You’re standing in front of a group of strangers with 45 slides behind you.
You have 15 minutes to get your point across, but already you can feel your throat closing up and you’re beginning to questioning whether or not you’ll make it through in one piece.
This is a horribly stressful experience and comes hand in hand with not having confidence in your public speaking or presentation abilities. We here at All Good Tales are big believers in the idea that storytelling can make even the most daunting of speeches, more relaxed and easier to manage, and here’s why.
You’re relaxed when you’re doing something you know
As a small child, telling a story is one of the first things you instinctively teach yourself how to do. Since you told your first story all those years ago you have probably told one almost every single day of your life.
We as humans are natural storytellers, and we engage with stories across multiple platforms every day so it makes sense to use them to your advantage.
Presentations, speeches and pitches can be difficult on many levels, especially when you aren’t confident in your abilities. It can be easy to get worked up by the thought of how many minutes you have to stand in front of a group of people, or how many slides you have to make it through without losing your audience’s attention.
However, taking a minute to breathe and to talk about something that you know well will relax you and ease you into the more difficult task of facts and figures.
Achieve flow and boost engagement
Studies have shown that stories are up to 22x more memorable than just facts alone when you’re trying to deliver a message. That means by employing them in your work you are instantly giving yourself a huge boost in audience engagement.
People are much more likely to listen intently and absorb what you’re saying if they can relate your points back to their own lives. We all like to feel connections, and that’s what you are doing by opening up with an anecdote or story, you are letting other people in and when someone feels more connected to you they are more likely to listen to what you have to say.
One of the things that can be detrimental to engagement in a presentation setting is when the speaker begins to ramble. It’s easy to start rambling when you are trying to regurgitate facts or when you feel like your audience is losing interest. But with stories you can bring your audience on a journey.
You have definitive beginning, middle and end points that you decide on. This structure can be used to tie your whole presentation together, while also creating a more interesting hook to hold the attention of those in front of you.
Stories bring your company to life
Would you rather be seen as serious and uniform, or engaging and energetic? To make your company burst out ahead of your competitors you need to break the mold of traditional fact sharing and show off your personality and enthusiasm. You can learn the facts about any company by giving them a quick search online, but to really get to know the ethos and the ambitions of that company you need more.
When you’re not confident in what you’re doing, it’s easy to opt for sharing that simple online summary of your work, but adding in an element of storytelling be it in person or in your ‘About’ section will bring your company to life in a new way. On top of that your name and objectives will become much more memorable as a result.
How can you use storytelling to your advantage
Sure it seems like a daunting task to entirely shake up the way you make presentations and speeches, but it really doesn’t have to be. It’s an opportunity to become more comfortable, and bring more of yourself to the table.
Starting off you can take a simple approach, why not try to include a short anecdote at the start of your next presentation, even something small that happened to you recently and then relate this story back to what you’re going to speak about.
You could also pick a theme and begin to work your presentation around stories that flow with the points you need to make. You could even take your presentation and turn it into a story, plot it out with a defined story arc, inject some personality and you’ll find your flow in no time at all.