Using storytelling within your presentation is like seeing a movie in Imax 3D; you could certainly enjoy the view in a regular theater, but why not sit in an enormous plush throne with a barrel of popcorn and a soda the size of a child? Science backs up this bold claim: more parts of our brain are engaged when someone tells a story instead of sharing plain old data. Even if your presentation content is dry as the Mohave, you can apply one of these plot ideas to give it some storyteller’s magic. Here are three different ways to do so:
Everyone loves a good underdog story. It’s why Sports Illustrated sells so many magazines and Rudy makes us cry. To use the classic “underdog” story, you must first uncover who your main character is: is it you? The business you’ve created? Someone who plays a role in the presentation? Your great grandfather Joe who made you interested in finance? The second part of creating this narrative is to identify the problem, or issue the main character faces. Was it insurmountable? Terrifying? How many times did others fail trying it? And finally, give your audience a chance to root for the underdog. Is the battle still raging? Did the underdog come out on top?
The framework of the story would look a little something like this:
1. Meet the Hero
2. A Challenger Approaches
3. The “Battle”
4. The Result/The Possible Result
Painting a picture of the future is a technique used by sci fi movies throughout the ages, and can give your audience the emotional boost they need to execute your call-to-action. This kind of story could also be known as a “problem/solution” tale. It starts by identifying a current issue that you, your product, or all of humanity faces. As you unravel this problem, also be sure to appeal specifically to the audience you’ll be presenting to. Secondly, explain what would need to happen to solve the issue at hand. And finally, paint a picture of a future without this problem, being as descriptive as necessary to convince the audience that the future is bright, but only if they help by… (fill in the blank).
This outline would look a little something like this:
1. Introducing: The Problem You Know Well
2. The Solution(s) to The Problem
3. Picture This: The Problem is Gone
4. How Can You Help?
It’s happened before, and it will happen again. Take a lesson from all of the shocking, strange, hilarious, and terrifying things that have happened in human (or maybe not human?) history. This story could be an example of something similar to your goal/idea/project but failed miserably, succeeded wildly, or did nothing. Be sure to finish this story with an explanation about how your particular idea will work, be different, or succeed in the same way. Sharing a story with a little bit if history is a good way to show your authority over the subject matter and show the audience that they have nothing to worry about.
Here’s how to set up a story about the past:
1. Set the Scene
2. The Climax
3. What Happened Afterwards
4. What We Learned/Did Not Learn
Whether it’s a story about how a late night dream started your company or how your pet dog Sparky inspired a career change, your presentation and message definitely has a story behind it. Harness that tale and leave your audience “ooh-ing” and “aah-ing” like they’re seeing it all in high-definition 3D.
Question: Which storytelling technique would work for your presentation?
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