July 5, 2016

4 Ideas for Finding a Great Story

Spreadsheets with overloaded facts and figures are just not a compelling way to recall information. But data together with a story can resonate with the audience on both an intellectual and emotional level. Read on for tips on what stories to combine with your data.

When to Tell a Story

When is it appropriate to tell a story in a business setting? When you want to underline, highlight and emphasize your point. In other words, “The secret to storytelling is this: Make a point, tell a story,” says Bill Gove (the first president of the National Speakers Association).

In business presentations, think about what you want the audience to walk away with. Are you presenting many dry facts or giving an annual report with statistics? Illustrate your key points, the ones you want your colleagues, partners or customers to remember. Research shows that we only remember a fraction of what we hear, see and read. Whoever is listening won’t remember everything, but you have a chance to highlight what you want them to remember. The length of your story doesn’t matter as long as it fits within your allotted time and most importantly, enriches your presentation and gives it more meaning.

Finding Your Story

What exactly is a story in a business setting? It’s simply an account of an event or narrative with a beginning, middle that has some sort of conflict and a conclusion.

Four ways to a good story:

1.) Share a personal experience. This is the most effective type of story because nobody but you can tell your story better! This will allow you to connect directly with the audience and hopefully pull on some heart strings. Make sure to relate your story back to the point you are making!

2.) Stories from others: borrow a true story from a friend or go online and find something interesting. People, companies, organizations, famous or not – there are lots out there that you can grab a hold of and relate back to the point you’re making.

3.) Metaphors, tales or parables with a moral: use these to illustrate your point.

4.) Incorporate your data. What do all the numbers mean? Hunt down stories behind the scenes. Ask other colleagues for their input, obstacles and experiences with customers and bring it back to the point you are making.

Biggest key: don’t lose focus on why you are telling the story. This will keep you from random babbling, and will help you zoom in on your point creating presentation fireworks.

Coming up: 4 Approaches to Making Your Data Memorable. Essential Key tips on how to pick the right story for you that makes those dry data facts come to life.


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