One of the unfortunate facts of innovation is that a great idea badly presented can lose out to an average idea well presented. Stories can make for a compelling presentation – or just as likely for a boring presentation...
While stories are as old as humanity, in an age of information overload they’ve become more important than ever. It’s too easy to get lost in an avalanche of facts and figures, so a captivating story provides clarity while engaging your audiences’ emotions. Capturing their imaginations. Compelling them forward.
The right story that is.
Having worked in advertising I know all about the mechanics of effective storytelling. Which I've put to good use when coaching organisations across the country to tell their story.
Problem is, too many leaders think storytelling is just about telling a story. That any relevant story will do. So they talk about themselves, sharing a personal anecdote.
Which for them feels compelling – after all it’s their story. But for their audience, typically it’s vaguely interesting at best. Just like looking at someone else’s holiday photos doesn’t come close to being on the holiday yourself.
It doesn’t have to be this way. All that’s needed is a simple flip in your thinking:
Don’t tell stories about yourself.
Tell stories about your audience.
While it may seem impossible to simultaneously tell stories about multiple people you don’t know, with the right technique it’s easier than you think.
As other presenters send the audience to sleep with a story beginning “Last summer I spent my holidays at the beach...” flip your thinking and lead out your story with “Have you ever stood on the beach just looking out to the horizon. Imagining what might be?”
Then with your audience’s imagination engaged – and only then – you can safely bridge into “Last summer I...”
Secure in the knowledge you’re now talking about their future, not just your own.
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