WHAT YOU NEED ARE THE 6CS OF PRESENTATION STORYTELLING
If you are going to tell stories in your presentations, make sure you cover these six points.
This is the setup and the situation. This is where you bring people into your story and change the tone of your wider presentation. Probably you will also lower your voice, change its tone, maybe even slow down and turn the projector off. Or have a picture to illustrate the scene you are setting up. Evocative, specific details help – the clouds scudding, the waves kicking up, smoking, etc. This brings your story alive and gives it realism. Detail is good.
All your stories need a hero. In my prison story, it’s Andy. In my presentation story the hero is me. Your audience needs someone they can identify with and who overcomes some sort of challenge, or resolves a mystery.
What is the obstacle our hero has to face? Typically, this will be something that they overcome and results in some sort of change. How they overcome the challenge will typically result in some lesson or moral – the point of your story.
This is where the outcome is unclear. You need some tension and jeopardy. Something goes wrong. Will there be a positive outcome?
Success! The challenge is overcome and the conflict is resolved. (For example, I resolved my situation by making the links between my case studies and the client’s challenges much more obvious.)
This is where you bring the story back to the audience and draw out the key lessons for the audiences. Ancient fables used the technique “and the moral of the story is….”. We’ve lost this expositional technique in modern storytelling but the risk of leaving it out is that the audience doesn’t ‘get it’. Make it clear and squeeze the meaning for them.
The last point is critical. There is a lot of literature on storytelling but relatively little of it covers the last point. But without it, your story is no more than a nice anecdote or a joke. A little interlude. By making the connection back to audience needs clear, your story will have power and resonance. The Connection element also enables you to build a bridge back to the rest of your presentation.
Follow the 6Cs and your story will hit home.