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Methods to convey content

Structure your session clearly | Entertainment | Engage your audience

Storytelling

Stories are not only for children. People, no matter which age, like to listen to stories as it easier for them to relate to stories than to hard facts. Stories establish familiarity and trust between the audience and the storyteller.
Inspiration for stories can come from anywhere. Still it is important to keep two things in mind:

  • The story needs to have some link with the topic you are presenting! Otherwise it interrupts your actual presentation, instead of contextualizing it.
  • The audience should not know the story! This takes away some of their excitement and hence reduces the attention-getting effect.

How to use stories (adapted from totalcommunicator.com)

  • Make your stories relevant to the experience and interests of your audience. Each story should have a point to it that your listeners can easily grasp and readily identify with.
  • A story shall quickly clarify or support a point you are making. 2-3 minutes should suffice.
  • A story is meant to put information into perspective, contextualize it.
  • A good story paints a picture. It helps your listeners ‘see’ what you are saying.
  • You need to be comfortable telling a story.

The advantage of stories in comparison to intentions to convince people with hard facts is that people follow a storyteller, while as soon as they start thinking when listening to hard facts, they have the choice of following or rejecting an idea. Therefore, stick to what Presenting to Win’s Jerry Weissman says over and over: “Don’t make the audience think. Tie those prosaic facts in with an engaging story to bring home your main idea. Show your audience why they should care; don’t leave them hunting for a reason.” (www.sliderocket.com/blog/2012/04/business-storytelling/)

To polish your story:
Make use of your acting skills. Do not exaggerate, but your facial expressions and gestures can help you underline your point. Just think of how much people can say through their eyes…

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