Stories in presentations stimulate the emotions.
Studies find that memories connected to strong emotions remain vivid in the brain for longer.
Stories may can come to mind years after the event. But memories of dry facts and figures quickly slip away.
We get it… a presentation about your company’s performance doesn’t provide too much scope for emotional stimulation! Or does it?
Using stories in presentations to raise the emotional bar even a little will help keep your slides fresh in memory for longer.
Start your presentation with a story about how a certain problem is relevant. Ideally this is a problem that affects your audience, this way you grab attention and engage with emotions immediately. Using further anecdotes and stories throughout brings each point more vividly to life.
Most presentations incorporate a number of problems, providing ample opportunity for you to build and release tension several times. Again, you may not be a master film director, but even a little raising of the emotional bar will help. (Integrate jokes or surprises into the presentation can help too, but don’t try to do a stand up routine, or dazzle like a trained magician!)
Think about how you’ll finish: the end needs to round off everything, leaving the audience feeling satisfied and clear about what you want them to understand.
Tension, resolution and the element of surprise can all enhance your presentation and ensure that your key messages stay in mind for longer. Tap into those emotions!
We recommend a presentation structure that uses evidence based slides. This slide type is more effective for memory, and also opens the door for you to incorporate more stories in presentations.
Let’s look at an example of this: your presentation will have 3 key messages.
Each key message will take up one whole slide. Following one key message, your next slides should be evidence slides. With a strong headline, they should assert and prove that key message. This is a great opportunity now to add a relevant tangent (forgive the oxymoron). Use stories, make visual illustrations (literal or imaginary) in your presentation. Describe something personal that has happened to you, or to a “friend”. Such techniques add evidence to the key message you are making.
With a clear structure around key messages, you can pop in more stories. And by doing so: refresh your audience’s focus. By changing up the tone, and using a story, the audience get a necessary “break” and something fresh to listen to. It’s all part of your presentation strategy as a whole. The stories themselves will stimulate emotions, and this is exactly the thing that your audience will remember days, or even weeks, later.
Here at Presented we can help you write and craft your structure, messages and headlines. Just ask!