Can you remember the last great PowerPoint you saw?
Probably not… but you will certainly remember great stories from your life. This powerful form of communication is often overlooked in business.
Death by PowerPoint. We’ve all been there. ‘’Now onto slide 68” the presenter says in monotone. You stopped listening an hour ago. You see a block of narrative text on the screen, but you gaze at it simply as a focal point to stop your eyes shutting rather than absorbing any meaning.
Great orators typically convey their messages using stories. A story is simpler for the presenter to deliver naturally and personably. Also, stories make it easier for us to absorb the message. The presenter can dispense with their notes and therefore engage with their audience. It is also easy for the listener to remember a story. Because of that, the messages contained within the story – even complex ones – sink in.
Great speakers still use PowerPoint, but I have noted that this is usually very sparingly. They employ it to enhance their stories with pictures and visual imagery. They are careful not to distract the listener from doing their job – which is listening and absorbing. So, next time you are preparing a presentation, resist the temptation to list out a load of facts in PowerPoint and simply recite them. Challenge yourself to breathe life into those facts by wrapping them up in a story.
Many great stories from fairytales and the classics are based around a central pillar of conflict and resolution. The same is true in business. You may feel uncomfortable the first time you use a story as a technique in a business presentation. However, the positive reaction you will receive from your audience will give you the confidence that departing from the status quo is worth the risk.
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