The majority of business pitches do not have the entertainment value of a Harry Potter story. It is hard to transform that customer case example where you installed new servers that are 4x faster into a fast-paced, spell-binding campfire story. And no, few people will be interested in the 30 minute mini episode of a "day in the life of" your hypothetical customer in Amsterdam who had a scalability issue.

So what elements of "story telling" can we use in everyday business presentations? Some ideas.

  • A sequence or flow that keeps the audience interested to hear the next point. This flow might be completely different from a text book business analysis.
  • Some sort of framework, context that keeps the whole thing together. If you use a quantified case example, us the it throughout the presentation to explain different concepts. If you use analogies, keep them comparable.
  • Show data points to which the audience can relate to. Per bottle, % of sales, hours saved. Abstract numbers don't talk
  • Slow down in details that are interesting, relevant, have the courage to skip over content that is obvious and or repetitive
  • Introduce unexpected transitions, "You think this is obvious, right? Well it isn't. Did you know that..."

Business presentations can use elements of story telling without having to open with "let me tell you a story..."

Image via WikiPedia

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