This weekend marked the start of National Storytelling Week, so we are taking a closer look at the wondrous world of story (and how it relates to presentations.)
It’s a well-known fact that story can be a very powerful thing. Only last night did the offer of a story to my little boy, Jack, convince him to give up his favourite vice of Paw Patrol.
Yes, that promise of any story he would like, got him to put down the iPad (never an easy feat), shoot upstairs, get into his pyjama’s (without force) and snuggled up next to his daddy, all in double quick time.
Of course, one story, became three, but that’s fine, because I’d much rather spend my time reading to him, than chasing him around our house with a pair of pyjama’s in one hand and a nappy in the other…
Speaking of children and stories, the shortest story ever written is by Earnest Hemmingway and went like this…
“New baby shoes, never worn”
Your mind reads into those words and constructs several very different positive, neutral and very negative connotations…
That’s the power of story.
Like we’ve said many times before, this power can be applied to presentations in a number of ways…
“We LOVE the smart use of stories and story structure in presentations. They’ve formed some of the most compelling, engaging, passionate and memorable presentations ever created. The use of ‘story’ in presentations makes a lot of sense – get it right and you’re onto a good thing…”
Simon Morton, CEO, Eyeful Presentations (and Chief Storyteller to Beth and Peter).
You can prepare a whole raft of stories and keep them in your proverbial mental back pocket for when opportunities arise.
You can turn your entire PowerPoint presentation design into a story by looking at story themes and structures and applying these to your presentations. There’s a great chapter on ‘Business Storytelling’ on page 42 of The Presentation Lab book, that explains how to do this.
Another great way of using story to support your presentations messaging is through case studies. These don’t have to be formal case studies, they can simply be stories about real events and projects that you can relay in your presentation, to your audience, to back-up and reinforce what you are trying to say.
Telling your audience that your product or solution is fantastic is all well and good – but these days messages that simply big you up, just won’t convince your audience…
If you really want to engage with them and get their buy in, think of a real example of a problem that relates to theirs and tell them a true story about how you solved it for another company in a similar situation as theirs.
Blending story into your presentations has lots of other benefits too…
- Encasing your product or solution in a story makes it more real and believable.
- Telling a true story makes your delivery style authentic.
- Maybe the story has an element of drama or action to it? Play on this and use this to make your story more interesting and memorable. It doesn’t have to be Lord of the Rings, merely explaining how you solved a tough problem at the last minute can have enough drama to enthuse your audience.
Your presentation being remembered after the event is also a key element in gaining presentation success and because of the all the things I’ve mentioned above, people remember stories.
To discover more about applying story to your presentations, check out Eyeful’s Story Season…
Story Season’s goal is to discuss the importance of story within presentations, look at the scientific case for using story, and ultimately to provide information, advice and general tips on how to incorporate story into your presentations.
Check it out, it’s a good read!