Tips for Using Stories in Your Next Presentation

There is power in storytelling during presentations. Stories help you connect with and inspire your audience by providing a narrative that they relate to. You should consider using stories in your next presentation.

Many presentations have a main storyline, or a problem-resolution type of structure. This type of storytelling for business is extremely common in professional presentations because of its direct, persuasive nature. This includes highlighting a problem, providing an accompanying solution, and leaving a call to action.

The more versatile approach to storytelling, however, is recounting short, meaningful anecdotes to support your main point. These kinds of stories are a more roundabout way of conveying an idea, compared to the more straightforward tactics that storytelling for business employs.

We are hard-wired to pay attention to stories; research shows that our brain releases oxytocin when we hear convincing ones. This chemical leaves us feeling cooperative and empathetic.

Stories can serve a variety of purposes when used in a presentation setting. Here's a bit more about integrating stories into your next presentation:

Why Tell Stories?

Stories can show the struggles and success of customers who used your product or service. They can clearly illustrate a point. They can inject some humor into your speech. People love a well-told story that teaches them something new, and they are more likely to connect with this kind of presentation tactic than with numbers and data or complex ideas.

Stories are also better at taking—and keeping—your audience’s attention. Listening to a story is an experience that requires your audience to take part in your presentation rather than just listening passively. Storytelling can illustrate your point in a way that your audience will understand and remember later on.

Storytelling Tips

There are many ways that you can add stories to your presentation. Follow one or more of these tips if you’re unsure about how to do so:

Start Your Presentation with A Story to Capture Attention

Make the audience want to listen to your presentation by telling a story in your presentation’s crucial first five minutes. You want to make your audience care about what you’re saying immediately. 

Sharing a fascinating story that brings an important issue to life will grab their attention immediately. Look at your audience’s needs, fears, and desires and tell an appropriate story that will tug at their heartstrings.

Add Visuals to Your Story

Stories are good—you can make them even better with the right visuals. Science proves that our brain processes information 90% faster with images compared to words. Enrich your presentation by adding a high-quality slide deck made by a professional PowerPoint presentation designer.

Make the Story Personal

You probably shouldn't search the web for an anecdote or recycle a story you’ve heard before. It’s convenient to use stories about famous people like Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk, but your audience has likely heard their stories a thousand times.

Instead of Googling a story, share something relevant to your topic that is personal to you. You’re more connected on a personal level which makes your audience more likely to connect with you.

Share an On-Topic Story

When including a story in your presentation, make sure that it’s relevant to your topic and is helping you drive your point further. For example, if you’re talking about leadership, don’t tell a story that centers around a completely different topic.

Metaphors and anecdotes must blend seamlessly into your slides and presentation to make your presentation feel organic and personal to your audience.

End Your Presentation With a Story for a Seamless Conclusion

A good presentation can open with a story, end with a story, or begin and end with parts of the same story. The last few minutes of a presentation are arguably the most important, and you want them to be remembered. Choosing to tie up any themes, ideas, or action items with a story is a highly persuasive method. You’ll bring the presentation to a  beautiful end, taking your audience full circle in the journey you took together.

The Takeaway

The right stories can add that extra bit of flair your presentation needs to effectively reach your audience and convey your message. What are you waiting for? Brush up on your storytelling skills and start thinking about the right one to add to your next presentation.

To help get your message across and keep your audience’s attention, Kristian Olson Art & Design is at your service. I understand the power of storytelling during a presentation, and I’m ready to design the perfect slide deck to accompany your captivating delivery.

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