Exceptional Presenters are Great Storytellers

effective presenters

Effective Presenters Always Tell a Story

Effective presenters all have one thing in common. They are excellent storytellers!  Connecting with your audience on an emotional level can be accomplished by the art of storytelling, which makes it easier to pull them in and keep them engaged.

The question I am asked most often by participants in our Effective Presentation Skills workshop is, “How do I engage an audience?” If you’ve ever felt the need to grab an audience and move them to take action, nothing will get their attention like a well-told story.  To become a truly effective presenter, you need to master the art of storytelling.

In classrooms, boardrooms and at the feet of parents around the world, stories are used to sell ideas, educate and communicate ideas more effectively. So, how do you become a great storyteller? How do you take an ordinary idea or concept and bring it to life with a story that moves people to take action? The following ideas will help you to become an effective and exceptional presenter though the art of storytelling.

Tell Personal Stories

Go to the best source for great stories. You!  Most exceptional speakers draw upon their own life experiences to create a narrative that their audience can easily relate to. When we tell personal stories, we’re able to do it with excitement and passion. Passion is contagious, people respond when we speak with great conviction and enthusiasm.

Learning to find the great stories in our life is easy if you possess a great memory. But, most of us don’t. A better way to remember your stories is to write down or record anything that makes you laugh, cry, get angry, etc. You’ll want to be very detailed, because over time you’ll forget the finer and perhaps more humorous parts. Take these stories and think about the life lesson you derived from each experience. Then, the next time you need to drive home a point, you can pull one of these from your storytelling toolbox and effectively present your ideas.

Know Your Audience

When telling a story, always make sure that it has a point and that it’s relevant.  As with visual aids, make sure that the story supports your presentation and doesn’t become the presentation. A good story is simply another tool for you to use, it should help to illustrate your point and not the other way around.

Knowing your audience will help you decide what is appropriate. As with your tone, energy and attire, the story you tell will change based on who is in your audience. Bring a story that connects with who they are and to which they can easily relate.

Effective presenters understand the emotion of stories, and create compelling and inspiring ways to use them in their presentations. Some stories make us laugh and others make us cry, while others make us think or cause us to question our existing paradigms. Ultimately though, they should move your audience to action as this should be the goal of every great presenter. By developing the art of exceptional storytelling, you too can become an effective presenter. Get started filling your storytelling toolbox today!

19 Responses

  1. For creative professionals, the art of storytelling is a valuable tool to have on hand. The public at large is becoming immune to traditional marketing, so telling stories has become one of the easiest ways to connect to customers, letting them want to buy without directly selling to them.

  2. For creative professionals, the art of storytelling is a valuable tool to have on hand. The public at large is becoming immune to traditional marketing, so telling stories has become one of the easiest ways to connect to customers, letting them want to buy without directly selling to them.

  3. A well-developed and presented story can hold the interest of an entire audience, and it will reach out and touch them at any age. Knowing and applying the few simple basics of storytelling will help strengthen your stories.

  4. A well-developed and presented story can hold the interest of an entire audience, and it will reach out and touch them at any age. Knowing and applying the few simple basics of storytelling will help strengthen your stories.

  5. When people ask me to help them turn their presentations into stories, I begin by asking questions. I kind of psychoanalyze their companies, and amazing dramas pour out. But most companies and executives sweep the dirty laundry, the difficulties, the antagonists, and the struggle under the carpet. They prefer to present a rosy—and boring—picture to the world. But as a storyteller, you want to position the problems in the foreground and then show how you’ve overcome them. When you tell the story of your struggles against real antagonists, your audience sees you as an exciting, dynamic person. And I know that the storytelling method works, because after I consulted with a dozen corporations whose principals told exciting stories to Wall Street, they all got their money.

  6. When people ask me to help them turn their presentations into stories, I begin by asking questions. I kind of psychoanalyze their companies, and amazing dramas pour out. But most companies and executives sweep the dirty laundry, the difficulties, the antagonists, and the struggle under the carpet. They prefer to present a rosy—and boring—picture to the world. But as a storyteller, you want to position the problems in the foreground and then show how you’ve overcome them. When you tell the story of your struggles against real antagonists, your audience sees you as an exciting, dynamic person. And I know that the storytelling method works, because after I consulted with a dozen corporations whose principals told exciting stories to Wall Street, they all got their money.

  7. The Smithsonian has a variety of special programs for kids and families—storytelling, performances, craft workshops, and more.

  8. The Smithsonian has a variety of special programs for kids and families—storytelling, performances, craft workshops, and more.

  9. Unfortunately, storytelling has become a lost art in many businesses. This is especially detrimental to start-ups, because failed attempts to effectively pitch and present information to potential investors, customers, and partners can quickly result in the end of the business. Instead of taking the time to craft captivating stories, most entrepreneurs create dreary Powerpoint presentations filled with facts, jargon, buzzwords, and graphs. Powerpoint (and laziness) has killed our ability to tell good stories, but this is a habit we need to ditch.

  10. Unfortunately, storytelling has become a lost art in many businesses. This is especially detrimental to start-ups, because failed attempts to effectively pitch and present information to potential investors, customers, and partners can quickly result in the end of the business. Instead of taking the time to craft captivating stories, most entrepreneurs create dreary Powerpoint presentations filled with facts, jargon, buzzwords, and graphs. Powerpoint (and laziness) has killed our ability to tell good stories, but this is a habit we need to ditch.

  11. I absolutely LOVE when people share stories in their presentations! Relating something that has actually happened to you to what you are presenting is a fantastic way to make what you are saying so much more real. It’s a skill that I need to brush up on and definitely envy in others who are good at it. It personalizes the presentation. Great post.

  12. I absolutely LOVE when people share stories in their presentations! Relating something that has actually happened to you to what you are presenting is a fantastic way to make what you are saying so much more real. It’s a skill that I need to brush up on and definitely envy in others who are good at it. It personalizes the presentation. Great post.

  13. The difference between a great presenter and a lousy one is their ability to tell a story the audience wants to hear.

  14. A great storyteller is like a magician. You watch in wonder and you don’t even notice. You’re completely engrossed. A great blog and an important skill for presenters to learn.

Leave a Reply