Storytelling in business presentations has hidden influence


girl reading story under blanket on tablet

Storytelling in business presentations can have a significant impact on the way we influence our audience.

Each of us have stories to tell which hold the wisdom and power to influence, inspire and connect with others.

Storytelling in business presentations connect people emotionally

In a world of ‘noises’ and distractions, our audience need more.

Information on it’s own isn’t enough

People can read information easily for themselves

Emails, texts, social media, instant messaging, the media, our boss, colleagues and customers.

These, together with report after report after report; we are all drowning in information.

We do need the information but there is a better way of sharing it

A way to share information on an emotional as well as an intellectual level.

The most effective way to help people to learn, connect and engage emotionally to any important message is through telling storytelling.

Storytelling in business presentations move peopleto action

When people are presenting to others in a business setting most of the audience will already know who is on the platform.

Your audience will have two questions for you before you utter a word.

The first question is:

Who are you really? 

They should already know your name and position.

The second is:

Why are you here?

In other words, what do you have to tell me that is so important that you couldn’t just send me in an email?

Most of us have sat through presentations where speakers have just ‘dumped’ information onto us

We are much wiser and need to know right from the start theywe can trust and believe in you.

Storytelling in business presentations help people to decide whether they can

Many presenters work under the bold assumption that by sharing the information, their audience will get the message.

Some will but many won’t

Facts have greater impact when given context by a good story.

Storytelling in business presentations involves

1. Using your hands

Trying to tell a story with impact without using your hands to gesture is like trying to cross the Atlantic Ocean on a bicycle.

You can try it but I promise, you won’t get very far.

Using your hands effectively in a presentation doesn’t mean you have to throw them wildly around like you’re being attacked by a swarm of bees.

Hand gestures can be far more subtle yet extremely powerful

If you’re telling a story about something that was really big, use your hands to simulate big.

If it was really tall or tiny, make it tall or tiny with your hands.

When you were nervous, make your hands tremble.

If you made a phone call in the story use your hands to make a phone call too, even though you aren’t holding a phone.

2. Using your face

Do you remember the last time you asked your partner, a colleague or a friend what was wrong with them because they didn’t look very happy and they replied saying ‘nothing’, but you knew differently?

Their words said one thing but their face told a completely different story.

If what you say isn’t matched by the way you say it in the facial expressions you use then the visible incongruence will not only create distrust it will render your story meaningless.

When you tell a story you need to relive it with your face too

If you were happy, look happy.

If you were angry look angry again.

If you were excited, sad, confused or depressed, look like that too.

Your face can communicate your message in an instant much better than words.

3. Using your body

If you’re telling a story in which there were two main characters, use your entire body to play both of them.

When you’re speaking as the first be the first .

When you respond as the second, switch to being the second.

You may be telling a story about yourself as a concerned parent talking to a completely disengaged teenaged son or daughter.

You remember what both looked like, so you can be both. You may be sharing an experience you had with a sullen boss while you were the anxious employee.

You can be both of those too

It may be subtle changes in the way you hold your head, shoulders or the way you stand and move.

Perhaps it requires a complete change in your posture.

4. Using your voice

Many presenters use only a tiny proportion of their vast vocal range to connect with their audience.

It’s a shame because our voice is the greatest asset we have when it comes to presenting with impact.

When you’re telling a story you have a vault of vocal tools at your disposal to bring your story to life.

You can emphasise any point you wish to make by adjusting your volume, tone, pitch or pace.

You can pause, speed up or slow down to create any impact you wish to make.

You can use your voice to excite and energise your audience.

Conversely, you can use it to make them feel concerned

You can be your belligerent mother-in-law, your autocratic boss, angry customer or over excited teenager.

It’s all within your gift.

A word of caution though; if you’re not good at mimicking accents, then don’t.

5. Using your memory

The best story tellers don’t just tell a story they relive it and help their audience to experience it with them.

Despite the fact that most people spend a disproportionate amount of time telling others how bad their memory is, it’s not really true.

By far the most powerful way to tell a story is to remember as much detail as you possibly can and to relive the story as you share it with your listeners.

A prerequisite to influencing others is getting them to trust and be comfortable with you.

Help them to see that you are just like them

You can give them the facts all day long but that won’t necessarily create the common connection and understanding you need to inspire them to believe and act on your message.

A good story well told will

If you’d like to learn more about storytelling in business presentations:

– Book yourself onto a powerful public speaking course.

– Invest in some really good one to one public speaking coaching.

– Get yourself some excellent presentation training

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