most of every speaking opportunity that we are presented with.  

Hank and I delved into HOW he creates talks week after week with the same kind of passion and intentionality that he brings to each talk. Hank is a talk-crafting master, thanks to the thousands of hours he has spent building and re-building talk after talk. In this slightly longer episode (I just couldn't cut anything!) - Hank shares his insights, ideas and approaches to crafting a talk.

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Show highlights

In this episode we discuss:

  • Hank's history of speaking - which started out with him just hoping he could find the courage to talk to girls...
  • Hank's specific style as a pastor and speaker, especially in the genre of "pastor-speak."
  • The importance of just taking every opportunity to speak - or making your own
  • Hank's expectations for himself for his talks: To have fun, change your mind about something, and to tell you things you never knew. He wants to deliver relevant information in a new way.
  • The archetypes that Hank uses as he is developing his talks: Prophets (here's where we need to go), Priests (here's where I can help you) and Kings (here's what's going on in the broader world) - AND - the Knight (the angry activist), the Jester (let's have fun) and the Peasant (down-to-earth, regular Joe/Jane).  Hank aims to have a moment where he is each one of these archetypes during his talks. (And reminds us that if we hit on only one of these notes archetypes, it can be so tiring for the audience.)
  • Starting with a question... embedding your conclusion in your introduction. Begin where you want to end.
  • The tendency for pastors to burn-out in their speaking, because you have to do it over and over again.  And his process of crafting a talk.
  • The importance of filling our brains with raw materials that percolate and help generate ideas and input when we're creating.

[Tweet "You have to force yourself to tell 65 bad jokes before the good one comes. But if you cheat and quote a comedian, you'll never learn to be funny"]

This Moved Me Moments:


The moment his daughter Cora was born, and the scary moment when he thought she or his wife might not be okay. He turned that moving experience into this spoken word piece:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LIh8GjSffKo&w=560&h=315]

(Beautiful, Hank. Thanks for sharing this.)

Here - a pic of Hank's lovely family - including, of course, Cora.


Thanks to Ira Glass - an insight moment where he talks about how to build a story, in two parts:

1 - the anecdote -where you tell the story of what happened and what it is - and,

2 - the commentary - your point of view. What should we, the audience, do with this story?

Most people are missing one element or the other. You need both!  Here's Ira's awesome insight, from part 1 of his 4-part storytelling videos series:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=loxJ3FtCJJA&w=420&h=315]


I hope you enjoyed this week’s episode!

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Let's keep this conversation going:

Hank uses those amazing archetypes in his talk development. How about you - do you use a structure that you find particularly helpful?  I'd love to know in the comments, or let me know on Twitter.

About Hank:

Learn more about Hank by checking out Mosaic's website - as well as Hank's organization, Adopt Together, a crowd-funding adoption resource organization (where they've raised more than $4,000,000).

You can also find Hank on Twitter.


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