Exciting presentation topics: 5 powerful storytelling techniques to keep your audience engaged
Author: Nagy Andrea
A presentation can have multiple missions: the speaker can aim to inspire, inform and persuade the audience. However, a performance can easily fail if it fails to capture and sustain the attention of those present. This is not an easy task, and in addition to exciting presentation topics, it also requires knowledge of the most effective storytelling techniques.
To sell an idea, idea or product, a convincing message is not enough, it must be presented in a way that appeals to both the mind and the emotions of the audience. The most effective, classic storytelling techniques can help.
Well-constructed, engaging stories capture the interest of people of all ages – as opposed to dry facts, one after another, and a plethora of information and data. In addition to setting up visual aids and preparing your audience for the presentation, you should also use some of the effective storytelling techniques. We can draw from the stories, fairy tales, films and books we all know so well. The following methods make the subject more interesting and fascinating.
The best known of these is the monomyth, also known as the hero’s journey. The term was first used by Joseph Campbell in his work The Hero of a Thousand Faces. If we want to summarise the essence of the technique in broad terms, it is about the protagonist leaving his or her familiar environment to go on an adventure, constantly facing challenges and problems. Along the way, he will be strengthened, gain wisdom and ultimately reap the rewards. On your return, you can use your newly acquired knowledge to help the community you started from. The use of the monomyth gives the audience an understanding of what has led the performer to the message or wisdom they wish to share. It underpins the message, and can be used to demonstrate the benefits of risk-taking.
A mountain is a story structure often used in films, similar to a monomyth, but unlike a monomyth, it does not always end with a happy ending. It starts with an introduction, providing basic information, and then continues with a description of the conflict. Through a series of actions and small challenges, it reaches the climax, the drama, where, for example, the protagonist fights a battle with his opponent. The descent into the aftermath of the epic action is a series of lessons learned. The technique can be used to demonstrate how to overcome challenges, slowly increase tension and draw a reassuring conclusion.
In medias res
In medias res is a well-known method, which means that the narrative starts in the middle of things, at the most exciting part of the story. Only then will the rapporteur return to present the circumstances and clarifying information. The advantage of this technique is that it grabs the audience’s attention from the start, but it works mainly for shorter presentations. If the performance goes on too long, the audience may lose patience.
The technique, also known as the flower petal fantasy, organises several stories, narratives and performers around a single central element. It makes the story memorable and digestible for the audience. Anecdotes and examples colour the presentation, and it is important that each detail builds on the ones before it and reinforces the central message. This method is often used at conferences, where different speakers share stories on the same topic.
A false start
A performance full of unexpected twists and turns is particularly good at keeping the audience’s attention. The story starts out predictable and predictable, then takes an unusual turn. This technique is particularly useful when you want to talk about failure and starting over, explain what you have learned from what happened, or describe innovative problem-solving.
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