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Once Upon a Time in the Land of Presentations

Story telling is so important when you're trying engage your audience, whether you're giving a presentation or a pitch. You should do whatever you can to make your presentations fun and engaging, you want people to remember and understand what you're telling them, and stories are the way to do it. And the best thing is, it's fairly easy to add storytelling in; you don't have to be a natural, you can learn how to do it.

There is actually some "Brain Science" that supports this, we didn't just make it up. Working memory is only 7 plus or minus 2 things at a time, so you need to tap in deeper than working memory. Audiences will attempt to store the information you give them in their frontal lobes as a list and within about 30 seconds their heads are full, so you're fighting a losing battle.

To tell a great story start by thinking about the best stories you remember from TV and film - the John Lewis Christmas adverts are a great example, they always have a central character(s) such as the bear and hare in this year's ad - where the audience can empathise with the 'hero', a key challenge, some action/narrative and a result, ideally a happy ending.

If you have a product to talk about make you story specifically about a customer's experience. Or if you want people to learn about something, tell a story where the central character (try to make it you for added empathy) got it wrong. If you're talking about a product, don't list features. That's not telling a story and it's pretty boring, isnt' it? Instead, find a case of a specific instance or experience with a customer and talk about that. How did the product change that customer's life for the better? Or talk about the personas of customers that might buy the product and how they might use it. Or put the product at the climax of the story arc – like those Mr Muscle or Plenty TV ads where the product saves the day by cleaning up the spill. Or even talk about how the product will change the audience's life.

Telling stories will help you make the difference between giving a boring, forgettable presentation or a presentation that people remember and even talk about when they get home and back to their office.

Want to know more and find out how to practice? See details of our Pitch Perfect and Fabulous Facilitation workshops and give us a call to find out how we can help.

Presentation Skills


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