Stories are what connect us to each other. Stories can be written in books, they can be unwritten in our own lives. As humans, we tend to make connections with others when there’s a common ground or a similarity that we can relate to. That’s why so many people are drawn to stories, whether they’re fictional or non-fictional books and movies.
There’s just something special about being able to put yourself in another person’s shoes and relate to the emotions they’re feeling. But it’s about more than just connecting with each other through stories.
Stories have the power to change the status quo, strengthen us against our fears, and give us courage over and over again. That’s why stories shouldn’t be reserved for novels and movies – they have a place in business, too.
Why Stories Are Important
If you’re a brand, business, or organization trying to spread your message, stories can be a great way to do so. They can help you reach your audience and build a new connection with them.
In a world where we’re bombarded with messages, stories give us a reason to pay attention to them. They invite us to connect and find common ground with your brand or company.
Brands and businesses can no longer rely on the traditional ways of marketing and advertising to get their messages across. We’re inundated with content and our brains are filtering things out like never before. Your story narrative will help people find your story easier to remember and understand in an emotional way.
Stories help create authenticity and empathy, two key ingredients for building trust and relationships. With storytelling, you can transform your business identity and the way you lead people.
Humanizing Your Brand Identity Is Powerful
As a passionate business owner, you have a story to tell. You’re excited about your new business and have high hopes for the future. But first, you need to introduce your business to the world.
Humanizing the brand is very powerful because it makes businesses more likable. Every human being appreciates a good story. We like to hear about others’ experiences and learn from them so we can apply those lessons to our own lives.
The same goes for building a connection with your customers. When they hear your story, they feel closer to you and trust that you’re on their side, which helps build customer loyalty.
A great way to do this is to tell your brand’s story on your website or in product descriptions. This can help customers build an emotional connection with you that makes them want what you’re selling even more than before – provided it seems genuine!
Stories Can Also Be Used to Reinforce
Stories allow us to connect with people. This is how we build empathy and understanding for those around us.
In business, stories can also be used to empower people. Imagine you’re sitting in a meeting with some colleagues and you’ve to give a presentation. You could just recite the facts and figures, but that probably wouldn’t have much impact. If you tell a compelling story, on the other hand, you can get people excited about what you’re saying.
And those are easy to tell: Just think about the last time you went out for drinks with friends or had a conversation over dinner at a restaurant – chances are, the most memorable conversations are full of stories.
So think about your own life experiences and consider which ones would help your audience understand what it’s like to work at your company or use your product or service. You don’t need to write a script – just put together a short PowerPoint presentation and let the conversation flow from there.
How to Tell a Personal Story in a Business Presentation
When you’re giving a presentation, it’s often tempting not to talk about yourself. You may worry that your background is too personal or has nothing to do with the project at hand.
When you tell your audience who you’re and why you’re there, you give them something valuable: context. And when your audience has context, they can better understand what you’re saying and how it applies to them.
So how can you tell a personal story in a business presentation? The most important thing is that it relates to the purpose of the presentation and captures the interest of the audience. Here’s how:
Keep it personal and relevant. Your story must relate to the project at hand. For example, if you’re talking about a new product feature, tell how it was inspired by something that happened to you in real life. If you do this right, the audience will realize how much the project means to you. If they believe in your passion, they’ll want to believe in your product.
Don’t be too brief or too long. If you go into too much detail about something that’s not directly related to the main topic, people will lose interest.
Start With Your Goal
The first step should always be to think about what you want to accomplish with your presentation. What do you want the audience to know or do? If you’re not clear about this, everything else will be less effective – and telling an individual story probably won’t help.
The Beginning Should Be a Strong Statement That Leads to the Purpose of the Presentation
The middle section should take your audience through the journey of your story – where you went or what happened. Above all, don’t tell us everything that happened from beginning to end. Instead, choose a part of the journey that’s of special significance to what you’re presenting today. Then end your story with how that meaning relates to the purpose of your presentation.
Choose the Right Story
Make sure the story relates to the purpose of the presentation and the company culture and identity. A story about sailing may be fun and interesting, but it falls apart if it doesn’t relate to the purpose of your presentation.
The most effective way to tell a personal story is to use an analogy – a true incident from your life that illustrates one of your main messages. This way, the audience can more easily understand and remember the information because they can see how it applies in real life.
Here are three ways you can use a personal story in a business presentation:
- Fun storytelling. If your company is low on PowerPoint, high on humor, and low on jargon, funny stories are an ideal way to keep your audience awake and engaged. Just make sure your humor is tasteful, appropriate to the setting, and it doesn’t affect your company’s dignity.
- Case studies. Case studies that describe how one of your clients solved a problem with your help can be very powerful in showing what you do – better than any fancy diagram or graphic could. And they’re perfect if they include real numbers because they show how well your product or service works. However, be sure to get permission from the people (or companies) before including them in case of studies, because no one likes surprises when it comes to their privacy.
- Personal story. Your life experience can also be valuable to the audience if it illustrates something important about your topic.
Avoid telling multiple stories in one presentation, one individual story is enough, you don’t want to overdo it.
Stories Can Be Used to Empower and to Humanize
Storytelling is an art. If you want to tell a personal story, you need to include it in a way that doesn’t feel forced but can be integrated into the rest of your presentation.
Whether it’s a company presentation, a Ted Talk, or in writing, stories can be used to help people understand complex concepts, build relationships, persuade listeners, and accomplish other goals in your business presentations.