Presentations and seminars become all too familiar in the business world. Jim Speaker is there with the overhead projector and PowerPoint slides-each with four of five points. Hours later the seminar is over. Seminars are informative but can be deadly. Just give me the handout and I’ll read it at home! It takes a dynamic and charismatic presenter to step out from behind the lectern and shake up and motivate their audience.
Facts touch or mind, but it is the power that comes from stories that touch hearts. Everybody loves a story. Stories give us insight life and human nature. They can make us laugh and they can make us cry. Storytelling will go beyond the bullet points and will make a memorable impression on the heart that can change a life.
As a speaker, you can use stories to give your presentation the impact that you desire to:
• Tell inspirational stories to persuade, motivate or entertain. Use stories to illustrate the point you want to make. Try to find stories that are relevant to the audience. For example, for software engineers, tell a story about the young engineer who started a company in his garage and how Microsoft changed the world.
• Tell a story from your own experience. Make a habit of keeping a story journal and record your day’s experiences. You will have a rich supply of unique experiences to draw from to illustrate your point.
• Use gestures and acting techniques to bring your story to life. Don’t just tell your audience about a difficult client; get up and show them. Actions have a greater impact on the point you are making.
• Use description and dialogue. Take your audience into the story by using description and dialogue. Help them visualize and feel that they are part of the experience.
• Practice your story until it’s natural. Use the pacing and rhythm to communicate your message to your audience. Listen to a tape recording of yourself. Check how you have varied the tone of your voice and your speed to create the biggest impact in your story.
Remember it’s not about you; it’s about your audience. You have a great story and an important message to convey. By concentrating on your audience, you will become more confident and relaxed. This will result in your audience feeling comfortable and more receptive to your message.