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Most business presentations fail to engage the audience. Why? One of the reasons is that they fail to tell a story. No, it is not necessary to be an entertainer or a comedian. You have maintain a professional approach. But, it doesn’t matter if you are a manager, a team leader or the CEO, you don´t ever have an excuse to be boring. Never.
The human brain learns with stories and people make decisions based on emotions (and use data to justify them). Why shouldn´t we use such a powerful tool for our business presentations? In their book Leadership Presence, Halpern y Lubar talk about the power of stories. During a presentation or a meeting, the audience easily forgets the facts and the figures, but they will remember the anecdotes and stories.
Which tips do they give?
- Use personal stories about challenges, failure or success. Start creating a collection of those stories now so you can easily use them in the future.
- Use a story as an illustration. For example how to overcome a difficult situation.
- Tell stories as if it were happening now. “It is 1984. All managers of the office are together in a meeting. We have to make a decision about…”
If you start using stories, you can use the Story Spine of StoryNet to make sure your story has a clear structure.
- Once upon a time … (the platform)
- Every day …
- But then one day … (the catalyst)
- That’s why / Because of that …. (the consequences)
- Until finally … (the climax)
- Ever since then …
- (And the moral of the story is …)
Soon I will write about how to use the structure of a story for your entire presentation.
Some managers and directors tell me that this approach is interesting, but that it doesn’t apply to them as they have to present data. I believe storytelling and statistics are not mutually exclusive. Watch Hans Rosling in this clip below using data to tell us a clear story.
image: Felixco, Inc.