Tell a story: use a clear, familiar structure (part 1 of 2)

In our last blog we promised we’d look at different ways of ensuring your audience remembers your message….

Little Red Riding Hood, Goldilocks, Hansel and Gretel are all childhood stories we love and remember well. We may not have heard these stories for years, yet we can still remember the general storyline and most dramatic events.

Wouldn’t it be fantastic if our presentations were just as memorable? Well… the content of our presentations may not always be as thrilling, but we can certainly mimic the structure of fairy stories to make our presentations easier to grasp, follow and remember.

Because we grew up reading stories the classic structure of beginning, middle and end is embedded in our mental DNA. At the beginning the scene is set, and you meet the main characters. In the middle the action happens: problems arise, drama ensues and solutions are found. At the end there is a summing up and sense of resolution.

Structure your presentation like a story and your audience is far more likely to follow, understand and remember your message – and they’re more likely to enjoy it too!

So begin by setting up all the key story elements, including the main characters, the issue(s) and desired outcome. Don’t forget to make it very clear why the story is relevant to your audience (the beginning), raise and resolve all the issues one at a time (the middle), and resolve everything to summarise and wrap up concisely and clearly (the end). This will serve to reinforce your key points and also bring a sense of clarity and completeness to the overall story.

Use this familiar story structure and you will be helping your audience to follow and remember your presentation, so give is try! Part 2 of “Tell a story” to follow soon…

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