Then comes the struggle, followed by eventual triumph.
That’s what great stories are made of.
Hardly appropriate for your business presentation, right?
When you think of stories in presentations, it’s easy to look to the typical TED talk… More about engagement, entertainment, and energy than getting distracted office workers to understand a business decision.
It’s tempting to write stories off as a silly excess. Unbusinesslike and a waste of your audience’s time.
Stories are perfect in business. Stories are the most awesome thing you can ever include in your business presentation.
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When you speak in dry facts and logic you only get 100% attention from the people who have already bought-in to your ideas.
On the other hand, when you tell stories you get attention from everyone as they wonder where this is going and what will happen.
Dry facts have no form. They are hard to listen to. As you rattle off your bland bullet points it’s hard for your audience to build a picture of the key message.
When you talk in stories you animate and personify the facts. The audience can easily grasp the key points because you have built a clear picture for them.
People can relate to the characters in stories. They empathize with them.
When you tell a story your audience can see themselves in the position of the story’s characters. Naturally, they absorb and retain the information you are sharing better than they would if you bombard them with bullet points.
“I don’t have time for this!”
Before you kill your presentation with boring bullets and dry dribble…
I know what you’re thinking.
You hate doing presentations and you haven’t got time for the added complication of developing a dramatic story to regale your comatose audience.
You don’t need to spend loads of time crafting a story.
You just need to talk of about what led you here. Tell a simple story which gives background on your presentation topic.
Take for example a presentation about a project you are currently managing.
Maybe you are managing the implementation of a new customer contact system.
Give the audience context about the project by explaining the issues you had when you used to use the old system, the inefficiencies and business issues the old system created, and how you vowed to eradicate it once and for all.
Transition to your project update by talking about how the new system will overcome all of the problem.
How about a presentation kicking off a strategic initiative for your team?
Tell a simple story about how the company’s sales have been flat for the last couple of years. Talk about how frustrated staff are because they haven’t received bonuses in that time, despite their hard work.
Transition to your initiative by talking about how there is a new plan to improve company results and provide staff with the bonuses they deserve.
Perhaps a talk on updated regulations on new customer contracts.
Describe a difficult situation the customer relationship team had with a new customer. Talk about how the customer expected unlimited service because of vague wording in the contract and how much it ended up costing the company.
Transition to the updated regulations by explaining you have found a way to avoid these kinds of customer relationship problems.
Stories are easy to incorporate into your presentation because you just talk about what you know and what led you to where you are.
What do you think? Let’s chat in the comments below…