Last month I was on a 2 day training with a customer in France. It was for a huge group of young people and they were welcomed by 2 senior managers. The first manager opened the training and then gave the floor to the second manager who said this ‘Piet asked me to tell you a story but I don’t want to tell you a story, I want to tell you something that really happened in my business…’

I was in the audience and was really surprised by this because a story for me in a presentation is something that really happened. It is not a made up story. And that gave me the idea to clarify this in a newsletter as I often talk about storytelling. A presentation for me is one big story that needs a clear structure for which I use my model. And from beginning till end the presentation is filled with real anecdotes and this is what I call storytelling.

Most TED talks are filled with storytelling as these are inspirational talks. But even business presentations can have storytelling elements and this is what most people are afraid to use as it is ‘business’. If you want to keep your audience awake, you need variation and one of the best ways to do that with your content is by combining facts & figures with anecdotes (stories).

I remember when I interviewed Marcia De Wachter (she was then vice president of the National bank) she showed me a small book she always carries in her handbag. When something happens that she wants to remember (somethings that happens to her or that she sees happening) she writes it in the booklet and when the book is full her secretary types it out on the computer. She had been doing that for 10 years. When she needed to prepare a presentations she looked in the database which story she could use to begin the presentation and she used it throughout her presentation. That was for her the cherry on the pie and that is storytelling. When Peter Hinssen prepares his presentations he makes a kind of ‘playlist of stories’ and he memorizes the order of these stories. He knows how many stories he can tell in which timing being the experienced speaker he is.

How do you think I remembered to tell you this story for this newsletter? I wrote it down the moment I saw it happening in France ;-)

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I am a very happy coach today. A few weeks ago I have coached someone who has dyslexia but he had to talk to a very big audience and did not look forward to that event at all. He had presented to big audiences but that did not go too well and the problem for him was mainly that he fails to memorize presentations.

So he was very happy when I announced him that memorizing a presentation is actually not a good idea. At least, not the way that he had in mind. You have to memorize some things but in a specific way. I helped him to build his story and to begin with we looked for an anecdote to begin his presentation. That is an ‘easy’ beginning because you don’t have to memorize sentences, you just have to remember which anecdote you want to share. I just memorize the first sentence then.

The second step was to find his structure and build a story around it. Actually his whole presentation was filled with anecdotes because this was easy for him to memorize as he had the feeling he could ‘just talk’ but in a structured way.

This was a 20 minute presentation so he used slides and in the end I think this was the biggest help for him. We translated his whole story in pictures of which some with important messages. I advised him to use a ‘cue card’ during the presentation that he could have in his hand. On that cue card he glued the order of the slides in miniature. So when he was lost he could look at his card and seeing the next picture it was easy for him to know what he had to say.

He mailed me this morning that his presentation was simply great and this really made my day :-)

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10 juni ben ik spreker bij Artemis (women only ;-)) Voor wie wil inschrijven, graag seintje naar mij!

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I rarely remember names but I remember faces very well. And when this guy walked into the training room some 2 weeks ago I knew he had been in my training before. So I checked and I was right and the logical question for me was…happy to see you again, what made you decide to come again to this training? I was so happy when he told me that he had followed my course a year ago and had used so many tips that helped him but now he wanted to reach the next level. Wise guy ;-) A training or coaching in presentations is never a 1 time experience, it is a path…

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Presentation stress

How do you deal with stress the minute before you go on stage? Listen to the presentation tip that helps me again and again… Just install the periscope app if you want more live broadcasting with presentation tips!

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