Tips for storytelling in presentations

We know that stories bring our content to life and help our audience to remember our key messages so we are remarkable – worthy of remark around the dinner table at night.

If you’d like to tell stories try the Magic Formula Story. It is a really simple technique to use for telling stories. Here’s what you do:

  • Incident. Tell the story — this is where you deliver a short, interesting account (the incident) to your audience.
  • Point. You know how some storytellers tell the story, tell the story and tell the story and you sit there thinking, ‘get to the point’! Well, it’s really important that you deliver the point of your story. Don’t assume it’s obvious to your audience.
  • Benefit. This is where you link your story, and the point of your story, to the people in your audience who are listening to your story.

What else do I have to remember when I tell stories?

  1. Love your story and tell it like you own it!
  2. Talk with your audience not at them.
  3. Keep the story short!
  4. Make sure the story is relevant!
  5. Use your gestures, stage emotive language and vocal emphasis when you tell your stories, so the story is exciting for your audience and to ensure you pull your audience into the story with you.
  6. Aim to create a Referential Index Shift. This is a fancy name that means the storyteller’s reference becomes the reference of the audience member. In other words — your story becomes their story!
  7. Practise with your friends before delivering it to a business audience. Your friends love you and will be more forgiving!
  8. Listen to other storytellers as much as possible. You’ll learn heaps about what to do and what not to do.

Stories can be:

  • anecdote
  • metaphor
  • analogy
  • example
  • case study
  • legend
  • fairytale
  • myth
  • fable

Where do I find stories?
You can find stories in the following places:

  • your personal and professional life
  • magazines
  • newspapers
  • journals
  • movies
  • fables
  • your family, friends and clients’ lives (with their permission of course)
  • children’s stories