Why stories are the secret sauce to great presentations

You want to give a great presentation.

One that knocks the socks off your audience, leaving them energized and you fulfilled.

So you go on Google, buy a ‘how-to’ public speaking book, or even take the plunge and get a speech coach. You’ve done your research, got your tips and you’re told that if you want to give a great presentation you need to:

Sound familiar?

You follow these tips but to your disappointment, you give an average presentation.
The audience seems happy enough but you know there is another level because you’ve heard and seen better speakers.
You feel disappointed.

 

You’ve prepared, practiced and done your research so you start thinking that it’s your fault and you just aren’t cut out to be a speaker, right…?
Wrong!

 

Yeah, it makes sense to “be yourself on stage” and “make eye contact”.
those things are important — but following that advice alone just won’t cut it.
Let’s face it, there is a reason why some presentations hit a home run and others just about keep an audience awake.
After speaking in a variety of places, and coaching lots of speakers I truly believe that there is a secret sauce to great presentations and it’s
Yes, storytelling.
Storytelling is the one thing that you can add to your presentation that is an absolute game-changer.

 

Stories help turn ordinary speeches into unforgettable experiences.
You just simply can’t afford not to them in your presentations and here’s why.

 

 

Your audience needs some dope

Recently I was booked to speak to an audience of uni grads and I had to explain to them why stories work.

 

After a five-minute story, which they enjoyed, I could see and hear their positive responses so I turned to them and said, “Do you know what just happened?”

They looked confused

I said, “ I just gave you some dope! No, I’m not talking about the drug, I’m talking about the dopamine chemical that I’ve just helped you brain release ”.
You see, when you are listening to a well-told story, dopamine is released in the brain.
Dopamine helps to regulate emotional responses and keeps people engaged and curious.
Neuroscientist, Uri Hasson, writes that “a story is the only way to activate parts in the brain so that a listener turns the story into their own idea and experience.”
When we experience an emotional event, our brain releases dopamine which aids memory.
Here’s what Psychology Today magazine had to say about dopamine:

 

 

 

If you want your audience members to trust you more, connect deeper with you, and remember what you said, then tell an emotionally rich story.

Never ramble again

 

If you ever struggle to remember what you say and start rambling on stage, it’s usually because your presentations are missing stories.Click To Tweet
If you are telling personal stories, it’s usually because they have happened to you and are logged in your subconscious mind.
You are not trying to remember what happened — you actually lived this event and your story is a part of you.
It is a lot harder to memorise a bunch of facts and stats, which is the reason behind a lot of speakers’ rambling. The blessing of storytelling is that every time you tell a story it gets easier to tell, easier to remember and your delivery will get better!

Refuse to be boring

It’s easy to understand why audiences look dull and bored during a presentation.
If you focus on facts, statistics, and research, your audience will struggle to stay awake.
Telling stories in your presentation will stop that.
When you tell stories you transport your audience to a realm of imagination and creativity which is instantly engaging and can be extremely entertaining.
Here is an example of a story about my oldest daughter that I’ve told onstage and online.
It’s a simple story but it makes a point and entertains, and also gets a laugh whenever I tell it.

 

 

 

Stories give your audience the opportunity to partner in your presentation because they require your audience to use their imagination.
Think about it.

 

Why does an audience laugh, cry or clap during a presentation? It’s usually because they are recreating scenes in their imagination and reacting to what they have created.

 

When you are describing a character, setting a scene in your story, or even having a dialogue between two characters, your audience is creating a mental movie — it’s like taking them to the cinema for five minutes.

 

Stories help your audience leave reality so that they can change their reality.

 

Good stories contain conflict, emotions, lessons, struggles… They will involve humor, movement, and vocal variety.
These elements will ensure your audience aren’t bored and that your presentation rocks.

Dive in

If you are not already telling stories in your presentations, what are you waiting for?
Now that you know the magical effects of storytelling you no longer have to feel drained or disappointed after you’ve given a presentation. You can leave your next presentation knowing that your message rocked the stage and that your message will live in the mind and emotions of your audience. That feeling is priceless.
You are one story away from your best speech ever!
Try telling more stories in your next presentation — your audience will love you for it.

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