Storytelling Techniques For Transforming Presentations Part 2 of 5

This is part 2 of our Storytelling Techniques for Transforming Presentations Blog series.

In Part 1 of this blog series, we answered questions that generally run through our minds even before we start putting our presentations together. In this blog, we share some learnings which are centered around delivering the story. I have yet to come across any literature on Storytelling that covers these areas.

Let’s begin

1) In practicing my delivery, do I have to give any focus to pausing at any stage?

Pausing and using silence either on commencing or within the story to give your audience a moment to feel the emotion is a skill that doesn’t come without practice, and when practiced, is magical.

Pausing gives the story you are telling some space to build the emotion and to induce anticipation in the audience. Silence draws emphasis to what was just said or what is about to come, and it allows others to contribute their own interpretation. Effectively used, it can greatly increase the impact of your story.

2) Places that I recommend you pause whilst delivering your story are:

  • just after you have delivered the unanticipated in your story
  • just after you have managed to trigger an emotion in your audiences

3) How do I begin my presentation?

In the first few seconds, or by the second slide, your audience’s right brain has informed them whether they like you or not, and this is based on how you talk, how you stand and how confident you appear. No matter how good the rest of your content is, you will never regain their attention if the first few seconds have not worked.

I recommend that you avoid generic statements like these:

Thank you for making time
I am glad to be here
We only have 30 mins
I request that you to hold your questions
Put your phones on silent

Start with something that they don’t expect. What you want your audience to start thinking and feeling from the onset is:

This person can help me
I am in for something good today
How does he/she know this about us
That is a great insight

The best way to start your presentation is either with a relevant story or a question.

3) As a way of introducing myself to the audience, can I start with a personal story?

Yes and no. Quite often, we say that starting a presentation with your story builds rapport. Yes that is true, but you never begin by selecting a personal story thinking that it is about me. On the contrary, it is all about your audience. What is more important is why that story should matter to the audience. Think of the objective and then find a story.

Objective Type of story Role
Build Credibility Compelling Insight Sales
Build Trust Personal failure story Leadership
Marketing a brand Success story from customer Marketing
Inspire Action Positive Story Various
Get Attention Negative Story Various

In Part 3 of this series, we will look at further principles of using Storytelling in Transforming Presentations

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