reconnecting with your audience

It’s all about the story, we’re told. Tosh. Stories are great – fantastic even – and they’re an amazingly powerful tool in your presentation tool kit but they’re not the answer to everything. They might be the closes thing there is, but they’re not everything 馃槈

One of the reasons is that the people who like telling stories rather over-tell them and often get a bit too enthusiastic. You know the kind. They tell the story with too much “me” and not enough point.

That said, we’ve all done it. So here’s a dirty trick – oh so simple – to help you recover after you’ve rather lost your way in terms of using a story in your presentation. (Note, clicking on the image will take you to LinkedIn in a new tab. If you’d rather read it, I’ve summed it up in text later in this blog.)

By the way, if you’re interested in learning more about storytelling – particularly if you think you’d rather not! – you can register here for news of my Reluctant Storyteller course. It’s going to be a small group, hybrid live/recorded course and it’s gonna absolutely rock! 馃檪

Yes, I know, it’s the most simple tool in the world.

The story recover tool for your presentations

So here’s the trick. When you’ve over-storied (that is a real verb, honest!) you just claw it back with the phrase “Which means that…”. The very next thing you say must be something your audience can use. It’s a common trick in sales too:

  • Sales assistant to me: it’s got eight USB ports
  • Me: blank look because although I do know what a USB port is I don’t care
  • Sales assistant to me: “which means that” you can plug in X, Y, and Z at the same time

As my XYZ is things like a microphone and lights for my live camera work, this seemed important. 馃檪

So how does it work in presentations? Here’s a recent example:

  • Presenter: … long boring story of how he personally (the hero!) had recruited “only the very best”. The story was about how good the presenter was at recruitment, but that really, really wasn’t of any interest at all to the audience, who were there to learn how to use some new software
  • Audience: bored looks
  • Presenter: which means that you can be absolutely confident that if you need a live-person response they’ll be an expert on hand, 24/7.

Don’t get me wrong… I’m no saying this is a handy tool you can use all the time. In fact and expert presenter shouldn’t ever need it, but let’s face it, we’ve all been guilty of going off on a tangent! All it is, is a handy recovery tool for when you mess up.

And you will. I do… often!

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