Improve Presentations with Story Structure


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I am hosting a Presentation Story Contest for my students and friends. The contest entries will be posted here on Slideshare and then linked to from my blog at

Learn how you can apply story structure to your presentation to engage your audience and improve presentation results.

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Improve Presentations with Story Structure

  1. 1. Presentation Story Contest July 1 – 31, 2012 Sponsored by Susan Joy Schleef Founder of
  2. 2. Uncover 3 clues for making your presentation more engaging1st Clue: Why doesstorytelling work toimprove yourpresentation results?
  3. 3. "Human beings have always told their histories and truths through parable and fable. We are inveterate storytellers.” ~ Beeban Kidron
  4. 4. Our brain processes information differently when we are in a ‘story listening trance’
  5. 5. “When we read dry, factual arguments, we read with our dukes up. We are critical and skeptical. But when we are absorbed in a story we drop our intellectual guard.” ~ Jonathan Gottschall, author of The Storytelling AnimalSource:
  6. 6. 2nd Clue: What’s thedifference betweenanecdotes and storystructure?Which one worksbetter in apresentation?
  7. 7. Many people tell shortstories or anecdotes whenthey give a speech orpresentation, often as away to illustrate a point. Story structure or narrative structure applies to your presentation as a whole and adds dramatic tension that keeps your audience more engaged.
  8. 8. “Funny as it may sound, storytelling shouldnot be confused with telling stories.” ~ Alexei Kapterev, Presentation SecretsThere’s nothing wrong with telling stories.It’s a good public speaking technique. Butcreating a presentation with a 3-act storystructure will transform your presentationand entrance the mind of your audience.
  9. 9. 3rd Clue: How can youapply a story structureto your presentation?Use 3 simple ideas togive your presentationthe structure andemotional affect ofstory:
  10. 10. 1. Clearly differentiate thebeginning, middle, and ending sections of yourpresentation. Inciting Incident Conflict Problem Resolution Introduce Characters & Situation Establishing Setup Shot
  11. 11. “This timeless storytelling technique ofcreating dramatic tension helps youquickly engage, motivate, and to furtheran emotional connection, and it answersanother important question the audienceis wondering: Why am I here? ” ~ Cliff Atkinson, Beyond Bullet Points
  12. 12. 2. Use a familiar theme or metaphor tohelp your audience relate new information to something they already understand.Apply the theme or metaphor to your key point slides in both your language and your graphics.
  13. 13. “Getting your client to yes is much easierwith metaphors . . .Metaphors help a client see possibilities hedidn’t see before and they help him makethe best decision. ” ~ Anne Miller, Metaphorically Selling “The greatest thing by far is to be master of metaphor.” ~ Aristotle
  14. 14. 3. Make your audience the hero ofthe story by identifying their problemor challenge right at the beginning of your presentation.
  15. 15. “Structure is a selection of eventsfrom the characters’ life stories thatis composed into a strategic sequenceto arouse specific emotions and toexpress a specific view of life. ” ~ Robert McKee, Story
  16. 16. Now that you’veseen some of theclues, are you readyto solve the mystery?Are you ready to trycreating your ownPresentation Story?Are you ready toenter the contest?
  17. 17. Let’s examine the contest rulesYou must tell a story in10 slides or less withpictures and wordsPost your presentationon Slideshare.netIf you don’t already have a Slideshareaccount, it’s free to set one up so go ahead!
  18. 18. Let’s examine the contest rules Send me the link by email to:
  19. 19. Let’s examine the contest rulesI will display all thepresentations on mywebsite and link tothem onFacebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn when firstposted.
  20. 20. Let’s examine the contest rulesYou can share thoselinks on social mediaand encourage yourfriends to commenton your PresentationStory.
  21. 21. Let’s examine the contest rulesThe contest will runfrom July 1st throughJuly 31st (at midnightCentral Daylight Time)
  22. 22. Presentation Story ContestThe presentation thatreceives the mostcomments by July 31will win a prize!(see blog post for details)
  23. 23. Presentation Story ContestThank you for yourinterest in thePresentation StoryContest and good luckwith your entry! Susan Joy Schleef, Founder Presentations With Results, Inc.