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Tell A Story and Make Your Presentations More Powerful!


The best communicators tell stories. Storytelling is a basic human need. It's been with us as long as humanity has existed.

When you frame your presentations as stories, you tap into the most powerful way to communicate.

In business writing, this doesn't mean simply sticking an anecdote into your presentation. We suggest that you look for the underlying story behind your presentation or document. Structure it by using the classic storytelling form.

Stories have a beginning, middle and end
Structure your presentations and documents this way. You'll improve them--and engage your audience.

Here's an easy way to remember the structure of a story: Tell them what you're going to tell them, tell them, and then tell them what you told them.

This structure works well for PowerPoint presentations:

Tell them what you're going to tell them: Agenda slide

Tell them: The main slides of your presentation

Tell them what you told them: Summary slide

Good stories also have specifics
Often, in our experience, presenters try to smooth out the interesting, colorful details of their stories. It's these very details that make communication come to life.

In the classic story by Frank Baum, The Wizard of Oz, it's the details that make the story magical It would not have been as effective to simply say "red slippers" (instead of ruby-red slippers). We have the Cowardly Lion, the Tin Woodman, the Emerald City of Oz, and so on. How much less effective it would have been for Dorothy to say, "I don't think we're in the United States anymore, Toto!"

In your presentation, look for the telling details and emphasize them. In the slide below, consider how much less interesting it would have been to simply say men who buy flowers are usually not comfortable asking questions.

Keep the concept of storytelling in mind
When you create a presentation, or draft a document, you'll automatically create a compelling link to your audience.

"But," you might say, "stories are for entertainment... Business is more formal!"

Business doesn't HAVE to be cut-and-dried laundry-lists of facts. Good stories are all around us.

Suppose you were the marketing director of
This is
an Internet-based company that presents information on cars and trucks. You need to write a proposal and presentation for Volkswagen. In this show, you'll ask for their sponsorship of a new section on your site, to be called "Cars that look and think differently."

Of course, the sponsor will want some hard numbers, facts, and solid information. What will excite them, and engage their interest, is the story of your site's rapid growth and development. You've been with this company since day one. You know the struggles, challenges, and triumphs by heart. Why not share that story with your audience?

Don't forget to share the best story of all--the story of the future, as you see it. In just three years' time, with proper sponsorship, will become THE place where Internet viewers go to find information on cars and trucks. Your website will blow Edmund's, Consumer Reports and The Blue Book out of the ballpark.

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Presentation Tree is a division of TUMEY Communications.