Create A Memorable Storytelling Presentation!
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Like all presentations, the goal is to solve a problem or show you are in the process of solving it. The most interesting aspect is most presentations actually use that line in the first slide after the title. While I am not saying this is wrong, I just think there is a better way to make the problem more personable to help connect with your audience.
I was able to learn back during my MBA days how to improve my presentation skills and incorporate a personable story to reach my audience and make a connection. Each presentation was an opportunity to showcase my experience, knowledge and leadership to my fellow classmates and try to impress my professor. For me, it was a chance to experiment with different creative approaches to stand out from the crowd. I will share with you my approach what I learned back then and how I still use this approach today.
Like any story, it has a beginning, a middle and an end.
- The Beginning – Engage your Audience to Make a Personal Connection
Learn how to engage your audience in the beginning. Think of it like first impressions. If you don’t get them now, how do you expect to get them later? But to engage them, you must make a personal connection with them. This is where you know your audience. You understand how they think and what motivates them. You must make them feel like they understand the problem because they have experienced it personally.
Using my MBA example, my classmates were all professionals with work experience and we were all around the same age. Our project was to present new technology in our IT module. This technology allowed you to use an application on your computer to access your home utilities to control turning off and on your lights. While it’s the norm today, it was pretty cool back then.
As I present the problem, I could have easily said, wouldn’t it be cool to not be at home but able to access your lights and turn them off or on, any time from anywhere? You could be doing it for safety reasons, security reasons or just for convenience. This would have been the easy way to present the problem but I wanted to tell a story. I wanted to connect with them.
Two things I had to keep in mind:
- First, I know that no on have ever used this technology before so they didn’t have a personal experience using it and understanding the pros and cons of it.
- Second, most everyone in the audience grew up watching American cartoons. At this point, you are asking, what do cartoons have to do with technology?
As I dimmed the lights, I started my introduction with “Remember back in the day….” I then started with a video clip of the Jetson’s Introduction.. I let it play for about 30 seconds. After the clips stopped, I asked the crowd, how many of you remember the Jetson’s, the family of the future? This helped me get the audience’s curiosity and engaged them. I then proceeded to talk about what we thought about the future growing up and how the Jetson’s help paint the future for us. This included some of the technology today that was seen on the cartoon and technology we still do not have today. I was able to connect with the audience personally as each person has their own version of the technology they thought was cool.
It is at this point that I begin to talk about the problem. I point out one technology I wished we had today was the ability to control our home utilities online from anywhere.
The goal here is to not only help them understand what the problem is but present it in such a way that they understand and feel the same problem you do.
The Middle – Get them Excited to Become the Hero
Now that they understand the problem and you have their attention, you now need to create plausible situations to get them excited about the product as you introduce the technology in more detail to them. How does it benefit them and does it help improve a situation for them? This is where you provide key information, statistics, data and numbers to help them understand the tangible and intangible benefits.
Getting back to my presentation example, I transitioned from the cartoon to our technology in the presentation, I discussed the specific technology ability to access your home lighting from any where at anytime through your computer. This included hypothetical situations of what if. What if you could turn on your lights when you are on vacation? What if you forgot to turn off your lights after you left home. Creating different examples begins to create the excitement of the possibilities, as each person could visualize their own scenario for this technology. Data helps support the tangible and intangible needs for this technology as I reinforce convenience, safety, utilities savings and the being green benefits for them, their family and their community.
This is where you help them visualize they are becoming the hero.
The End – Make it Actionable and They Become the Hero
This is where you create the opportunity. They are excited and now you must redirect that same emotion into an actionable item. Your goal now is to make them into hero. They can only be a hero is they use the solution to feel good about it.
Like any great ending, you have a hero who conquers. In this scenario for our technology, we allowed our fellow students to test drive the product to feel in control. Test-driving the applications empowers them to try the technology and stimulates the purchasing power of your audience.
Every product is different so your action items will vary. In some cases, you can offer a trial period to use the product, offer a free sample or you can offer a discount or promotional item. You can be more direct and make the direct sale also, depending on your situation.
As you tell your story, make the audience feel as if they are telling the story or have a part in it. Even if you are in a regular staff meeting, you can position the story as everyone doing his or her part to beat the villain, in this case, a deadline. Turn a status meeting or any meeting into something more inspirational.
As you tell your story, remember the three steps to make it memorable!
The Beginning: Engage your audience and make a personal connection
The Middle: Get them excited to become the hero
The End: Make it actionable and they become the hero
Want to learn more about marketing tips and ideas to grow your organization?
Frank Anastacio Trevino Jr
Founder and Managing Partner of ILLUMULUS – Smart Marketing for Smart Solutions. I partner with companies to create a better data-driven Customer Experience (CX) through technology-based marketing solutions. I share my time between Seoul and Los Angeles. You can find me on Linkedinor follow me on Twitter