Using stories in your presentations- Stay away from fig rolls

I’ve always been captivated by stories, whether it’s listening to them or reading them. As a child I loved nothing more than perching myself on the end of my Grandma’s mustard coloured couch with fancy tassels around the base and listening to her tales. With a cup of Vimto in hand and a plate full of fig rolls I sat captivated as she told me her tales of World Wars 1 and 2. I’m not sure why but she always filled me full of fig rolls. I was regular if nothing else.

She described the things she saw in minute detail to the point that I felt as if I had been thrown into a Tardis and transported back to a war torn Wigan in 1943.  She described her thoughts, feelings, emotions, her loss, the sadness and the joy that post war brought to her and her family. I was absolutely engrossed and I remember never wanting her to stop. I didn’t move for hours, well, apart from intermittent toilet stops I had to take due to the onslaught of fig rolls.

When I’m working with my Clients, I always try to encourage them to tell stories as part of their presentations. Stories help to bring presentations to life. The audience aren’t expecting it. They are expecting a traditional structure and then up you pop with a refreshing way of delivering your message. The audience will love it – you’ll definitely have them listening intently.

My Grandma’s stories always had a captivating beginning, an enthralling middle and a gripping end. Make sure your stores have a clear:

Beginning – To give your story a clear context

Middle – Describe what happened (-remember to paint a visual picture for your audience)

End – Talk about the result or outcome and link it back to your presentation topic.

Dig deep into your memory bank. Think of the tales you could tell. Relevant stories from your childhood, your first job, a previous team you managed, ex-managers (good and bad), your children etc. You can always recite stories you have heard others tell, or use recent news items.

The great thing about stories is that you can be you. It’s your story so as the presenter you come to life. There’s no need for notes as your story is coming from the heart – it’s real, so you won’t forget it.

Stories are memorable, inspiring and timeless. So don’t just give your audience fig rolls to fill them up – give them a good old story to fill their imaginations and they’ll no doubt want to come back for more (-stories that is, not fig rolls.)