What do you want your story to do for you?
When presenting a keynote, workshop, or even networking, stories are a great way to connect with your audience.
Story is a powerful persuasive strategy.
What’s your story’s purpose?
What do you want your story to do for you? For your audience?
Below are three ways you can use stories in your presentations.
1) Stories can hook or close your presentation in a poignant way.
Open or end your presentation with a story. When I presented a speech on effective storytelling, I opened with how my Grandma Shirley made an impact on me with her storytelling ability of sharing stories of her past and reading fictional tales like Mr. Grabbit. While closing a speech, I love expressing how Dr. John, a South African doctor, influenced me to always be curious and ask questions as we were trekking through the Serengeti by jeep.
2) Stories can illustrate a point.
Recently, my husband wanted to express the importance of diversity of crops and livestock to add nutrition to the soil. To explain his progress and thinking with his farming practices, he revealed a moment when he prevented our three-year old from putting treated soybeans in his mouth, acknowledging he should be planting healthy food not potential poison. His story illustrated the importance of soil health and of taking care of the land for our neighbors.
3) Stories can break up the monotony in your speech—include a story in the middle.
Audience members get restless later in the presentation, and stories break up the information, adding fun and flare. During one of my presentations, I explained how good business stories must have conflict, and communicated the story of Milton Hershey, how he failed and failed and continued to fail, but through perseverance, eventually succeeded.
Stories create suspense and pique the curiosity of your audience. Stories are a beautiful and compelling way to engage your audience, evoke empathy, and increase trust and motivate action.
Truly, stories are a great persuasive tool.
What do you want the story to do for you?
The answer: it depends on the impact you want to make.
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