We are moved by stories

If people aren’t moved by your presentation, it’s not because you lack the information.

It’s not because you didn’t have enough statistics, data, or pie charts. It’s not because the line graphs were the wrong color. It’s not because the font was too big or too small (though small font is a turn off). 

And, it’s not because your audience lacks the information. 

Everybody has all the information!

If we haven’t moved on your ideas it’s because we haven’t been able to find or adopt a story from the presentation.

Your job as a presenter is to tell a story we can adopt. We might choose not to adopt it, but at least we would be able to if we wanted. 

This responsibility is the case regardless of whether it’s a formal or informal event. This responsibility is the case whether your audience is a spouse, a client, a city council, a classroom, or a seated crowd. All of us want a story we can adopt. 

A quick gut check on whether you are headed in the right direction: If what you are planning to present makes you a bit self-conscious, you are probably going in the right direction.

Stories require a point of view which means you need to have one. This also means you are exposing your point of view to others. And that… makes you vulnerable.

Be brave. Go forth.

by Jonathan Wilson

Jonathan is the Head Coach at Sandcastle Company, a Seattle-based leadership training organization. His first book, Future Leader: Rebooting Leadership to Win the Millennial and Tech Future [link], is now available. Jonathan regularly writes and speaks about The New Leader Way, leadership resilience, and the future of work. He has years of leadership experience in both the public and private sectors, a master's degree from Seattle University, and professional coach training from the University of Miami.

Filed under: Leadership

Published on January 10, 2020

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