What time is it? How much longer? That’s what I used to think when I would have to go to those 3-day planning meetings at a former company.

Sitting there, watching one PowerPoint presentation after another I would struggle to stay awake. The worst were the ones with terrible presenters who used slides with the teeny tiny bullet points, loaded with facts and data. It was a snooze-fest for all.

Does anyone like this style of presentation?

Interestingly, I do love data. I can look at data and formulate and test hypotheses over and over… but when I had to watch someone drop 20 data points in 3 minutes? I was pretty much sleeping with my eyes open.

Have you been in that situation?

Presentation software like PowerPoint can be so effective is used well, but unfortunately, people use it as a script of what they are about to say. There is much more power in storytelling. I love to go to a presentation where someone gets up and tells a personal story that is interesting and helps shape the topic being discussed. Stories give people something to relate to. And truthfully, it’s easier to remember stories than a series of numbers (at least for most people).

The best speakers engage with people. Speakers need to engage with their audience and it is very satisfying to see the audience nodding their heads yes while smiling in agreement. That’s when you know you have reached them, you have made an impact.

Storytelling is an art. It has been around for 1000s of years as an effective way of educating, influencing and introducing concepts and ideas.

And although data slides do have a place in some presentations, it is worth it to replace slides with stories where possible.

Stories don’t need to be true, some can be scenarios. They don’t have to be your real-life experiences, they can be someone else’s, but they need to be based in reality. Storytellers who make up stories which aren’t realistic lose credibility after a while.

Here are tips for storytelling:
✔️ The message is important, so is the story. If the story is not believable, the message will get lost.
✔️ Don’t use the same formula (e.g., issue, incident, resolution, moral) every time. Be creative.
✔️ Tell stories reflective of your experience level. (Your audience will often know your background and work experience.)
✔️ Don’t use stories to promote your value by regularly saving the day or sharing successes. When it seems excessive, storytellers lose credibility.

Stories can be a more effective way to share your point than just stating an opinion. It’s worth trying and can make your presentation more enjoyable for the reader.

Turn off the slides and speak to and connect with the audience.

Photo Credits: Pixabay

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