65 – 70% retention

don’t lie but do tell stories

This is the last of five thoughts dealing with professional presentations and public speaking. An Australian survey found that 70% of executives believe that good presentation skills are critical to professional advancement. Despite the widely acknowledged importance of presentation skills, this slightly arrogant but award-winning speaker finds that most executives present badly.

There are two very good reasons to build your speeches and presentations around stories:

  • Stories are easy to remember and fun to tell.
  • Stories increase audience retention from 25-30% to 65-70%

Many speakers stress over memorising a speech. It is, however, relatively easy to remember a series of stories. Stories are also fun to tell and help illustrate key points.

Audiences tend to remember no more than 3 points from a speech, and much of what they do recall is lost shortly after the speech. Stories, on the other hand, stay with an audience because they engage, illustrate points, and are often interesting enough to be retold.

In a previous thought, I made the point that great speakers have conversations. Great speakers also tell stories. Consider the likes of Seth Godin, Simon Sinek and just about every TED talker you can remember. They are all story-tellers.

Telling stories also reduces the reliance on PowerPoint and similar presentation platforms.

Telling stories is something we have all done since we were young. Sometimes the stories we told were true and at other times they were not so true. In a speech, it is preferable that the stories we tell are true.

These stories can be:

  • Accounts of personal experiences
  • Case studies dealing with organisations or individuals
  • Stories from the classics that illustrate a point
  • Stories you have been told by those wiser than you

These stories should certainly be:

  • Simple
  • Relatable
  • Relevant

Maybe you should stop giving speeches and start telling stories.

These tips might help make your presentation more potent. Email me for more.

In 2018, don’t lie, but do tell stories

Every year – put the facts ahead of intuition and guesswork.

Sources of core statistics – Corporate Communication Experts, The Career Café, Forbes, Making Business Matter and Alvernia University

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