Donald Miller is an author, presenter, and entrepreneur who knows a thing or two about excellent storytelling. He’s the CEO of StoryBrand, which is a company designed to help brands and business owners use storytelling to clarify their messages, provide more value, and make a bigger impact.
His StoryBrand approach has helped countless professionals elevate their brands to the next level, and it also happens to be a great guide for how to tell a killer story with your next presentation.
We’ve outlined Miller’s approach below, but we also recommend keeping your eye on him and his website as he’s always sharing helpful storytelling tips and tricks.
Cut the Clutter; Find Clarity
When you know a lot about a topic, it’s tempting to want to share everything you can about it, but doing so will hurt you in the end. A great story is one that makes complete sense to your audience. It should present a crystal clear path to understanding that your audience can easily walk down.
That being said, rather than present a random series of events, facts, and figures, your presentation should have a select few pre-decided points (AKA plots) that are thoughtfully organized to tell a clear, compelling story. If you find that you’re trying to discuss more than three or four main points and those points aren’t clearly interconnected, chances are, you’re trying to say too much.
Stick to a Simple Structure
There are infinite ways to tell a story, but some are more effective than others. Miller’s tried and true approach to storytelling structure is quite simple: Someone has a problem; that person meets a guide who gives them a plan and a call to action to solve that problem; and said action is a success or failure.
The beauty of this structure is that it’s one we’re all familiar with. From childhood, we’re told stories that follow it to a tee, so it’s one your audience will be comfortable receiving. Moreover, adhering to this simple structure helps to ensure your message is clear and straightforward while being rid of any excess information cluttering up your main points.
The Story Trumps the Editorial
A lot of presenters spend most of their talk editorializing and use the story as a way to drive their points home, but Miller argues that going the opposite route is more effective. That’s because, if your story is great, that’s what your audience is going to pay the most attention to. They’ll use the story to relate and identify with your message as well as consider ways it applies to their own lives.
Additionally, according to research, humans are able to remember stories much better than data. Therefore, letting your story be the bulk of your presentation makes it easier for your audience to understand and retain the information you’re sharing than if you spent all your time presenting facts and figures that they’ll soon forget.
Want more hands-on help designing your next presentation? Then check out Ethos3’s presentation design services at Ethos3.com.
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