When you give any presentation for your business, you probably recall the advice to “Open with a story.”
There are many ways to open and I can write about those in a future email.
.You open with a story to engage the audience, set the mood, and gain their attention. Over the course of your professional life, you’ll hear opening stories that can be inspirational, moving, hilarious…or just plain cringeworthy. Feel free to share any of you own memorable examples.
But there are at least 3 other ways to use stories in your presentation…and they don’t have to come at the beginning.
BTW, a presentation doesn’t necessarily mean standing up in front of a live audience (or talking to them on a Zoom call). You’re making a presentation when you’re invited to be a podcast guest, when you introduce yourself at a networking event, and whenever you’re defined clearly as a presenter – the center of attention – rather than an audience member as you speak.
You can use stories to
A – design your presentation. Each part of the story expands into a point you want to make.
B – demonstrate your understanding of a problem you solve. Maybe you talk about a client who struggled. You describe her struggles meaningfully, without judgment. You demonstrate plausible – not pie-in-the-sky solutions.
C – sell without selling. A strong sales story will have your audience saying, “I want what they’re having.” Sometimes they’ll respond on the spot; sometimes they’ll follow up later.
Point (C) is especially powerful. Often you’re not allowed to sell directly. Pitch when you’re a podcast guest and (unless you have permission ahead of time), the host will edit out your pitch and never invite you back.
What are your questions/thoughts about sales presentations and stories?