How To Tell A Story: 5 Powerful Storytelling Tips

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What is the one thing you can start doing in your presentations today that will make sure people remember you long after you’ve left the stage?

We’re going to talk about that next in Moxie Talk.

HOW TO TELL A STORY: 5 POWERFUL STORYTELLING TIPS

Hey everyone, I’m Fia Fasbinder, welcome to the Moxie Talk blog, where we help you find your voice, share your message, and lead with confidence.

Today we are talking about storytelling and I have to tell you after working with hundreds of clients, storytelling is always the difference in a presentation that connects to an audience and one that doesn’t. Whether it’s meeting a client objection, selling an idea or product, speaking to senior leadership, making people understand your strategy and your process, delivering bad news, delivering good news—stories will connect your audience to your message.

Have you ever wondered: Why do we remember stories? Why are they so impactful? This has to do with neuroscience and if anyone’s been watching these, they know I love neuroscience. When you tell a story your audience’s brain emits dopamine.

Dopamine is actually a mental sticky note. That’s why we remember stories. We’re actually hardwired to remember them. Also, there’s something called mirror neurons, which make us mirror behavior. We’ve been doing that since we were born. When you tell a story, you create empathy in your listeners for the characters because they mirror the main characters and they really care about the outcome of them. Therefore, stories are impactful and they’re memorable.

Now, I want to give you 5 tips today to tell stories in your presentations that will land.

TIP 1: AUDIENCE ANALYSIS

The first is audience analysis. It’s really important for you to ask yourself a few questions before you choose your story. The questions you should be asking are pretty simple—

  • What do I want my audience to know when my story is done?
  • What do I want them to do when my story is done? 
  • What do I want them to feel when my story is done?

Now you might come up with a ‘Know’ really easily—the ‘do’ and the ‘feel’ are really important but they’re usually overlooked. 

Do you want a story that’s going to create some anger in your audience? Do you want a story that’s going to make them introspective? Do you want a story that’s going to make them inspired?—the kind of feeling you want for your audience at the end of the story is crucial.

Likewise, equally as crucial is, What do you want your audience to do after this story? Do you want them to take action? Do you want them to promote you? Do you want them to buy your product? Do you want them to understand your service better?—So really thinking about the audience analysis is crucial for your storytelling. 

TIP 2: WHAT TYPE OF STORY DO YOU WANT TO TELL?

The second tip, ask yourself what type of story you want to tell. And in order to do this, you really have to know who are you speaking to and what the scenario is. 

And there are several very typical kinds of stories:

STORY OF ME

There is the story of me. Do you want to tell a story of yourself about a time where you’ve overcome an obstacle, a time where you’ve faced a challenge, a story of yourself? Would that be the kind of story to tell to this audience?

STORY OF US

Do you want to tell the story of us? The story of your company or your team or department that’s a really common story and a great one.

STORY OF OTHERS

Another one is the story of others. Do you want to tell a story of a patient or a client who actually benefited from your service? Or maybe one who didn’t buy your services and what happened to them after? So goes the story of others.

STORY OF AN IDEA

Last but not least, the story of an idea. So if you’re selling people on an idea it could be why your company has persevered. Why they have remained true to their goals. how they help humanity. So the story of an idea is really important.

Therefore, do your audience analysis first and then choose your type of story second.

—-

TIP 3: STRUCTURE

Now we’re moving on to the structure of your stories. Now people make a big deal about structure of their stories and all these crazy story arcs but there’s really 3 main components and I bet you know what they are :

  • Intro
  • Body
  • Conclusion

Every story has these main parts and the story arc kind of looks like this:  Intro, Body, Conclusion. Just like a literal arc, it’s like an upside-down ‘U’. 

Now things you should be thinking about. Your introduction is really when you set the stage and introduce the characters of your story. So it’s really important to do that in your introduction and this is also kind of what we call the once upon a time part of your story.

Reveal the Challenge or Drama

Now we’re moving on to the body which is kind of the hump of the story arc. It’s in that body is when you really introduce the challenge or the drama, the obstacle that your characters are trying to overcome, and that happens in the arc of your story.

Then the end of your story, the conclusion, is when we really tie all this together. This is the happily ever after. Sometimes it could also be the lessons you learned on this journey. It’s really important to think about how you’re going to tie up your story.

End positively or with lessons you learned.

So those are the common elements that you can use in your intro, body, and conclusion. 

TIP 4: STORY PLACEMENT

and next is, Where do you want the story to go in your presentation? Is this story how you’re going to start your presentation? Is this a story that’s going to go at the end of your presentation? Is this story your entire presentation? So really, thinking about where you’re going to use this story is step number 4.

TIP 5: THE BRIDGE

Last but not least, and maybe the most important part of your story, and the part that people do the least, is the bridge to the rest of your presentation. The takeaway—Why this story matters. What this story has to do with the presentation or the audience. What is their call to action? Why should this story matter to them?

A lot of times people tell stories and they don’t make that bridge and the audience doesn’t know why you’re telling the story and what they’re supposed to take out of it. Make sure you make that bridge from the story to your audience and why it matters to them.

There you go. 5 storytelling tips for your next presentation. I hope these help you all become masterful storytellers.

For more presentation tips and techniques check out our YouTube channel.

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For more information about how Moxie can help you master presentation, check out our advanced presentation skills training page or book a call!

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