10 Tips for a Better PowerPoint presentation with Storytelling
Stories enrich our everyday life and make it easier for us to bear the little annoyances that the daily routine tends to have. Every person has their own biography and every day we live through moments we want to recount to others (be it in person or digitally). These moments can be full of suspense, fun, embarrassment, anger or disappointment – they always tend to be worth a chat. So why not use stories and little anecdotes from your life to weave them into your own presentation?
We continually underline the fact, how important storytelling is for presenting. This may seem quite obvious at first, but after thinking on the issue, one question seems to arise: what exactly is storytelling? How do I integrate normal stories into a presentation which is on a completely different topic (and may mainly show graphs and numbers)?
With the following 10 tips we want to give you a few ideas on this topic:
- Your story should be relevant to the subject of your topic
- A good story consists of: an interesting beginning, a main body with the most important facts, a plausible conclusion
- Develop ideas and try to connect them to an emotional story (it does not have to be your own)
- Use life itself as an inspiration – recount moments where people you know where involved and emotionally reached
- Tell a story of a problem, where the cause or the solutions correspond with your subject
- Make comparisons
- Compare opposites: before/after, past/future, problem/solution
- Tables and graphs are fast forgotten, story sticks
- The more emotional a story, the more it stays with you
- Underline your story with well-chosen graphs/images
A story is only relevant to your audience, if it thematically fits into your subject. Be sure to plan ahead of time and come up with a few stories which could match. To get inspiration, just keep your eyes and ears open – you will soon see something in your daily routine which perfectly fits to the subject you are trying to discuss with your presentation. Also try and gather everything that could be interesting concerning your company – be it newspaper clippings, pictures, videos or news on your company or its products.
So – now we still have the question what stylistic elements constitute a good story. To get an idea, take reports and documentations from the journalistic world: with an interesting introduction (headline) you get the attention of the audience. Of course the main body of the story should be interesting as well – but the main “learning” or crux of the story is always summarized in one key statement at the end. This way it will stay with the listener.
Additionally to a well-structured story, we need to think on how a story is told. If you are emotionally involved with your subject, it will be easy for you to present it in a passionate way. If not, do not despair: just take a subject you are impassionate about and find some correlations with the subject you are presenting on –emotionalize dry subjects with anecdotes from a different field.
Try not to read from a paper or recount facts; your voice may become too soothing and monotonous for the listener. It is always better to involve your audience by taking anecdotes from your real life – just stay natural. You may find a little thing that happened to you in the morning will make everyone laugh…
Another rhetoric technique is to talk about a subject-related problem which was solved. Describe the causes and symptoms of this problem and the conflicts which arose. The key message should be the solution of the problem. This way the audience will keep the success story in mind and view the subject you are presenting in a positive (solution-oriented) light.
Make comparisons – showing before/after or past/future pictures can have a big effect and makes your subject more accessible. By highlighting contrasting points, you can show the development or success of an issue in a simple manner. These types of comparisons more easily stay in a listeners mind than unclear and confusing tables and listings.
To sum it up: The more emotion you can stir in your audience, the more your presentation will stay in their memory. However, please revert from being overly melodramatic – authenticity counts as much with your audience as it does with your friends or neighbors. So why not imagine you are telling them your story?
A wisely chosen picture can be more memorable to your audience than words: always use graphs and good pictures to underline your stories (of course the picture should fit the subject). In your presentation, try to keep it simple and add a large picture/graph and hardly any text. You can also choose a good citation or an animation instead. Last Note: Always mention your source!
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