Presentation Story Telling

There are many different methods of telling a story to get across a point during a presentation. Many of these help to be a more engaging speaker and convey your message across with more focus.

This blog will go through three of them that I found interesting and impactful.

Three is the magic number – A story to Convince

This is a useful story telling technique and is used commonly. Three is a number that often comes up in stories (three little pigs, three wise men), and can be used in a few different ways to drive a particular point home. This is because humans find it comfortable to hold 3 pieces of information in it at one time. With the limit generally being between 5 and 7.

With the method of three is the magic number, it forces you to focus a message that may consist of loads of information into something much more digestible.

There are three ways of using the Three is the magic number method:

Attention 3: James Bond

‘Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time is enemy action’

This line delivered by one of James Bonds antagonists is the essence of the first method of three. Nothing that repeats itself three times can be an accident. It is therefore something to pay attention to, as it is a deliberate action.

Using this methodology, when presenting a theory or idea, it can be important to break down all the information you would like to present to one core message. This message being something you can repeat three times to get the attention of your audience. Something that they will leave the presentation thinking about because it was repeated to them.

Reversal 3: Little Pigs

‘Straw and sticks are weak. But a house made of brick? Huff and puff away, Big Bad Wolf’'

This pattern followed in the 3 little pigs is once again another useful technique. Three allows for a pattern to be established and then broken. With the change in pattern taking the audiences attention.

Point 1 and Point 2 are set ups that follow the same pattern, with Point 3 breaking the pattern. It is a pattern that often we can see coming, but is so effective that there is satisfaction when it does.

Moderate 3: Goldilocks

‘This porridge is too hot. This porridge is too cold. But this porridge is just right’

This pattern established in the example of goldilocks is a technique where two extremes are set up initially. Then the third option is something that sits somewhere in the middle.

This final option should have some of the benefits of both the first two options but less of the drawbacks. When presenting the first two points it is important let the audience fully understand the negatives in choosing the extreme so that when a final third moderate option is presented its introduction is a relief.

Rolls Royce Moment – A Story to Explain

So what is the Rolls Royse Moment?

‘Cruising at 60mph, the loudest noise inside the Rolls Royse comes from the electric clock’

This story created a powerful moment that had a significant impact within the industry. With other car manufacturers using it as a point of reference in their advertisement.

But why was this so powerful?

Vivid - In that one line there was enough information to create a sensory movie in your head. One could put themselves in the scenario where they could imagine sound of the noise and the feel of the car.

Representative - The story telling tells us that Rolls Royse is a precision engineering company that pays attention to details. This is what they do.

Relatable - Even if you haven’t driven a Rolls Royse, you can use your own car or experience within a car as a point of comparison. For example, if you drive a noisy car, you could imagine how good the quality of this car must be.

Rags to Riches – A Story to Sell

A very common and simple story telling techniques. Generally the protagonist goes from a low starting point to a position of success. This is a positive story arch used throughout business and can be shown in a simple transaction within a business. A customer has a problem and the business finds a solution to move them to a better place.

This doesn’t necessarily refer to money when talking about success. It can be an inner value that is finally recognized by the society.

So how does the Rags to Riches storyline generally go:

Beginning: Hidden Value

The protagonist is in a bad place, however there is something within them that makes them special. Something that the society does not recognize (and at times, neither do they).

Middle: Trigger/Struggle

At some point there is a some sort of stimuli that makes the hero want to change their circumstance. When working towards their change, they will undergo some struggle to reach the accomplishment. But this is just an obstacle for our hero to overcome.

End: Recognition

Now that the hero has changed their circumstances and persisted through the struggle, everyone else can see their true value and recognises how special they are.

Habeeb Gayle
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