Storytelling Techniques for Transforming Presentations Part 3 of 5

This is our 3rd blog on Storytelling Techniques for Transforming Presentations

For those who have missed Part 1 and Part 2, the questions I answer in Storytelling Techniques for Transforming Presentations blog series are  questions I have been asked by clients. So, this blog series is a curation of answers to those questions.

In this blog we will answer only 1 question. Why ? Because, it is the number one thing to get right when you are telling a story.
Q)  “I am constantly told to connect with the audience but how do I connect with the audience?”

A) Being told to create a connection is right but as a speaker when you are told to do so, you feel like a dancer who is told to work on the chemistry with your dance partner. Its rather obscure to work on connection and chemistry right ?

There are 3 practical ways to create a connection with the audience and we will cover 1 way in this blog.

LANGUAGE : Use language that you are comfortable using in informal enviorenments.

That is how we naturally speak and just because we are presenting we should not start speaking a language that makes us sound intelligent but is a barrier to developing a connection with audience. Ensuring the appropriatness of the informal language is a given.

Lets look at some words that are used so much that they have little meaning now

*Here is a research by PR Guru Adam Sherk who analysed the words used in corporate communications, and the results are devastating

Leader 161,000
Leading 44,900
Best 43,000
Top 32,500
Unique 30,400
Great 28,100
Solution 22600
Largest 21,900
Innovation 21800
Innovator 21,400

Now, we all know there can only be one leader but 161,000 companies think they are.

My personal pet hate is the word –  customer centric. Every time you use these words, two things happen – the audience  yawns or you are saying – we are like everyone else. Ironically, the more we try to be different, the more things sound the same.

So, what shall we do?

KEEP IT SIMPLE : The simpler the language the better it is. “Less is more” . Avoid complex details as well as the use of adjectives and complicated nouns. Using simple language is the best way to activate regions of the brain that help us relate to the story and storyteller. Rather than saying,

” At the heart our success in FY 2014 was embedded our ability to be a customer centric organisation. Just say, ” One of the reasons we succeeded last year was because we stayed focussed on keeping our customers happy.

USE LOTS OF  of  “LOTS” : Gary Lyons , senior coach at The TAI Group suggests that the key to engage is to use lots of “language of the senses,” or LOTS. When telling a story, share  what you see, smell, feel, taste, and hear. When you trigger a sense in someone, you bring them into the story with you.

Overall, just remember as a storyteller your aim is NOT to IMPRESS but to EXPRESS. Impression is a natural outcome 

Our next blog will cover 2 other ways to make a connection with the audience

* Source: The Challenger Sales -Mathew Dixon and Brent Adamson.

Image Source : Shawn Econo Flickr


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