Telling stories is a compelling way of presenting because people relate to them. Structuring your presentation with a clear narrative will make your presentation easier to follow and much more memorable. We are hard-wired to engage with and remember stories; one study on students at Stamford suggested that stories are about 12 times more memorable than statistics alone! If you can work this into your professional presentation, it will be both informative and engaging. Here are some tips for how to do just that…
Before you jump into creating your presentation, make sure you have a clear idea of the structure you want to follow. If you don’t, it’s easy for important details to get lost amongst everything else. It’s also easy to get caught in the trap of moving from topic to topic. You’ll be able to follow your own logic, perhaps, but your audience won’t. Remember, some audience members may have never seen this information before and therefore will need more context, delivered in a clear structure to assist them in remaining engaged.
Keep in mind that people have a short attention span, so try to stick to one message per slide. A good rule to follow is going back through the deck headings – you should be able to get a quick overview of what the presentation was about just by reading those. The heading of the slides is a storyboard in itself.
Don’t leave the audience guessing! Not only do you need a clear structure for your overall presentation, but you also need to consider this on a slide-by-slide basis. Following a narrative will not only make your presentation more engaging, but it will also ensure that your audience walks away with a clear understanding of your message.
What is the question you’re setting up? What is the evidence you are presenting and what is the conclusion?
Try and follow the below structure:
- Header – this is the point you’re trying to make
- Content – this should be the evidence. An example of this may be a chart showing the stats or a graph showing a clear trajectory.
- Bottom (also known as the ‘Kicker’) – this should be your ‘so what?’ section – the conclusion or the action that needs to be taken to support the slide.
Keep in mind the rule of three. All great stories have a beginning middle and end and the same can be said about great presentation.
If you can master these techniques, not only will your presentation be more engaging but also clearer and concise.
To learn more about the steps you can take to make to master the techniques of storytelling in presentations, email firstname.lastname@example.org.