5 Ways Storytelling Can Be Used for Presenting

Image of the back of a big work presentation

Using storytelling in your presentation can be a great way of elevating your communication skills to leave an impact on your audience. But just how do you do it?

With many sources claiming that public speaking is a limiting factor in access to promotions, it is undoubtedly an important ability to add to your skill set. Introducing storytelling into your presentations is not only a great way to improve the quality of those presentations, but also to reduce anxiety around public speaking.

The human brain innately remembers stories better than facts, it’s the key concept behind the idea of a memory palace, so why not make use of this during your presentations to ensure that your audience leaves with your key points etched into their memory?

What does it mean to use storytelling in presentations?

Using storytelling in your presentation is a great way to structure your presentation to ensure that you hit the key points you’re trying to put across. Introducing key statistics early on in the story then allows you to apply them to a real-world use case.

For example, if you are putting together about work-life balance, using the stat that almost 80% of US workers claim they have a poor work-life balance as a jumping-off point will instantly hook your audience and allow their imaginations to think about how they might solve that problem.

You can then delve into the story you want to tell, using your real-world use case to demonstrate how you solved the issue presented at the beginning of your presentation.

Different storytelling techniques to use

Hero’s journey: The hero’s journey is a very common technique used in storytelling, with common examples including Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings. The technique utilises the idea of a “hero” stepping out of their comfort zone to overcome a problem, developing their skills in order to make the unknown their new normal.

The Mountain Technique: A better technique for complex problems with more ups and downs would probably the Mountain Technique. Think of your favourite TV series that has many ups and downs within each episode that all builds to a big conclusion in the finale.

The False-start Technique: You can captivate your audience by starting the story off in a way that makes the story seem predictable, only to take the story in a different direction and shock your audience.

The Petal Technique: If you want to tell multiple stories that link back to a main idea, then the petal technique is the primary option you should consider. If you picture a flower, the pistil is the main idea with the petals branching off it representing your other stories. Ultimately, every story must link back to your primary idea.

Ways you can use storytelling in a presentation


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There are plenty of ways these techniques can be used in a presentation to great effect, here are a few examples of when storytelling might be most appropriate to use.

Pitching a new idea – Using a story to pitch an idea is a great way to get the audience hooked on an idea before they know all the details.

Training – Storytelling in training helps a new person to put themselves in someone else’s shoes.

Gaining buy-in from stakeholders – Using a real-world example to demonstrate facts and figures can help to bring stakeholders on board.

Presenting data & research – Storytelling when presenting data and research makes the information real and tangible as opposed to abstract figures with no real-world meaning.

Pitching – Introducing an initial concept to investors or team members can be difficult. Using a story will help the audience to visualise the idea and figure out whether they agree with the concept.

The benefits of storytelling

We’ve run through some of the ways that storytelling can be used but now let’s look in a bit more detail at why it’s beneficial.

Storytelling in presentations can help to create common ground with the audience. By demonstrating openness, you show them that you can be trusted and so the rest of your presentation will resonate deeply with them. Not only this, but it allows the audience to picture themselves in the scenario, further strengthening their connection to your presentation.

A relevant use of storytelling can help to engage your audience in a way that simply presenting facts and figures can’t. The human brain naturally remembers stories better than figures so it may also help your audience to be thinking about the ideas you’ve put across long after they leave the presentation.

In conclusion, incorporating storytelling into your presentations is not just a creative touch; it’s a strategic tool that can elevate your communication skills and leave a lasting impact on your audience. Public speaking plays a vital role in career advancement making the adoption of storytelling techniques a valuable investment in your professional development.

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