These days, conferences, presentations and seminars are all too familiar in our professional and personal lives. We attend these events for professional and personal development and expect to gain insight and aHa moments along the way. However, we quickly lose interest in the material being presented if that speaker can not stimulate, motivate as well as educate us from the start.
Just think about it. Would you prefer “Sally Speaker” with her overhead projector and PowerPoint slides speaking in a stoic manner or “Dynamic Danielle” spinning a story that is full of the KNOWLEDGE we are seeking but presented in a passionate and entertaining manner?
It takes a DYNAMIC speaker to step out from behind the lectern and stimulate, motivate and educate their audience. As a speaker, your primary objective is to share your knowledge. A PHENOMENAL speaker, understands it is vital to keep their audience engaged while imparting their knowledge. This understanding is key to a successful presentation. So how do you keep your audience engaged? Truth is, facts touch our minds and educate, but it is the power that comes from stories that stimulate and motivate.
We all know, everybody loves a story. Stories give us insight into life and human nature. They can make us laugh, cry, think, and even provoke anger. When using story telling as a process in your presentations, you go beyond the basic bullet point scenario and begin to stimulate, motivate and educate your audience.
As a speaker, how can you use stories to give your presentation the impact that you desire:
- Tell inspirational stories to persuade, motivate or entertain. Use stories to illustrate the point you want to make. Try to find stories that are relevant to your audience. For example, for software engineers, tell the story about the young engineer who started a company in his garage…you know the famous Microsoft story.
- Tell a story from your own experience. Make a habit of keeping a story journal and record your day’s experiences. You will have a rich supply of unique experiences to draw from when needed.
- Use gestures and acting techniques to bring your story to life. Don’t just tell your audience about a difficult client; get up and show them. Actions have a greater impact on the point you are making.
- Use description and dialogue. Take your audience into the story by using description and dialogue. Help them visualize and feel that they are part of the experience.
It is important that you practice your story until it’s natural. Below are a few suggestions that will help you get started:
- Write your story down.
- Practice your story in the mirror.
- Practice pacing and rhythm to communicate your story.
- Listen to a tape recording of yourself.
- Vary the speed and tone of your voice to create impact at important points in your story.
- And, always remember to be AUTHENTIC!
Remember it’s not about you; it’s ALL about your audience. You have a great story and an important message to convey. Concentrate on your audience and their reactions to your story, this will help you become more confident and relaxed enabling your audience to be more receptive to your presentation.