“The art of storytelling can be used to drive change”.

Richard Branson

To be an effective leader of an organization requires good communication and motivation skills. As a leader you must be able to clearly and succinctly explain everything from organizational goals to specific tasks.

Sometimes leaders do not tell good stories when presenting. They fail to connect emotionally with their audience due to behavior and/or content.

Having presented at–and attended–hundreds of conferences and events, I have learned to determine which presenters are good storytellers and which ones to avoid. I want to hear a good story.

How can you avoid becoming one of those avoided?

Demosthenes, put pebbles in his mouth and then practiced speaking in front of a mirror. These tips and tricks helped him become a famous Greek orator. Demosthenes demonstrates preparation and rehearsing is fundamental for effective storytelling.

Knowing how to tell a story helps drive change, makes an impact and simplifies facts, figures and ideas into a memorable narrative. Why can we recall Moses leading the Israelites in the desert or Achilles fighting the Trojans? It’s simple. We understand how the story elements combine from the beginning to the end.

A few words can captivate or convince.

‘Wedding Dress. For Sale. Never Worn.”

These 6 words allow the listeners to conceptualize this story. They become eager for discovering the why and as a result better remember the full story.

6 Tips to improve your presentations:

  1. In the beginning. Be enthusiastic. Table set audience expectations. Invite the audience into your story by offering a few words that summarizes the presentation. Then offer a quote or analogy that allows the audience to conceptualize your story.
  2. Never memorize. Telling a story is exclusively a human activity. The more conversational the better. Memorization or parroting of content from devices or notes suppresses audience interest. Frame your presentation as a story by asking questions. Each question will be answered with a beginning, middle and ending.
  3. Eliminate distractions. Your story not your behavior is the focus. Avoid or reduce tendencies, such as, talking too fast, pacing constantly, turning your back to the audience, blurting out filler words “ah or um”or acknowledging audience members.
  4. Be authentic. No speaking style is better than another but it must fit your personality. Are you funny or serious? Are you an introvert or extrovert? Find your style by rehearsing in front of a mirror or recording yourself. These tips reveals how you verbally and nonverbally communicate under pressure. For example, if you are hesitant about sharing with anyone the video then list reasons why and try again.
  5. Be a tailor. Know your audience and the personalities involved. Anticipate their questions or needs and address them in your presentation.
  6. Be a guide. Never repeat displayed content (text) to the audience. Instead guide them by explaining the context and importance of the content.

What Do You Think?

Author Disclosure

I am the author of this article and it expresses my own opinions. I have no vested interest in any of the products, firms or institutions mentioned in this post. Nor does the Analyst Syndicate. This is not a sponsored post.