Have you ever had to listen to a dry and long-winded business presentation? How about one where the presenter shared an interesting experience? What was the difference in how you received the presentation? What do you remember from that presentation in the days, weeks, months or even years following? There’s a good chance you enjoyed the second presentation because it included a story and was easier to understand and relate.
How can you integrate storytelling into your presentations? You don’t have to be a wealth of stories and clever antidotes. Instead, you just need to have a couple of cool stories to tell in your back pocket.
Think of some things that you have experienced that stood out to you in life.
Many times, there are stories that you can create out of life experiences. Think of some of the career and business-related experiences you’ve had and any funny or uncommon or outlandish things that have occurred. Then draw a story out of this. To you, it might seem like a boring story and not very impactful because it happened a number of years ago and you’ve talked about it a number of times. However, your audience has never heard the story and is ready to learn from your presentation as a credible source.
Think of someone you admire, follow, or listen to.
If you are active on social networks or have a busy social life in general, then you probably know a lot of cool people. Take the time to listen to the influencers around you to come up with stories for your presentations. Quotes of your favorite leaders always work well. If their story, article or quote inspired, relay that message to the audience.
Use some facts, visuals, or a study to illustrate your story.
To back up your story and build on its strengths, have at least one or two factoids in mind. You can reference a leading study or marketing survey. Use visuals to illustrate these facts for a more powerful storytelling experience. Overloading your audience with facts will make it seem like they are back in a classroom, but one or two impressive numbers will leave a lasting mark.
Think about something funny or interesting you read lately.
Another great source for developing stories around your presentation is to reference an article or story you’ve read recently. This can be a story that has nothing at all to do with your presentation, but that you can use to close out your presentation – and get some laughs. People will be talking about and remembering your presentation forever.
When you develop the skills of being a storyteller, your presentations will rock. Keep your stories under three minutes so you don’t lose your audience’s attention, use visual words and presentation materials, and draw your listeners in to make a great impression.
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