Let me tell you a story…

Let me tell you a story... while presenting Janice Haywood

Let me tell you a story…

If you want your presentation to stand out, never just stick to facts.

Of course, in many business presentations facts are important, but facts penetrate the brain very slowly. If you want your audience to remember your talk, (which I’m sure you do, otherwise why are you presenting?),you need to communicate to engage their heart not just their head, and stories are a great way of doing that.

Stories make facts come alive; stories give facts an emotional context and when we are touched emotionally, we remember.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Maya Angelou 1928 – 2014

I love this example from the book ‘ That Presentation Sensation’ by Martin Conradi and Richard Hall; they compare talking about railway timetables in a factual way and how (UK) trains are often delayed for a myriad of reasons , or via a personal anecdote which adds richness and your own personal perspective.

So if you relate the “saga of your journey on the 8.19 with the broken window and the rain coming in and the man with the funny hat and the connection you failed to get at 8.56 as there was a cow on the line called Freda so you had to get the 9.07 where you were the only man sitting in a group of 20 nuns and what they said about the ticket inspector…” well, even timetables as a topic can have their attraction.

When we use personal experiences which relate to factual content we are essentially providing emotional hooks for the audience to grab onto. In the process, we become more human to the audience, more friendly and approachable which ultimately endears the audience to us and improves the chances of getting our ideas accepted.

Next time you have to present or speak in public, take some time to think where you can add a personal anecdote into your content. As you start to use this technique more and more, you’ll quickly see and appreciate the positive vibes that come out of it which will automatically do wonders for your confidence with future presentations.

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My mission is to help employees in multinational companies learn the skills and techniques they need to give outstanding presentations in English and receive the visibility and recognition they deserve.

feel confident and engage with your audience Janice Haywood