Every presentation needs a good story.
What exactly is a “story” though? It’s not a huge ordeal to craft one, but it is very important.
Storytelling in a presentation is simple: it’s the art and science of unfolding information selectively to your audience in a way that makes sense.
Stories in presentations, like stories in books and movies, follow a logical flow – a beginning, a middle and an end.
The beginning of your stories should set the stage according to your audience.
Similar to a story in a movie, let’s take the movie “Inception” for example, the opening act is a surreal action-packed sequence that turns out to be a dream. This sets the stage for the rest of the movie and lets the audience know that they can expect more information down the road on both A) action and B) dreams.
If your audience knows a lot about a given subject, you may want to skip some of the pleasantries an just get into the nitty-gritty as quickly as possible.
The middle of your presentation is where all of the meat is. The bulk of your argument/findings/etc. should take place here
The middle should also build off of your beginning.
Just like in Inception, we’re brought on an awesome adventure through a world where espionage can happen inside your dreams – all of which was set up to be expected in the opening scene.
By the time you get your your ending, your audience should be nodding their heads and be on exactly the same page as you are.
If you find people are still confused by the end of your presentation, odds are – you’ve skipped a crucial piece of information (or phrase) to bring it all together somewhere.
The end wraps everything in a nice bow.
Unlike “cliffhanger” movies that “leave you hanging” at the end or “set up a sequel” – you generally don’t want to do this too often in a presentation. Only do it if you really are going to follow up with a “part 2” or something of that sort.
Lastly, your ending should let the audience know what to do next or what’s happening next.
So how do you easily get a clear and concise story? 10-MIT.
10-MIT stands for the “10 Most Important Things” you want to tell your audience – in order.
The technique is simple. Write down the ten most important sentences to tell your story. Then, ensure they’re in a logical order that makes sense when you read it out loud.
This helps trim down your presentation to the most essential pieces of information and helps organize your story.
Here’s a presentation that brings this to life:
Back to you: Ever tried anything similar to this? How’d it work?