Transport Your Audiences Through the Power of Storytelling
One of my clients was working on a presentation about facing fear. At one point in her talk, she told a story about jumping out of a perfectly good plane.
Initially, her story consisted of her and her best friend going up in the plane. Her friend, in tandem with one of the instructors, jumped first. The words my client chose to describe the event were entirely accurate but not very engaging.
I explained to my client that it was doubtful her friend merely walked to the open door, sat down on the edge of the plane, and fell out. My client agreed. She told me that her friend and the instructor shimmied their way to the edge of the aircraft, quickly exchanged a few words, and then tumbled out. She then continued to describe, in detail, how she and her instructor followed suit.
When my client finished, I suggested that she use her body to visually tell the story, matching her movements to her words. She had it down in only a few tries. At that point, she realized how captivating it is when your words and body language come together to tell your story. She then edited her talk, substituting words that were more descriptive and lent themselves to a more engaging use of body language.
The difference between my client’s original story and her final story is that she progressed from relaying facts to reliving her story. In her final version, she included the sounds of the engine and the wind, the non-stop vibration of the plane, and the intense feeling of fear blended with exhilaration.
When you tell stories, relive them. Include as many of the five senses as possible and feasible. Move your body to illustrate how the characters moved. And, when recalling dialogue, use names. This brings your characters to life and makes it easier for your audiences to follow the interchange. All of this provides the opportunity for your audiences to experience your stories fully — what a difference it will be for them … and you.
Oh, yeah. If you’re wondering how my client’s actual presentation went, by all accounts, she flew to new heights.