This is when a presentation is so full of data that your audience becomes overwhelmed with the content and stops listening. As we know children love stories and according to science, so do we as adults, so why don’t we tell more of them in our business presentations.
Too many people feel they have to pack their presentations with facts and figures, which will probably be forgotten soon after the presentation has finished. It’s a challenge which is easily avoided by using stories which can connect with the data you’re sharing. A friend of mine, Jeremy Nicholas, who like me is also a Fellow of the Professional Speaking Association shared a great Ted talk in his latest blog.
“How your brain responds to stories” is a brilliant talk by Karen Eber who helps us understand the neuroscience behind telling stories in business. You can see her talk here:
This made complete sense to me as I’ve been on a brilliant course by near scientist Dr. LyndaShaw where I learned how the amygdala near the base of the brain is where emotions are given meaning, remembered, and attached to emotional memories.
While data will only appeal to small parts of the brain, stories have the ability to light up the whole brain, which is why they are so engaging and memorable. However, when I’m helping my clients to use stories to give their presentations more impact, I’m often told that they don’t have the right story that will work for that situation.
The best advice for this comes from Karen in her keynote, who said “Don’t wait for the perfect story, take your story and make it perfect”. I worked with a client recently who changed the opening of her new keynote by swapping her pie chart about the mental health crisis in Britain, with a moving story of one of her clients.
Storytelling is a great way to engage an audience and science shows us exactly how they help an audience connect with our message – just ask your children because they’ll soon tell you when you’re boring them!