Storytelling In Presentations

How to master the skill of storytelling

Storytelling is practised in every country and every culture, so to say it’s important is a bit of an understatement. It is everything. Stories shape our view of the past, present and future; in marketing presentations, they help us decide which brands to buy; in everyday life they make us human.

Storytelling is not only relevant but actually invaluable in our working lives too. It transforms ordinary communications into people-friendly communications, thereby potentially changing the fate of a company. And good storytellers become great leaders. Stories are perfect for presenting too; they take a typical uninspiring boring presentation and turn it into something engaging and memorable!

Here are some of our tips for mastering the skill of storytelling for presentations:

Use challenge, action and transformation in storytelling

Do you remember that Yellow Pages advert from the 1980s, the one with J.R. Hartley? Why do we still remember him after so many decades? Because, in under one minute, the advert told a story so perfectly. It follows the classic structure of challenge, action and transformation – someone trying to accomplish something, failing and then eventually succeeding – and watching that process makes us feel an emotion. We share the Simply Amazing Structure with our clients and this “challenge, action and transformation” fits perfectly within that – often in the WHAT section but it can work anywhere depending on the type of story you’re telling.

“Three is the magic number”

We’re often found singing this line (inspired this time by memorable song lyrics!) when training our clients, as we remind them that when it comes to planning presentations and speeches, three really is the magic number.

It is believed that the brain both absorbs and remembers information more effectively when it is presented in threes. We see this Power of Three principle a lot – “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”, “Stop, Look and Listen”, “Friends, Romans, countrymen”, “Location, Location, Location”, even in the structure of this blog post. Bear in mind that using the Power of Three in presentations and speeches makes you sound more compelling, convincing and credible – see, there it is again!

That’s why the unique Simply Amazing Structure we teach in our “Present Like A Pro” module uses the Power of Three throughout in addition to lots of other presentation skills best practice!

Make people feel something when they hear your story

Good storytellers know that it’s not about convincing people or making them think something. It’s all about using emotion to make them feel something. We make decisions based on feelings, with our brain part of our brain, and only later go on to justify them with the rational side of our brain. Think about the words you use to describe the story.

  • Paint a picture of what the people or situations in the story look like.
  • Use descriptions that help people to hear what it sounds like.
  • Get the hang of words that the audience can really get in touch.

By using these visual, auditory and kinaesthetic descriptive words, you’ll make the story come to life. This will create an emotional connection and that’s what makes something memorable… for years!

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

Remember that there is the opportunity for storytelling everywhere – in your speeches and business presentations, and in case studies, testimonials and sales letters. A good story can demonstrate your credibility and enable people to connect with you. Don’t waste that opportunity.

Here at Simply Amazing Training, we offer professional presentation skills courses and public speaking coaching for individuals and companies in and around London, Leicestershire and Kent, and across Dorset and Hampshire. Get in touch or call us today to tell us your story on 0330 223 4392 and hear how we can help.

Posted by Dee Clayton on 15 Jul 2019

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