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These storytelling tips can improve your presentations at work

3 May 2019

If you want to elevate your presentation skills, draw upon some of the basic tenets of storytelling to captivate your audience.

Presentations are a valuable opportunity to dazzle bosses and clients alike. Done well, they could pave the way for career progression. So, you may be asking yourself how you can up your game in this respect.

There are plenty of career guides that touch upon presentations, but have you considered broadening your sources? Would you consider, say, consulting Christopher Booker’s The Seven Basic Plots?

Booker argues that most stories in the world can be boiled down to one of seven recurring archetypal structures.

Booker also investigates why people feel the need to tell stories and how these stories reflect on the human psyche. It’s the latter argument that could potentially inform your presentation strategy.

In essence, presentations are stories, and the most compelling stories have a strong internal structure. While the structures outlined in Booker’s text may not immediately seem relevant to your professional life, they’re easy to incorporate once you get the knack.

There are plenty of stories, for example, about overcoming monsters. Childhood fairytales often told of wolves, demons or giants that needed to be warded off by the hero or heroine of the story. Though you may have moved on from a world of fantasy, you still probably have to deal with monsters and demons, albeit figurative ones.

Really, a monster is a metaphor for any kind of adversity. Explaining a time you dealt with a problem at work is a great way to showcase both your grit and problem-solving skills.

Your classic rags-to-riches tale is another form of overcoming adversity and is something you can also incorporate into presentations. You can use this structure to demonstrate your ability to use your vulnerabilities to achieve desired professional results.

These are just a few examples. Though there are only seven structures, they’re incredibly broad, and they all speak to fears and desires that are entirely human and therefore affecting.

For more advice on how you can employ storytelling structures in your presentations, check out the infographic below brought to you by Quid Corner.

presentations at work infographic

Infographic: Quid Corner/QuickQuid

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Eva Short
By Eva Short

Eva Short was a journalist at Silicon Republic, specialising in the areas of tech, data privacy, business, cybersecurity, AI, automation and future of work, among others.

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