Posts Tagged ‘presentation’
In years of teaching presentation skills – and observing many presentations in and out of
classes – I have concluded there is one method that is virtually guaranteed to gain or
regain audience attention.
But before explaining that technique, let me tell you a story.
I once was working with a group of people on presentation skills at a remote military
base in west Texas. The class had gone fine so far, but on the third day I walked in and
immediately sensed something was very wrong. In fact, I had never seen anything like
what I was about to experience . . .
End of story
You see, the fact is, I don’t actually have a story. I just started one, and really just have
Did it get your interest?
Try it yourself. In your next presentation, at an appropriate point (usually after a lot of
facts or data have been shared is a good time), say the following words: “Let me tell you
a story to illustrate what I’m talking about.” Or, you can just launch in with no warning:
“Last week, I was sitting at my desk when Rachael walked in . . .”
Next, I want you to really pay attention to people’s eyes. There is something like a 100%
chance they will look at you, waiting to hear what you have to say. This is not a bad
dynamic in a presentation.
Of course, your story has to be on-topic, ideally contain a little bit of a build up, have
some specifics and a resolution. But this is actually easy to do. The harder part is to
convince presenters they should tell stories. Once you decide to do so, you will increase
the attention to what you are saying.
There are interesting reasons for this, including the fact that human beings are story-
telling and meaning-making machines. The narrative is a timeless, genetically encoded
form we use to communicate. Listen to the after-work conversation in a bar, gym or
coffee shop. I’ll bet you’re going to hear stories.
So why not use them in your next presentation?