Your living room stories belong in your presentation – here’s why. - The Pickering Group

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Your living room stories belong in your presentation – here’s why.

If I asked you to recall the most memorable speaker you’ve seen, who springs to mind? 

Some of my favourites include the late Sir Ken Robinson, Brene Brown, and Margaret Heffernan. What makes them, and likely the ones you have enjoyed too, so compelling is that they are also great story-tellers. 

Stories are one of our most powerful mechanisms of persuasion – and a great emotive tool – that can quickly turn a boring presentation into one that engages and inspires. 

Broadly speaking, there are four types of story themes: 

  • Triumphs – when you have prevailed 
  • Tragedy – when something went wrong 
  • Lesson – when your wisdom grew through failure 
  • Epiphany – a realisation or aha moment 

These are your ‘spotlight stories’ – derived from years of practical experience before success; resilience, failure, courage, and curiosity. Brief but powerful, your spotlight stories shed light on your authenticity as a speaker. The deeper the story, the deeper the audience is able to connect with your message and move toward point B

When you know what type of story you’re telling, make sure you hit all five of these essential elements to create impact: 

  • Establish a concrete setting to tie the picture to reality
  • Have an interaction between real characters that relays the drama of the story 
  • Consider your plot; each action must lead to a consequence for the narrative to flow with meaning
  • A twist adds an element of surprise and climax, leading to an end that justifies why the story needed to be told
  • The story must have relevance and emphasise a point or support your overall message

Many of the people I work with are reluctant about sharing stories, believing it too risky to share their tragedies or lessons. They fear ruining their credibility. However, those stories of wonderment, humiliation, loss, and eventual triumph are defining moments that deeply resonate with others. 

In ‘Business Storytelling for Dummies’, Karen Dietz outlines three types of intimacy in storytelling (and I’ll clue you in to which one you should be aiming for): 

  • Bedroom stories – Deeply personal and only for you and your closest confidants 
  • Living room stories – Shared in a safe space, inviting people in with a measure of vulnerability (bingo!)
  • Front porch stories – Accessed or shared frequently and appropriate for anyone 

My business storytelling programme enables people to access and share those vulnerable living room stories authentically. The best stories are painful and beautiful in equal measure, and audiences appreciate your willingness to invite them in. 

If you want to uncover your own living room stories and tell them with confidence, check out my business storytelling programme, or drop me an email for more. 

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