Is ‘Storytelling’ a hype? As a marketing strategy, maybe, but only when done wrong. Because stories ARE important. Why are they so important? Because stories are part of our everyday life. Each day we tell each other stories. Each day we listen to stories. Stories are part of our DNA.
When we hear a story, we listen better. We remember more. And we trust the source of a story.
This is why storytelling is such a powerful marketing tool. And this is why storytelling needs to be part of public speaking.
In fact, when you do a talk, treat your talk as a story. Craft it like a story. Your audience will remember you for it, will believe your words and will trust you.
Don’t tell stories because others do. Tell them because it’s part of who we are. Because it’s personal. That’s storytelling done well.
How to do Storytelling?
Good storytelling isn’t easy. It’s a lot of work. You need to be prepared. Here are the steps that are important:
When you are speaking in public, you might be inclined to share as much information as possible. That, however, might not be the best choice. People only remember three things.
Here’s the transcript of the video:
Hello! I hope you’re doing well and I hope, you are planning on doing a lot of speaking this year. Maybe you are already doing it!
One thing I wanted to talk to you about today is “how much you put in your presentation?” Because what I’ve learned: a lot of the times when I’m at a conference or listening to talks, is that so many speakers put too much information in their slides or in their presentations.
It’s a tendency which is explainable because a lot of speakers feel like they should give away as much information as possible as they can. However, when you do that, the chances are very high that your audience will “lose” you quite quickly.
There are only three things in general that people take away from a talk. Only three things that they will remember! And the longer the time is between your talk and when they are actually doing something with it, the less they will remember.
That’s why you need to really think about what you put in your presentation. And don’t put in too much.
Try aiming for three things that you want people to take away from your talk. And emphasise those three things. Explain those three topics. And give examples of it. But don’t try to give lists of 10 or even 20 or 15 or whatever kind of number of things you want people to take away. Because they won’t remember.
There are speakers who draw great crowds. Not only during their session, but after as well. People come up to them, ask them questions, take pictures and often enough, become clients.
How do they do that? Of course, with a good presentation. But there is a way to get that attention as well. Here’s how…
Hey! How are you doing? Sometimes, when you’re preparing for a presentation, you will find that you have too much material. You just can’t put it all into your presentation and that sometimes… It sucks, it’s not nice… But it might be something that you can use for your own benefit. Let me tell you why.
Sometimes you want people to come up to you after your talk. You want them to get engaged with you during the breaks. Now, the extra material that you can’t put into your presentation, might actually be something that can help you trigger to get people to come up to you after your talk.
Imagine that at the end of your talk you are almost done and you explain to the audience that you may have a lot more stories about a certain topic. You go like “oh I wish I could tell this now but we don’t have the time for that. But you know what, if you really want to hear the story come up to me afterward and I’ll tell you the story.”
Chances are people will come up to you to hear that last bit, that last story that you couldn’t tell in your presentation. So don’t just rule out the extra information the extra stuff that you have prepared. Use it for your own benefit. Use it after your talk.
Never underestimate the power of a smile in a presentation. It can do wonders for how your audience feels.
Did you know for example that smiling makes people more comfortable with you as a speaker? Your facial expressions are extremely important. The way you look says a lot about how you feel and about your message. At the same time, you don’t want to be smiling through a very serious story. Your facial expressions should be in line with the story.
Bas van den Beld explains.
There’s a smile! When you smile you appear to be more likable. More competent. That’s what you want, right? Because you want to persuade people.
You will also see that your audience will start smiling with you. They will mimic you. Research at the university showed that it’s very difficult to frown if you look at someone who smiles.
Smiling is contagious. A smile affects things and it lives around us. And when you and your audience are both smiling, you will both feel good. Resulting in a better and more persuasive talk.
As a public speaker, it is good to look at how the great ones are doing it. You can learn how they move. Learn how they craft their story. Learn how they inspire their audience. Here you can learn from Renny Gleeson.
Renny Gleeson: 404, the story of a page not found
This talk is from 2012. That might seem old., but it’s on a topic a lot of marketers will understand. Especially those in SEO: the 404 page. In this talk, Renny Gleeson discusses the 404 page and how it’s ‘history’ changed.
Watch the entire talk (only 4 minutes) here:
There are a few things I’d like to highlight about this talk.
The topic of a 404-page may seem empty. And the “solution” he shows is quite simple. So what makes this talk ‘special’? It’s the message behind the talk. The message that only comes at the end of the talk: opportunities. You can handle a 404 page in two ways: as a mistake or as an opportunity. Gleeson goes for the latter.
Gleeson sets a very clear structure for his presentation. Even though it’s only four minutes long. He sets the problem. He makes sure people ‘feel’ the problem. He explains the problem. And he shows the solution. It’s a story on its own.
The body language
Gleeson is calm and controlled in his talk, which comforts the audience. At the same time, he can be very visual. When he explains the ‘404-feeling’ (around the 2-minute mark), he shows the feeling, which is very good. He uses his hands to explain what he is talking about.
The one thing that does annoy a little, is that he looks back at the screen several times. A bit too much to be honest.
In his talk, Gleeson explains the problem of the 404 with a lot of humor. He uses analogies, connects the 4xx errors to sex and shows timing when he reacts to a video he shows. Having humor is of high importance in a talk. But you shouldn’t overdo it. Gleeson is on the edge here of trying to be too funny, but he just stays away from being annoying.
How did he do?
Even though I liked the talk, I don’t think Gleeson delivered a perfect talk here (if there is such a thing). As mentioned above, the danger of trying to be too funny is there. One or two jokes or analogies he could have left out. And he looks behind him at the screen quite often, which is a bad idea when it comes to body language. But in the end, the talk works. I would say because of the powerful message in the end.
When we speak, we try to persuade. We try to persuade the audience of our views. We try to persuade potential clients of our products or services. We try to persuade, period.
But persuasion doesn’t ‘just happen’. It happens for a reason. So we should dive into the minds of those we are targeting. And we should understand how persuasion works. This video, narrated by one of the great experts in persuasion Robert Cialdini, might be a good start.
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