How to Grab an Audience’s Attention with a Story in a Presentation (Part 2 of 5)

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How to grab an audience’s attention with a story. Stories are a great way to open a presentation. Everybody loves a well-told story. Many people, however, don’t have enough confidence in their story-telling skills to do it. If you follow the classic story-telling template in addition to a few simple tips, you will get better. No doubt about it.

1. Tell your story in about 30 to 60 seconds. An attention-grabber should not be long-winded. For shorter presentations, stick to around 30 seconds but you’ll have leeway for longer presentations. I always recommend practicing attention-grabbers, which are also called “attention-getters,” several times beforehand to make it crisp.

2. Follow the story template. Most stories have a beginning middle and ending. A clear structure will help you touch on the essential elements of the story without sharing nonessential details.

– Beginning: Mention the time, people, and place in about one sentence.
– Middle: Give a few action-oriented steps that lead up to the climactic event of the story. The climactic event is the key tipping point or emotional high point of the story.
– End: Explain how the conflict in the story resolved.

If you do it right, the attention-grabber story has a nice arc that brings listeners on a mini-journey that they can picture and hear in their own minds.

3. The story should speak to the heart of the message of the rest of the presentation. It should lead right to the key topic. Avoid telling stories that may be just good stories but are not as related.

– You may want to tell the beginning and middle of the story in your attention grabber and save the ending for the closing of the presentation. Find a natural place to break the story in the beginning so listeners still felt like that heard a relatively complete story and then reveal a little more about it in the clincher. It’s always very satisfying to listeners when presenters call back the attention getter at the end.

Related Videos in the Series:
Best 5:
Use a Story:
Use Humor:
Use Questions:
Use Statistics:

See this related video: How to Open and Close Presentations:

Alex Lyon’s Book: Case Studies in Courageous Communication:

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