3 Considerations in Using a Story in a Presentation
Burning Question #15
What are the most important considerations in using a story in a presentation?
There several considerations, however, I can only address three here: relevance, circumstance and significance. What do I mean by each of this?
To determine if a story is relevant, ask this question. Is this related or important to the topic or key point? The relatedness or relevance could be viewed from a few angles such as social, technical, historical etc. If one of this conditions is present, you can assume that the relevance criterion is fulfilled.
If a story is relevant and useful in explaining a key point in your presentation, you can fine tune it and use in your presentation. Sometimes, I run my relevance test through a few of my critical friends who give me some feedback. If the think the story is not highly relevant, I change and find another one.
The circumstance element has to do with contextual meaning or setting. Meaning relevance looks at the value, circumstance looks at the location. It evokes the relative position of the story to the issue.
When a story is told in the context of a key point, it enhances or strengthens the key point. On the contrary, if the story is not related and not in context, you should leave it out of the presentation. The key point is the surface, while the story adds to the substance.
Significance has to do with meaning and implications, or outcomes. A story that shows the outcome or results is a winner because it enables the teller to win over any skeptics and cynics in the audience.
If the outcome that is important to the audience is finance, a story that demonstrates financial results will be of good significance. On the other hand, if the outcome the audience wants is inner peace, a story that evokes that, will also be very impactful.
There is an old adage in professional speaking circles that says, “make a point and tell a story.” It is very simple but poignant. Choose stories that have relevance, circumstance and significance. When you do that, your audience will eat out of your palms because you have what it takes to quench their thirst.