Would you rather listen to dry statistics or to a story? As an assistant, you have probably helped put together many important presentations over the years. When you’ve listened to speakers delivering presentations you may have found them dull, fascinating or somewhere in between. What makes the difference in how a listener responds to a presentation? How can you help your executive make the biggest impact with a presentation?
The power of stories
The great movie producer and storyteller Peter Goober reminds us that flip-charts, instructions, statistics, raw data etc. can provide information “…but stories have a unique power to move people’s hearts, minds, feet and wallets in the storyteller’s intended direction.”
Not only do stories help us make sense of the world,
Finding and shaping stories
Assistants are well placed to be both told stories of what is happening in their
The story structure
I prefer to construct the end of the story FIRST – it’s easier to start a journey if you know where you are headed. Let’s take the example of a client who’s come to a financial adviser for help. I would paint a picture of how the client felt after you had helped them (the ‘…and they all lived happily ever after’ line).
There are some important points to remember to make your story really effective:
Practice your own storytelling
Why not practice telling stories yourself and use them for a practical purpose? For example, if you want to solve a problem, construct a narrative around it – turn it into a story. Most problems involve other people so I challenge you to make them the hero of the story and make yourself the guide.
By doing this you are automatically looking at the situation from the other person’s point of view and trying to think how you can solve their problem. This can be a really refreshing and enlightening process.
Once you start thinking in stories the uses can be surprising and fun. Had a bad day? Structure it into a story and at least you will
As you work with stories you’ll also be able to help other people in your
Storytelling may seem like an old-fashioned tool - because it is! That’s what makes it powerful. A story can go where statistics cannot: our hearts.
About the Author: Chris Hirsch is from Toastmasters International, a non-profit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of meeting locations. Headquartered in Rancho Santa Margarita, California, the organization’s membership exceeds 345,000 in more than 15,900 clubs in 142 countries. Since 1924, Toastmasters International has helped people of all backgrounds become more confident in front of an audience. There are more than 300 clubs in the UK and Ireland with over 7,500 members.
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