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Storytelling: The secret to effective presentation skills

A good presentation is one that inspires your audience keeping them engaged from beginning to end, this however, is easier said than done. It’s natural for our minds to wander, in fact our minds are wandering more than you might even believe – did you know that on average we have around two thousand daydreams every day? One Harvard study has found that we spend half our waking hours with our heads in the clouds and with each of our little fantasies lasting about 14 seconds our minds really are drifting here, there and everywhere! So, the question is – how can you deliver a presentation that stops minds from wandering? The secret to effective presentation skills lies within storytelling. Storytelling techniques are used by some of the most inspirational public speakers and influential presenters in the world.

Why does storytelling for presentations work?

When you hear a story your brain is put to work. Your brain responds as if it were a real experience. Think about the last time you watched a horror film, were you scared? Think about the last time you read a sad novel, did you cry? This is the reason that stories hold our attention so well, for our brain, the story is processed as if it were happening to us. We are completely and utterly absorbed.

Harnessing the power of storytelling for presentations

So, for the best presentation all you need to do is tell a story. Easy? Storytelling is an extremely powerful communication tool and harnessing that power can transform your presentations but chances are you might need a few tips and techniques to help you get the most out of storytelling.

Here are our top 5 storytelling techniques to help you ace your next presentation:

 

1. Choose the right story

Make sure the story you choose is relevant to the point you want to make in your presentation. Don’t just throw a story into the mix just for the sake of it because we said it works. Your story needs to appeal to your audience, to their needs, and their problems. It needs to be relatable. If you’re not sure, ask yourself what am I trying to say?

2. Something needs to happen

For a story to captivate your audience something needs to happen, there needs to be some sort of conflict or action. In traditional stories, it’s an evil villain that the character needs to defeat, in your presentation it might simply be a problem or struggle that your character needs to overcome.

3. Create drama & suspense

Every good story needs a beginning middle and end. That’s what you were taught in school right? Well it’s not necessarily true. Sometimes, a resolution isn’t always needed to make a story complete. Leaving your audience hanging can create suspense & drama. It can be especially useful when you’re trying to illustrate a point in a presentation too.

4. Get personal

Don’t be afraid to be human and show emotion. By getting personal you open yourself up to your audience. This can make you feel vulnerable but it will allow your audience to feel empathy and understand where you’re coming from and this can be hugely persuasive.

The details are what help to create a picture in the minds of your audience. Be specific, the little details can strike a chord and bring your story to life. Use imagery to make your story more memorable.

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