8 Storytelling Tips for Your Next Presentation
In the right hands, a presentation is a powerful tool. And storytelling is one of the most effective ways to move people.
Combine them and you have a recipe for success.
When we say storytelling, the first thing that may come to mind is something that begins with “Once upon a time…” But we’re not talking about fairytales here.
In business storytelling, our goal is to simply put content into context to help you achieve your goals. To that end, this article goes over tips, ideas and the benefits of successful storytelling.
Let the story begin…
When you kick off a presentation, it’s important to have an introduction that sets the stage for what’s to come. Who are the key players in the story? What are the stakes? What is there to be gained, or lost? In other words, search Hi&Lo for ideas (see what we did there? 😏) that can help focus everyone’s attention on what matters, right from the start.
Yes, you’re awesome. (Here’s your sticker.)
But remember, as the presenter, you’re there for the audience’s benefit. The presenter is essentially a host, and it’s your job to look after and engage the audience so they become part of the narrative.
Your stories should be crafted in a way that remains relevant to the people you’ll be presenting to, because stories that aren’t relatable won’t drive the intended results. A good question to start with is, how exactly will this story matter to my audience?
Let’s face it, most presentations are…how do we put this nicely…extremely boring & uninspiring. (We tried, we really did!)
This likely stems from the fact that people aren’t quite sure where to begin when they start creating one, so they cram all their content into a handful of slides and call it a day.
We get it. We’re all busy, and at first storytelling may sound like even more work, but the reality is that it can actually save you time. By defining a clear and compelling story from the outset, you’ll be able to boil your presentation down to the bare essentials.
The result? A presentation that saves you time, is more engaging for the audience, and is much easier for people to follow.
Tales about swimming the length of the amazon river without getting wet (sounds legit 👀) are great and all, but people are much more likely to connect with your everyday experiences. So share your real life stories, because they’re what will resonate most with others.
Storytelling presentations take advantage of our both our sense of sight and hearing, which gives them a huge advantage over other forms of communication such as reports and emails.
But when using audio & visuals together, it’s imperative that what you say and what you show work together in tandem, otherwise you risk people getting confused by slides that don’t match your speech, or vice versa.
When coming up with the story for your presentation, be sure to keep both your script and your slides handy so you can cross reference them to make sure they complement one another.
As far as we know, people don’t binge watch presentations. (PowerPoint and chill, anyone?)
Of course, that’s not really the goal, but it wouldn’t hurt to use some of the entertainment world’s proven storytelling strategies to your advantage. Anytime you put something on screen, people’s expectations grow.
We’re used to our screens being a source of entertainment, so why not try to create some suspense or excitement where appropriate? Obstacles, challenges, solutions, opportunities and an inspiring vision of what’s possible can move people on an emotional level.
Storytelling simplifies. For instance, let’s say you need to explain something like how an electric car motor works to a group of non-technical people.
Storytelling presentations can be really helpful in taking complicated subjects like this and making them easier to understand.
By splitting up your complex content into multiple slides and narrating as each one builds upon the next, you’re guiding the audience toward a clearer understanding of your subject matter, just like the chapters in a textbook.
A strong conclusion is an absolute must-have, but many presentations just fizzle out at the end, likely because the presenter didn’t define a clear goal for the outcome.
Think of a movie, show or book that left you disappointed. Even though the rest of it may have been good, the ending is what you’ll remember. This is the same reason that a presentation should end on a high note; it’s what is most likely to be remembered, so you need to make it count. Give the audience a clear picture of what’s to come, or what action needs to take place after the presentation.
We hope you found these tips and ideas helpful, and wish you success with your next presentation.
Whether you’d like our team designers to review and optimize a presentation you’ve already created, or need a custom presentation design built just for you, we have services for nearly every need.