A lot of people are talking about telling stories during a presentation. Why is that?
- A powerful way to evoke emotions, which is important because people remember emotionally-charged experiences better and longer
- An age-old way of making a topic interesting, so the audience pays more attention
- An alternate way to make your point, helping people to understand better
Here’s a related post from Garr Reynolds, “We learn from stories and experiences.”
I majored in History in college and one of the few things I remember from all my History courses is a story about Czar Peter the Great traveling to Europe, but wanting to remain anonymous. The problem was that he was 6 feet tall, unusual in those days, so everyone had to pretend they didn’t know who he was. Why do I remember that story, having forgotten thousands of other statements? It was interesting and funny. It wasn’t boring. It was a story.
You can incorporate stories about customers, people who make a product, and so on. A story can tell the background behind your main message.
But fewer people talk about a storyline. By that, I mean the structure of your presentation. Just like a story has a beginning, a middle and an end, so does a presentation. Just as a story is about people, your presentation should be about people, sometimes the audience, but sometimes other people. (Even if your presentation isn’t about your audience, like a history lesson about ancient Greece, it should be for your audience.)
Think about how you organize your content in terms of a storyline. It doesn’t have to be a story, per se, but there should be a storyline. There’s the:
- Beginning: Your opening, explaining the situation and why it’s relevant to your audience.
- Middle : How you develop your points
- End: The conclusion and a call to action, if appropriate
Try labeling your script to mark these 3 parts of the presentation. It will help you understand your structure better and, ultimately, improve your presentation.
How do you use a storyline structure in your presentations? And how to you incorporate actual stories in your presentations?