The infamous ‘death by powerpoint’ presentation. Endless slides… and endless bullets. First the faces straighten… then the heads go down… the nervous shifting in seats… and then, stifled yawns.
But if you’d been with me in Washington DC back in August 2006, you’d have experienced a very different audience energy. The speaker was Ed Hearn, a preacher & barrister from Chicago…
It’s 10 o’clock in the morning… on a Saturday. Hardly the ideal time of day for electrifying an audience! But within minutes, Ed had us laughing and cheering – and taking home a message that I can still remember clearly four years later.
How did Ed manage this? Simple – he used a story. A childhood story about his favourite toy… and his spoilt, baby brother Ricky.
What if your key message were still hitting home with your audience four years from now? How might this benefit you and your organisation? More to the point, how long do your messages currently stick with your audience?
Bill Gove, the father of the professional speaking industry in the USA was once asked for his top tip on effective speaking. He replied: “Make a point, tell a story.” Why? Because while your audience may forget your point, they’re more likely to remember your story. And if they do, they’ll remember your point!
Trouble is, so often in business, stories get crowded out by facts, by data. In short, by rational evidence that may well be important, but which is rarely memorable.
What stories could you use to illustrate your points, next time you present to an audience? Whether you’re using powerpoint or not, if you link stories to your key points you’ll stand a better chance of ensuring your messages actually stick.
Unconvinced? Just ask Ed Hearn – the speaker who told the story about his baby brother Ricky. It won him the 2006 World Championship of Public Speaking!
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