'Tell me a story'. That's really what your audience are thinking when they arrive at your presentation. They don't want to be bamboozled by masses of facts and details, they want you to tell a story that enables them to really engage with the purpose of your presentation and remember your key facts.
Storytelling predates writing, with the earliest forms of storytelling primarily oral combined with gestures and expressions. Stories are effective educational tools because listeners become engaged and therefore remember. While the story listener is engaged, they are able to imagine new perspectives, relate to their own experiences and make emotional connections. 'Tell me a story' is not a request for entertainment, it is the search for understanding. Story telling needs to be a key part of your preparation.
Having decided on the purpose and key points of your presentation, it's time to start building your story. One of the best ways to do this is through story boarding.
Storyboards are graphic organizers in the form of illustrations or images displayed in sequence for the purpose of pre-visualizing a motion picture, animation, motion graphic or interactive media sequence.
The storyboarding process, in the form it is known today, was developed at the Walt Disney Studio during the early 1930s, after several years of similar processes being in use at Walt Disney and other animation studios.
Here are some approaches to story boarding to consider when planning your next presentation.
Used by film makers and comic book writers, this traditional approach maps out in graphic form the key elements you wish to cover in a sequential form and makes very clear how you are going to tell me a story.
A mind map is a diagram used to visually outline information. A mind map is often created around a single word or text, placed in the center, to which associated ideas, words and concepts are added. Major categories radiate from a central node, and lesser categories are sub-branches of larger branches.
As with other diagramming tools, mind maps can be used to generate, visualize, structure, and classify ideas, and as an aid to studying and organizing information, solving problems, making decisions, and writing.
If you are not confident in your drawing ability, another practical way to build your storyboard is by using the humble Post-It.
Using this method you simply brainstorm ideas for your presentation content, from facts to images, from themes to stories and anecdotes and any other evidence or ideas you wish to include in your presentation.
Place the Post Its on a wall or table or other flat surface. Once you have exhausted your ideas start arranging the information into categories and a sequence. A good place to start is to split the items according to the key points you wish to make during your presentation. You can then use sub categories to develop your story line and the sequence you will use to tell me a story, eliminating unnecessary items as you go.
Some people prefer to use a simple planning template to help them think through and sequence their presentation.
Of course, you can also use a combination of these methods to plan how you will tell me a story.
Richard Lock: International trainer, speaker,and coach helping businesses and individuals learn the secrets of effective communication.
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