How prepared are you in using stories in presentation? And do you have the gut?
Updated: Feb 26
I attended a big conference call this week. Well, you know how boring conference calls can be, especially those with over 10 people and wide spectrum of topics (Why is big conference call boring? I think it goes back to the essence of a good communication i.e. you need interaction, but you simply do not have enough air time for all to speak. And voice exchange is the only interaction medium in a conference call.)
Having said that, there was a UK lady in the call who gave an impressive briefing - almost a speech since it was so polished. She started with a story about her son, and then bridged into to her topics, and at last summarized with the same story. More importantly, she impressed me by finishing her entire briefing in 20 minutes, exactly the duration indicated in the agenda.
Let's first focus on the effect. Her performance impressed me a lot, and I believe it impressed most others in the call. It was a very effective way to gain reputation in a community, which help gather collaboration and our work)!!
I then think of her preparation (always the key in any form of presentation). She probably has scripted her speech, well, at least in bullet points. And she must have rehearsed as well in order to have such a good control in time. In addition, she really has spent time selected her stories and practiced telling it. Adding altogether, I guess it may take at least 30 minutes. Well, it may not worth the while for everyonel. But it is definitely worth us to keep it as an option - when you have to build reputation, or when the audience is very important.
And a question to us - why haven't I done it at all before?
Another thought out of this call is the gut in telling a story in such a high level conference call. Hey, everyone is so serious talking about business, with all those high-sounding jargons e.g. strength-based, retention, value-added, matrix.... Do you dare to tell a story relating to your son? I guess this all goes back to how much you believe the power of story, and how much you are willing to take risk. I think the latter question relates to me more. I do believe stories help draw attention and retain memory. And if I take some risk, give it a try though others may think otherwise, get used to it, it will be fine. Yes, it is the risk-averse attitude which is the obstacle.
As I shared with the others in the class, one can only acquire a skill if he / she takes the risk to use it. Open your mind, and do what you believe. Also, as Steve Job said, 'Stay foolish, stay hungry!!'