5 of the best storytelling techniques for presentations
Who doesn’t love a good story? They draw us in, trigger emotional responses, keep us entertained, and often leave us wanting more.
In presentations, incorporating storytelling techniques is a fantastic way to help your audience engage with your content and act on it. In fact, we are 22 times more likely to remember something if it is told as a story.
So, how can you do it? Here are 5 of the best storytelling techniques to enhance your next presentation.
1) Use an attention-grabbing hook
A quick and effective way to get audiences engaged in your presentation is to immediately grab their attention with an exciting introduction.
In today’s busy world, when your audience’s attention spans are small, a slow-paced introduction is just not good enough.
Instead, throw your listeners straight into the action with an attention-grabbing quote, statistic or story that will really interest them.
Follow in the footsteps of game designer Jane McGonigal, who has the audience in the palm of her hands when she starts her TED talk with “You will live seven and a half minutes longer than you would have otherwise, just because you watched this talk”.
When your audience asks themselves “What’s going to happen next?”, you've got them!
2) Make your audience the hero of your story
One of the most effective storytelling techniques for presentations involves going back to the very basics of storytelling. Most books and films (and the very best presentations) follow a model known as the hero’s journey. That is, a path that takes the audience member on a journey following the hero of the story who faces and then resolves some kind of conflict.
When you’re writing your presentation story, it can be very tempting to centre it around yourself, and position yourself as the hero that helps your clients achieve success.
Resist this temptation, and instead position your audience as the hero. This will help them recognise themselves in your story, teach them how to solve a problem, and help them gain a new perspective. This, is turn, will increase their engagement and willingness to buy into your message.
3) Be emotional
No matter how great your slides are, it’s difficult (if not impossible) to leave your audience with a lasting impression if your presentation is filled with cold, hard stats and little else.
However, if you add a personal and emotive storytelling element, there’s a good chance your audience will be listening, relating to you, and engaging with your ideas.
When you’re talking about yearly sales, adding an interesting, emotional story to the mix might seem like an impossible task. But storytelling doesn’t necessarily need to involve a dramatic tale that will bring your audience to tears. And you definitely don’t need to say “once upon a time”.
Instead, insert an emotional element by relating those dry numbers back to you, your team, and your company’s situation and story. A bit of context and imagination will go a long way in helping you deliver an effective and impactful presentation.
4) Be authentic
If your audience trusts you, they are far more likely to buy into your message. Storytelling is a great way to build that trust, but it shouldn’t be forced.
Your audience aren’t stupid. They’ll see right through you if your story is being exaggerated or even completely fabricated. So, keep it real and be authentic.
Your story doesn’t need to be elaborate or dramatic. A real, genuine story that you can tell with emotion will be far more effective. Being honest and transparent will help you build that all-important emotional connection with your audience.
5) End with a powerful call to action
By the end of your presentation, the effective storytelling techniques you embraced will have (hopefully) inspired your audience to trust you, embrace your ideas, and want to act.
Make the most of your efforts by including a clear call to action to end on. Conclude with a simple direction to what you want your audience to do next, whether that’s booking a call with you, making a purchase or visiting your website.
The end of your story is the crucial time to act. Seize the opportunity.
To find out how we can help you craft your narrative and present more effectively, get in contact today.