The average presenter delivers his or her message using slides filled with facts, figures, and bullet points. While the data may impress listeners, it rarely stirs the soul, ignites the imagination, and inspires action. That's why great presenters use the power of a good story, along with convincing data. They know that emotion, not logic, inspires most actions. Stories can go where data is denied access: our hearts. What's your story? Use the following five steps of S.T.O.R.Y. "to put your ideas into the world" and deliver a memorable meaningful message that gets results.
et the scene with the time, place, and characters of the story. Briefly talk about the circumstances and facts that give your audience context.
ell the trouble. What's the main conflict, problem, or challenge in your story? Who or what is the 'enemy' that's causing the trouble?' Describe the tension.
vercome the obstacle. How is the problem solved? Who or what resolved the issue? Bring your characters (and the audience) safely through the conflict.
eveal the reward. Tell the audience how things will change for the better. What benefits were gained? What lesson was learned? What's the moral or main point of the story?
ou-focus. Finally, tie the story back to the audience. Ask a question or make a point that connects the story specifically to them. What will they gain by experiencing the story?
this structure work in the real world? Meet Laura, the president of customer
operations for a large healthcare technology firm. Laura knew her prospect (a large hospital) was in desperate need of more space in their emergency department--they needed more rooms to accommodate the growing number of patients. Laura's product was the perfect solution. Her product converts paper records into electronically stored images. This frees up physical space and allows a hospital to convert former storage rooms to patient rooms. To kick off the presentation, Laura turned off the slides and told a story instead. Notice how she uses the five-part formula to craft her message and move the audience to action:
Set the scene: Two weeks ago I was visiting a client in California; a large 800-bed hospital similar to your size here at Memorial Hospital. Cindy Smith, Director of Patient Services, told me about a little boy named Roy who had fallen off his bike and skinned his knee badly. That's no big deal for most kids--you know how resilient they can be, right?
Tell the trouble: However, Roy's mother saw the scene out the kitchen window, shrieked, and raced him to the hospital. Why the panic? Roy is a hemophiliac. Last year, after a similar incident, Roy almost died due to blood loss caused by the extreme wait in the emergency department. The hospital was filled to capacity and they didn't have a vacant bed for Roy.
Overcome the obstacle: This time, when Roy and his mom arrived at the hospital, it was a different story. There was a room available. The nurses had Roy in a bed with the bleeding stopped in less than five minutes, which saved his life. What was different this time? Acme's Document Imaging Solution. It allowed this hospital to free up 2,000 square feet of space. Rooms formerly used for storing paper medical records had been converted to patient rooms.
Reap the reward. As a result, not only was Roy and other patients treated immediately, the hospital's patient satisfaction ratings skyrocketed in the first six months. Plus, they're now treating 20 percent more patients, and achieving a higher profit margin. All this without a single capital expenditure.
You-focus. How about your team here at Memorial Hospital? How many more "Roys" could you serve with a few extra emergency department rooms? And what would that extra capacity mean for patient and employee satisfaction, not to mention increased revenue? The purpose of today's presentation is to explore how Acme's Document Imaging Solution can benefit Memorial...and your patients."
Laura won the business that day, and her story helped. In her conclusion, she asked the decision-maker if he would agree to the recommended next steps. He replied, "Yes. We've got to make room for 'Roy.'"
If you would like to learn more about effective storytelling and delivering powerful presentations, please read my book Well Said! Presentations and Conversations That Get Results (available in Hardcover, Kindle, and Audio).
Feel free to contact me directly to schedule an in-house corporate training event for your team. I would be honored to support your presentation success.