What sets the best presenters apart? It all comes down to understanding the difference between giving a presentation and telling a story. Here are five storytelling strategies to help you stand out the next time you give a presentation.
- Craft a narrative. A story is a connected series of events told through words and pictures. It has a theme, attention-grabbing moments, heroes and villains, and a satisfying conclusion.
- Pair your text with images. Researchers have found that your audience will recall about 10% of your message if they simply hear information. But if they hear information and see a picture, they’ll retain 65%.
- Humanize data. Data is abstract until it’s put into context that people can understand. So make your statistics more memorable by putting a face to them.
- Surprise your audience. The human brain pays attention to novelty — twists and turns and unexpected events. Our brain perks up when we detect something that breaks a pattern.
- Rehearse — out loud. Practice your vocal delivery, adding perfectly timed pauses and varying the pace of your speech. If you plan to stand in front of a group, stand during your rehearsal. If you’re going to be seated in a Zoom call, take a seat, and deliver each slide as though you’re giving the real thing.