Storytelling at Work
You may not start them with “Once upon a time,” but you tell stories at work all the time. Have you ever presented results to an audience? How about delivering a brief to an agency? Or maybe you shared an example success with your team? All of these are examples of storytelling, whether you knew it at the time or not. The most effective presentations tell a story that makes them memorable and easy to digest. Here are 5 tips to help you become a better storyteller at work.
1) Consider your audience’s point of view.
Every good story starts with a firm understanding of its audience. Who are you speaking to, and what are they likely to care about? Is it a group of peers? A group of senior executives? Or are you presenting to external partners? No matter who the audience is, every good presentation starts by answering their number one question: “What’s in it for me?”
2) Creative a compelling introduction to draw people in.
Once you know what the audience cares about, it becomes much easier to create an introduction that captures their attention. Try approaching it from a unique angle that creates surprise, or by presenting an obstacle to be overcome. In other words, like a great play or novel, the introduction is where you set the scene and paint a picture for your audience.
3) Structure your story as a series of events.
Now that the stage is set, you’re free to build the body of your story. This helps to structure the presentation as a series of events or actions in a flow. The same structure that works well in answering interview questions also works for storytelling. Think STAR: Situation, Task, Action, Result. In other words, what was the scenario (your introduction), what needed to be solved for, what did you do about it, and what was the result? If it’s an idea presentation, what do expect the results to be?
4) Vary your tone of voice to match the content you’re delivering.
Focus on adding natural rises and falls to your tone when you present. Are you sharing a really exciting result? Then sound excited about it! After all, you’re a human being, not a robot… and frankly, even today’s robots are doing a pretty good job of adding tone and inflection to their voices (hats off to you, Siri and Alexa).
5) Wrap up by summarising the story for your audience.
As compelling as you might be, your audience isn’t going to remember everything. That’s why it’s important to wrap up by summarising what you shared, and leave your audience with a few key takeaways that they can easily remember.
Corporate & work presentations don’t have to be boring. With a bit of preparation and the tips in this post, you’ll be well on your way to crafting a memorable story that draws your audience in and leaves a lasting impression!
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