Storytelling in business

Today, everyone is talking about “story telling” in presentations. That is great: stories are much more memorable than dry descriptive bullet points. But business presentations are not action-packed thriller movies, and when you force story telling on a business presentation, you will know, and the audience will know as well.

I take a pragmatic approach to story telling in business presentations. Rather than forcing myself to come up with a story, I take a step back and think about what makes a good story, and what makes a good story teller, and applies those elements to my business presentation.
  • Use human language, and cut all marketing speak and buzzwords
  • Establish some sort of connection to the audience before you dive into the content. Tell something personal that explains why you are passionate about the subject you are talking about.
  • At the starting point, set a setting, or a stage that is familiar to the audience. In a sales pitch, this is often the confirmation of a specific problem that a customer is facing.
  • From this starting point, build up to the surprise, the unexpected, the contrast. This tension makes a story stick. If possible you would go through multiple waves of the familiar setting, and the contrasting surprise. As a result you might well have to give up on your business school style logical presentation structure.