Tell a story: we’re British, but emotions are OK (part 2)

In our last blog we talked about using the familiar shape of a traditional story to give your presentation a clear, easy-to-follow structure.

Stories stimulate the emotions, and scientific research shows that memories connected to strong emotions remain vivid for longer; they can come to mind years after the event, while our memories of dry facts and figures quickly slip away.

I know, I know… a presentation about your company’s performance doesn’t provide too much scope for emotional stimulation… but even just raising the emotional bar a little will help keep things fresh in memory for longer.

If you start your presentation by talking about the main problem to be solved, especially a problem that affects the audience, you will grab their attention and engage their emotions immediately; and using anecdotes and stories will bring each point even more vividly to life.

Most presentations incorporate a number of problems, providing ample opportunity for you to build and release tension several times – okay, we’re not talking Hitchcock-type tension here, but as we said even just a little raising of the emotion will help (if you can also integrate jokes or surprises into the presentation, so much the better, but I appreciate this isn’t always possible!)

The end of your presentation should round everything off nicely, leaving the audience feeling satisfied and clear about what you want them to understand.

Tension, resolution and, where possible, the element of surprise can all enhance your presentation and ensure that your key messages stay in mind for longer.

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