Perhaps the biggest challenge when giving a presentation is finding a way to connect with your audience, but storytelling is highly effective. Stories are vital to the way humans communicate with one another and they are an essential part of our being. In terms of a presentation, stories create relevance for the audience, provide additional details and mental imagery, and they bring meaning to what could otherwise be boring, dull, or complicated topics. Storytelling is a powerful way to grab attention, hold attention, and persuade audiences to change their minds. Therefore, if you want to make the most of your next presentation, you must learn the art of storytelling.
Why Stories are So Effective
Stories have the ability to reach straight to the heart and really resonate with audience members on a personal level. Stories cause chemical, physical, and emotional responses in listeners. They make people feel certain things like trust and kindness, and in doing so the brain releases oxytocin which can intensify the bond between speaker and listener.
Stories have the power to change people’s lives. Think of a time when you listened to a story that was really powerful. These kinds of stories can inspire people to make changes in their lives. They can make you rethink the way you look at situations and can lead to fresh insights. For example, if you tell a story about a child that walks several miles a day to bring fresh water to their remote village, there’s a good chance you might be inspired to help. It can also make you rethink how fortunate you are to have access to fresh water. Stories allow people to reflect on their own life and experiences and allows them to open their minds to new experiences.
Stories also make your message more relatable. You can present for an hour and dish out facts and figures but there’s a good chance your audience will drown it out. That’s because it doesn’ relate to them on a personal level. The right stories can make your message more meaningful and interesting.
Stories also help you to establish a bond with your audience. Rather than just spitting out information, you garner more meaningful attention and earn their respect. Once you have this connection with your audience, you will have them listening to every word for the rest of your presentation.
Finally, stories make your presentation memorable. You can give a presentation with dozens of slides and bullet points but there’s a good chance your audience won’t retain any of it. Stories, on the other hand, allow you to connect with your audience in a way that bullet points and statistics cannot. Your audience will remember your story, and in turn, they will remember the main points of your presentation.