Scientists believe that our brains are hardwired for engagement via storytelling. Whether you’re presenting the business plan for your new startup to the prospective investors, or delivering an annual business presentation to the board of directors, you may want to employ some storytelling techniques for best results.
Of course, a visual story communicated well is better than a thousand words, but exactly how do you do it? In this article, we share our experience as presentation design experts, in an easy to implement the format, so that you too can easily apply these storytelling techniques to any presentation and reap the rewards.
5 Tips for Using Fundamentals of Storytelling in Your Presentation
Tip #1: Define the storyline
Finding the true story hidden in your purpose is a deep and enriching activity. The same goes for what you’re planning to present in front of your audience. Here are some important questions you need to ask yourself for completing this step:
1. What challenges does your audience face on a regular basis?
2. What part of your story will make them relate with you?
3. What conclusion do you want your audience to derive near the end of your presentation?
4. What action would you like your audience to take once the presentation is over?
Once you visualise the objectives of your presentation along these lines, it will become easy for you to start placing the various pieces of your story together. Keep in mind you need to tell them a story that’s more about them and not just about you.
Tip #2: Make the storyline dramatic
Few things are as motivating as a personal story that demonstrates triumph despite extreme blows of adversity. Renowned storytelling experts like Christopher Booker and Joseph Campbell claim that there are some basic story plots that demonstrate universal appeal – and that’s what top Hollywood movies use to keep the audience glued to their seats. You too can use the same technique for refining your storyline to make it seem more dramatic and impressive.
Tip #3: Create suspense
If you’re an avid book reader or love to watch movies, you perhaps already know that a good story typically has to have a conflict, a plot, a climax, and some mystery or suspense in between. So, if you want to deliver an amazing presentation that keeps your audience engaged throughout and never makes them feel bored, even for a moment, make sure you employ this technique.
Tip #4: Use data visualisation
More often than not, business presentations contain a lot of data. However, just as often stats are simply placed in between the slides, and the audience has to be at their wit’s end to make sense of what they’re looking at and what it actually means. So, always try converting your stats into easy-to-digest data visualisation, or else you will be giving your audience a hard time figuring things out.
Tip #5: End your presentation with a positive takeaway
If you’ve admired TED talks, you may already be familiar with their presentation format. A large majority of those talks end with a positive resolution and several key messages that the audience can take away with them. Also, make sure the key takeaway messages you want your audience to remember are packaged into concise, memorable concepts for them.
Bonus Tip: Keep it simple
This rule doesn’t just apply to the presentation content, but also to the presentation design elements, including but not limited to text, imagery, etc. Simplicity is what offers your audience the mental space they need to focus on the core ideas delivered in your presentation, so it’s a good idea to save the complexity for when you deliver your actual speech.
Using the fundamentals of storytelling as a tool in your presentation can help you gain lots of traction with your audience. When you immerse your audience in your story, make it feel relatable, create a little bit of suspense, use data visualisations, and end with a positive takeaway – you’re sure to achieve the best results with your presentation.
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