“Start with a story.”
Raise your hand if you have heard this sentence thrice when you ask people for tips on starting your presentation. I will raise both of mine.
Yes, stories are compelling. Of course, they are!!
They are interesting. Our grandmothers told us stories, we told our siblings, and they told their friends. It’s beautiful.
But the questions still stay there!
- Why do we need stories when doing a presentation on, say, competitors in the market?
- What kind of stories? What is the style? What quality does the orator need?
- Where do we tell the story and how? How do we select it?
Let’s find out.
- How do we select the stories?
Read the crowd. Make sure it matches the interest of the people present. Ask yourself, will they appreciate this particular story? If the crowd is young, maybe avoid advice. Youngsters don’t like it. Don’t try to be the hero of all the stories. Make it a relatable story of mistakes rather. If the crowd is old, select accordingly.
- What kind of stories?
Again, it goes without saying, select one according to the room you are in. Funny stories, success stories, parables, whatever seems right.
Remember the tone and rhythm also make a lot of difference.
Use every word and image to help create a clear picture in their mind, use visuals to supplement the story, provide sensory details - using all five senses, use precise verbs and nouns and vivid adjectives, provide short but effective descriptions, and importantly, use “we” and the conversational tone for relativity.
- Where do you need to tell the stories?
Every presentation expert extolls the power of stories. When you say “ I’ll tell you a story about…” your audience will perk up. Your stories should of course reinforce the point you’re making. Stories should have a purpose at the end. Is it teaching something?!
Take a look at your presentation from the point of view of stories. Are they sprinkled throughout your presentation – or bunched together?
Sprinkle them out for the best effect.
Personal touches in stories always help. Keep it short.
Remember, you have a presentation ahead. It’s not storytime!