To create a solid presentation, it is essential to first consider the elements that bring a story to life. When the story elements aren’t present, it can be hard to stay focused. For example, imagine this: it’s 4:00 p.m. and you’re about to join another Zoom call. When the host lets you in, it immediately starts screen sharing and you already feel like you are starting to lose focus.
In the virtual age, attendees can be very easily distracted and tired of staring at a screen all day. According to Global Newswire, 49% reported a high degree of exhaustion due to numerous daily video calls. As a result, we’re constantly fighting to keep our audience’s attention, whether it’s in a keynote or a team meeting.
There is a solution to ensure truly dynamic and strong presentations. Let’s move on to how you can make your meetings, presentations, and video calls even better with these three storytelling elements, which I like to remember as “CAR”:
When you first think about building your presentation, it can seem like an overwhelming feat. Of course, you want your presentation to be well-designed to keep your attendees captivated. However, you don’t need to have a design team or even be a professional graphic designer to be creative. What has the most impact on audience interaction and attention is your delivery.
One example is Elena Valentine, CEO of Skill Scout Films. During her keynote speech at a marketing summit, she began her presentation with a slam poem. She used it to illustrate her journey into public speaking, conveying her presentation style.
This is directly related to being an authentic presenter. When you share stories from your own personal experience, you show your audience that you trust them. Plus, it makes the presenter and attendees feel more connected.
Vanessa Van Edwards, best-selling author and keynote speaker, shares a childhood photo to kick off her TED Talk on body language. Poking fun at herself, her attendees were immediately hooked on what she was saying.
By embedding a story throughout your presentation, you can consistently reference it throughout the presentation. Plus, a general theme makes it easier for your audience to follow along and stay tuned to your story.
One of my favorite stories that really encompasses all of “CAR” is of my manager Lorraine talking about her journey into public speaking.
She tells how much she was a ball of nerves at the very thought of speaking in public. But, after continuing to sign up for gigs, she now has regular speaking engagements and has been named one of the top virtual speakers.
In its history, it integrates these three elements:
- Creativity: She uses simple cut-out graphics and GIFs to allow us to follow her as she prepares to head to the Empire State Building for an on-camera interview.
- Authenticity: She is also vulnerable with the public by sharing a personal story.
- Relevance: Finally, it incorporates relevance because, at one time or another, most people have felt a level of uncertainty and nervousness before speaking in public. Lorraine also shares how to be more confident and competent in video by sharing how far she has come in her public speaking journey.
When we meet virtually, our participants are limited to seeing only the upper half of our body. And if you share your screen, they only see you in a small box. By incorporating these three elements into our meetings and presentations, we can connect with our attendees and keep them captivated all the time.
Beyond the keynote
Video conferencing fatigue has taken a toll on the workforce due to the shift to remote and hybrid working. We have seen that a video meeting is not quite the same as a face-to-face meeting. We have to work harder to understand the nonverbal communication of other participants. When you’re in a meeting, people often have their microphones turned off, which can make it sound like you’re talking to yourself. Having to watch yourself in front of the camera can also be very exhausting and cause you to focus more on yourself than on your audience.
Needless to say, overcoming video conferencing fatigue is crucial by making your meetings more interactive and engaging by inserting – you guessed it – a story.
Shivani Berry, CEO and founder of female leadership program Ascend, recently shared an article on LinkedIn outlining how to get your team to support and invest in your ideas, which can also be applied for job interviews and your career. .
She recommends using stories to get people to trust your ideas and what you’re talking about through the AIM framework.
- Audience – You want to understand what your audience cares about and what they want to know
- Intent – The way you structure your story, based on your end goal.
- Message – What is the key point you are trying to get across?
If you wanted to implement this framework for a job interview, here’s how you could structure it: Your audience is likely made up of the interviewer and the team you hope to join.
Let’s say they want to know how you can be a great asset to their business. Your intention as a candidate is to structure your answers around what you plan to bring to the company.
This is your chance to really sell your experiences. Finally, the post you share should answer this question: “How will my experiences/stories show that I will be a great addition to the company?”
The next time you’re creating a presentation, preparing for an interview or a meeting, find a way to incorporate a story. This will ensure that your attendees will stay tuned to your presentation.
Image Credit: RODNAE Productions; pexels; Thanks!
Video credit: Naba Ahmed; Prezi; Thanks!
GIF Credit: Lorraine Lee; Prezi; Thanks!
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