I recently heard a wonderful answer to the question, “Do I need to tell a story to get my point across?” The answer: “No, unless you want your audience to remember your point.” This is a rare occasion where I have to give credit to “anonymous”. Actually, I’m just not sure who it was that said it, but it is an answer worthy of note.
Why is it worthy, you ask? Because so many professional, successful speakers will tell you that telling a story to make your point is the key to success as a speaker. Yet some speakers rely on “Really” and “Seriously” to help their audience see the importance of what their saying, and the don’t realize how their effectiveness is reduced.
I was fortunate to hear a presentation recently, where a friend of mine was discussing a method she had created. She used a common word as an acronym (i.e. T.A.L.K. or H.U.M.A.N.) and described what each letter stood for. Then, she launched into a story about a very relevent experience where she had used this method to be successful. I say relevent because it was an example that either could have or soon could happen to any (or most) of the audience.
While it was obvious to me how people were paying attention to her and learning from the initial part of the presentation, when she was into the story, I could see more heads nodding (in agreement, not sleep) and more pens (including mine) jotting down notes than before. This technique worked well for her presentation, and she did a fantastic job of making her points and her acronym memorable.
Having said that, there was a method she could have used to take it up a notch, by integrating the story into the acronym points, and making the entire presentation flow from one letter to then next. In fairness, the speech would have been valuable without the story, but probably not as memorable for many in the audience.
There are a variety of methods to incorporate storied into your presentations effectively, and in future posts I’ll cover as many of them as I can. I’ll even include some quotes with the real author’s name, where appropriate…