The Power of Storytelling in Speeches and Presentations
August 6, 2012 by Bill Rosenthal

Just about everyone loves a good story. As children, we were lulled to sleep by fables and fairy tales. As we got older, we read books, watched TV and went to the movies in search of new stories to entertain and widen our horizons. Stories enthrall us, educate us and paint vivid pictures of places and things we may never see in our lifetime.

You can harness the power of a good story to in your presentations. A well-told story accomplishes several things:

  1. Shows your “human side”. Telling a story makes you more interesting to listen to. When you tell a story to an audience, you become more animated. Your language becomes more descriptive, your gestures more animated and you let the audience see more of you.
  2. Sets the tone for your presentation and what’s to come. A well-chosen story can serve to foreshadow the main point of your presentation, or it can illustrate an issue that will tie into your theme later. Audiences mentally file that story away until they can make the connection with the context of your presentation
  3. Keeps your audience entertained. A well-chosen story pulls the audience in, and allows them to form mental images that make your presentation more memorable.
  4. Illustrates a key point. Stories serve to underscore and reinforce facts, opinions and themes.

Not a naturally-born storyteller? Start with one story in your presentation and sharpen it to perfection by practicing it over and over. Visualize the situation and use descriptive words to help the audience see it, too. Have colleagues critique your timing -- are you building tension, are you delivering credible dialogue and pausing for audience reaction?

You don’t have to be an actor to tell a good story. Just relax, have fun and you’re audience will, too. 

Executive Presentation Skills™ helps you confidently address high-stakes situations like budget appeals, sales presentations, executive briefings, and conference keynotes. Find a convenient seminar location near you.