6 Storytelling Tips for Engaging Presentations

A man presenting in front of a crowd

A tradition, that once appeared lost, has been revitalized and is taking the business world by storm. Storytelling is now taught in business and marketing courses around the globe, and big business thought leaders are queuing up to learn how to tell engaging stories.

That is because stories like these act like the perfect buttress for achieving organizational goals. These stories do not only inspire, they also illustrate how running a business is like a journey in which every single contributor has an important role to play. In this way, storytelling can be used to convince employees to work smarter. Read on to learn exactly how storytelling techniques can be used in presentations.

Show, Don’t Tell, Your Intentions

When you are clear on what your goal is for a particular presentation, you can work on finding a story that represents the goal in a clear way, without directly stating it. It should be clear from the story what your intentions are. Ask someone you trust to listen to the story, and see if they can easily deduce the point that you are trying to make.

Jump Straight into the Action

Skip the long intro. Don’t waste time with a long explanation. Instead, take your listeners straight into the heart of the story, and engage them, using your body and voice to draw them into the story with you. Your body and voice are an instrument that, when used well, can sweep up an audience and carry them along on the thrilling ride that is your story.

Sprinkle in Detail

By carefully dosing out detail while you are telling the story, you will engage different areas in the brains of listeners. As a result, your story suddenly becomes much more memorable. Sensory descriptions are particularly good at lighting up certain areas of the brain to do with memory. Try to describe how somethings looks, feels or tastes by using as many senses as possible. Carefully choose apt adjectives, but don’t overdo it. Too much detail can be overwhelming, and it will leave listeners tired.

Lock Eyes with Your Audience

It is common during a presentation to look over the heads of your audience. If you do this well, your audience can’t really tell if you’re looking at someone or not. But if you want for your story to hit home, you should make direct eye contact with members of your audience. So, direct different parts of your story to different audience members. Keep this focus for about four to seven seconds. If possible, try to cover everyone in your audience before the end of your presentation.

Add a Dash of Poetry

Imagine a presentation by an accountant that starts with the line: “Numbers talk to me.” Immediately the audience has an image in mind of a man who can analyze numbers and quickly turn that information into concrete plans for makings savings or increasing profit. The image has been presented, and now the audience is dying to find out how he does it. So, all he has to do is to bolster the image with good examples in the form of anecdotes.

Don’t Be Afraid of Meaningful Silences

Standup comedians often use pauses to give their audience time to digest a joke. Sometimes it takes more than a few seconds for the penny to drop! These mini-pauses can also be used after an important message or detail in your story. If there is something that you want your audience to remember, or if you want to emphasize something, pauses help to draw attention to a particular part of the story. Pauses also help to create a natural rhythm in your presentation by making sure that you aren’t speaking too fast.

All-purpose words and stock phrases should be left at home. They have no place in a storytelling presentation. Instead, tell a real story and let your meaning emerge from between the lines of the tale you weave. Draw your audience into your story, and make them feel good. That is how true leaders and managers inspire their people to work better.

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