Power Presentations Tip 39: Tell Me a Story

Tell me a story. Do you remember saying that to your parents when you were a child? Perhaps children have pleaded with you to tell them a story. It’s not just children who want to hear stories.

The entertainment industry thrives on telling stories. TV, movies and even sports are about telling stories. Notice the big dollars that the celebrities and stars make. Why? Because we crave stories and we reward our story tellers handsomely. Note the success of Oprah, Steven King and James Cameron.

Story telling has been with us since cave men huddled around a flickering campfire. Imagine the challenge of presenting to a group of hungry, frightened and shivering cave dwellers. Story telling entertained, educated and excited people eons ago and it still enthralls us today.

What does that tell you?

When you tell stories in your presentations you will sell more, persuade more effectively and enjoy greater results from your presentations. You’ll also feel better about speaking because story telling is more comforting than giving a speech.

Most of us would rather tell stories than give a speech. Ask someone to choose between telling a story or giving a speech guess what they will pick. While public speaking gets high rating as a fear, story telling does not. If you are nervous about giving a speech work a few stories into your presentation.

Stories in a presentation help you get your message across better Yes, you can and should tell stories in business and sales presentations. One of my clients included stories in his presentation to close a $10 million deal.

I suggest that you follow this simple formula to make stories work for you.

Three elements to an effective story:
Conflict – The conflict grabs our attention. Create the setting. Make it vivid.
Resolution – We need closure even if the closure is based on hope.
Point – Only tell a story to help clarify a point.

It’s best to tell a personal story because:
You lived it so you don’t need to memorize it.
It’s your story so no one else is likely to tell it.
The audience feels privileged when you share a personal experience.


Rehearse and edit the words in your story to include only the details necessary to make your point. Your most difficult task is leaving out some of the details. Your audience doesn’t need all the details to get the point. The story is for the audience not for you.

The story doesn’t need to be funny. If it is that’s a nice bonus.

Like every story teller you are allowed some creative license. It’s best if the story is 100% true. But it is more important that the story be believable. Some true stories are not believable. Don’t waste your time with those unbelievable tales. Sometimes you might alter some small detail to make the story easier to tell or better illustrate your point.

If the story is so painful that you can’t tell it without crying – don’t use it – unless you are speaking at a funeral.

Tell stories to better illustrate your point.

Tell stories to be more memorable.

Tell stories to sell more.

The best public speakers are master story tellers. If you want more success when you present – tell stories.


© George Torok is a masterful story teller and exciting presenter. He helps business leaders deliver million dollar presentations. Claim your free Power Presentation Tips at http://www.speechcoachforexecutives.com/ Arrange Presentation Skills Training for your team. Call direct 905-335-1997

Tell me a story

Executive Speech Coach, Business presentation tips from George Torok, the Speech Coach for Executives
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