Storytelling as a Presentation Tool

At some point of life each and every one of us have done at least one presentation. And we have watched tons of presentations. What do you think, how many of those presentations you have seen were memorable? I know, not so many. To be honest, traditional presentations with bullet points suck. The old way of presenting was just to push and push information to the audience as much as you can. I cannot emphasize enough how boring the “old” presentations are. You all know the professor/lecturer sitting behind the computer talking boring stuff and speaking in a monotone voice.┬áTimes are fortunately changing – and so should you. I would like to encourage people to use storytelling as a tool to make their presentations more interesting.

Why storytelling?

Since our birth we have been used to learn through stories. You cannot expect a child to learn from a lecture. Adults can learn from a lecture. The problem is that most of us still struggle to keep the focus for the entire lecture. To make your audience interested in what you are saying you need to tell them a story. I’m not saying that you need to write a play for your presentation. But just enough that the audience follows you.

The story doesn’t necessarily have to be true. It can be made up. Important thing is that the audience keeps interested in what you are saying. It really doesn’t matter what kind of audience you have. People tend to remember what you had to say better when they remember the story. For an example, couple of years back we made a presentation for one competition. The presentation was just one 5 minute story about how I had seen a bus accident the day before. The whole presentation was linked to that one accident. The story was just interesting enough that every one remembered it for a long time. And no, I didn’t see a bus accident just the day before. People also knew, that the story was fictional. But with a good story and good slides we were memorable!

So, how should you approach your next presentation from the storytelling perspective?

  1. Always tell a story. I know, in some cases it is very hard, but when you figure out how to do it, your audience will be more interested in what you have to say.
  2. Plan your story. As any other aspect in life, storytelling is easier with proper planning. Do not try to make up the story as you perform. Usually it fails miserably.
  3. Create slides that support your story. Use pictures and images that support your story. Do not tell the story again on slides. Nobody wants to read the same that they have already heard. Forget the standard PowerPoint templates, use your imagination.
  4. Use notes. Simple, do not try perform without notes if you can’t remember the whole story by heart. You don’t need to be Steve Jobs at the first time.
  5. Be confident and perform! With the proper tools and practice everyone can perform like a pro.

Tools

  1. PowerPoint – Use PowerPoint to create the slides to support your story. Every time try to make the best looking slides you have ever done.
  2. Mirror – Practice makes perfect! If might be a cliche to practice in front of a mirror, but it is still a valid way to see how you perform. Nowadays you can also use a video camera.
  3. Presefy - After you have done the greatest slides of all time, upload them into your Presefy account. Presefy will help you to perform the best way possible.

Happy presenting!

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