Storytelling: 3 Tips To Choose The Right Stories For Your Presentation

We all know the value that stories can bring to a speech. They add colour and life, they add interest and fun, they back up the key points, show a concept in action, and most importantly, they add audience engagement and connection.

But – they can also be self-serving, drag on, and lose your audience, so knowing which stories to use – and how and where to use them – is really important.

So how do you know which ones you should avoid, and which ones will deliver extraordinary meaning and value to your audience?

Here are 3 things to think about when looking for the right stories for your presentations:

1. If you want to share some of YOUR stories. Start by looking back at your life….. the good, the bad, and the ugly, the stories of challenge, mistakes, success, learning, the people or places that have made a difference in your life. You don’t have to have climbed Mount Everest, been in the Olympics or overcome a big trauma – or experienced a huge success – to have a compelling story.

What you’re looking for are the TRANSFORMATIONAL moments, and the events that led up to the transformational moments. These are the moments where something fundamentally changed, where you came to a new realization, where things just shifted in your world, your perspective. And new stories are happening to us every day! Be aware of them, what’s making a difference to you, and what might make a difference to your audience….

2. What if you want to use another person’s story, perhaps a client or organization that you’ve worked with?

You’ve got to start by setting the stage. What was their problem BEFORE they met you, what did you do to help them solve it, how did it help, and where are they now? A story can just as easily be a RELEVANT EXAMPLE of something that you did for someone else, or something that you witnessed.

Don’t fall into the trap of sharing a story or example simply because it’s entertaining or funny. It MUST be relevant to your audience, and relevant to your presentation topic.

3. Choose your stories carefully. Don’t be the hero of all your stories, where everything that happened to you worked out exactly as you planned, and was just fabulous. That’s not interesting or engaging –and your audience won’t connect with it.

Once you’ve got a handle on the story – or stories – that you’re going to use, then you can step out and share them in a way that adds great value to your presentation, and allows your audience to really connect with you and your message.

Good luck!

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