All Presentations Should Tell Good Stories

When you think about it, the end goal of most presentations is to convince, whether that means convincing your audience to agree with your point of view, or convincing them to take the action you want them to take. Professional presenters with vast amounts of public speaking experience are usually great story tellers. In order for your presentations to come across convincingly to your audiences, they require the focus, logic and sequence of any engaging story.

You might or might not be aware of falling victim to some or all of the common mistakes that initially trip up novice presenters. Most of these learners’ mistakes relate directly back to the ethos of story telling in presentations – or lack of it. When preparing for forthcoming presentations, or looking back retrospectively at old ones, you might give yourself a confidence boost by answering a few hypothetical questions honestly.

Are you prepared to offer appropriate answers to the broad range of questions that might be posed by your audience?

If not, might your inability to appropriately answer audience questions be due to a lack of flow in your presentation?

Are your slides truly sequentially ordered?

Are you sometimes guilty of randomly leaping from one aspect of your subject matter to another without any logical connection between the two?

Do you put yourself in danger of leaving gaping holes in your presentations by trying to sound too clever, for example, by presenting answers and conclusions that lack supporting evidence?

Do you try too hard to amplify your knowledge of your subject matter by including information that is indirectly related but not directly relevant to your presentations?

Searching questions indeed and you might be wondering how they relate to the harnessing of your story telling skills to enhance your public speaking effectiveness. They do, as they are all about focus, logic and sequence:-

Focus – keep to the point. Identify information that seem interesting and smart, but realistically bears little relevance to the core messages you aim to send. Once you have identified these curve balls, eradicate them, even if you desperately want to include them because you think they sound good.

Logic – tempting as it is to provide answers and conclusions first, followed by rhyme and reason afterwards, it is illogical. Notice how the stories contained in your presentations flow so much more smoothly when you simply reverse the order of certain slides. Questions first, arguments and evidence in the middle, answers and solutions last but not least.

Sequence – stories lacking in sequential orderliness are confusing, often to the degree that they might initially capture attention, but ultimately fail to retain it. It is impossible for you to over check that your presentations are sequentially correct. When going to the time and trouble that preparation for successful presentations demands, it is a crying shame if your subject matter is right, but the sequence in which you present it is erratic and disjointed.

Your ability to recognise the mistakes you are prone to making, coupled with your willingness to improve your public speaking performances, equates to half your battle being won. So sit tight with a copy of your presentation in front of you and see how you can make instantaneously dramatic differences.