Business Storytelling for Technical Presentations
- Private workshop Schedule
This 3-hour workshop provides storytelling techniques rooted in neuroscience, which help an audience pay attention, remember critical content, and act on that content faster. Most business presenters aim for their audiences to recall factual information. This is not impossible, but recall for factual information requires repeated exposure and reminders. Stories, when well told and delivered, do not. This is why it is important to include storytelling in any presentation skills arsenal.
Specifically, participants learn how to:
- Delight an audience with storytelling techniques so they remember critical content
- Determine the types of stories to use
- Master four mandatory elements that belong to any business story
- Create your own stories
Why storytelling in business and technical presentations?
Packaging up facts within stories makes them more memorable because a story activates multiple parts of the brain. Let’s just say one of the main points you want to make in a presentation is an abstract thought such as, “It is important to have a straightforward strategy in your business process.” This line may be hard to remember because abstract language activates only one part of the brain, the language processing area; a good story activates multiple parts of the brain, therefore creating more memory traces.
You can package the abstract thought above into a story. You may say something like this: “Remember the movie Happy Gilmore with Adam Sandler? At the final hole of the final golf tournament, Happy needs to sink his final putt to beat his opponent, Shooter McGavin, by a single stroke and win the day. Unfortunately, a large camera tower falls onto the green, blocking Happy’s shot. Happy is now in big trouble because he still needs to putt. He’s advised to putt around the tower, sinking his ball in two strokes and bringing about a tie. This would extend the tournament into sudden death. Gilmore briefly considers the idea and then decides, “Nah, I’ll just beat him now.” Without completely spoiling the beauty of the putt, Happy makes the shot and wins the tournament. It helps when you have a straightforward strategy. A straightforward strategy leads to success. As you are reflecting on your business strategy, is it direct and straightforward, or are putting around corners?”
This story has more chances to be memorable because it has activated multiple parts of your brain – the final hole in the golf tournament activates the visual cortex, because it’s easy to visualize the green. The verbs “fall” (for the camera tower) or “putt” or “sinking a ball,” activate the motor cortex because you can picture these activities as you read or hear them. The phrase “sudden death” activates the amygdala because of its strong emotion. All this sensory information helps to trigger later on the memory of the abstract thought about the straightforward business strategy, which the presenter associates with putting.
Why don’t people share more stories in business presentations?
Some presenters may shy away from stories is because they believe a story has to be an epic one and they don’t know how to deliver an epic story. Consider that stories range across a spectrum. On one side, there are small stories: examples, anecdotes, gossip, or recounts. At the opposite end, there are BIG stories, such as legends, fairy tales, myths, and the heroes’ journey (see Figure 6). While there is a lot to learn from the BIG stories, such as character development or astonishing action, in business presentations you don’t need to be a screenwriter or a novelist. Too much BIG storytelling in a business presentation can make you come across as forced, clumsy, and unnatural. For the purpose of this workshop, we will stick with developing “small stories.”
How to attend the workshop
The workshop is hands-on and highly interactive. You’ll work with your own files, improving them according to brain science-based principles for memorable content. Once participants register, they receive the URL for the session, along with additional instructions on how to join.