The Most Important Thing About Storytelling
I do a fair amount of public speaking as well as working with entrepreneurs on their respective pitches and presentations. In addition, I see tons of startups present — during demo days, in meetings and on stages large and small.
The one thing which always strikes me is how some presentations click with the audience while others fall flat. Sometimes this comes down to some technicalities: Presenters missing key information, presenting things in the wrong order, using illegible type or colors. Other times it’s an energetic thing — a presenter who is overly nervous or monotone. But more often than not it comes down to the presentation missing the key ingredient of storytelling… The story.
Before there is storytelling there needs to be a story.
Every good and surely every great presentation and pitch I ever listened to had, at its core, a great story. Humans connect through stories. For millennia we have used stories to convey information and entertain. Some say we are hardwired for stories.
Now, what does this mean for you?
When you put together your presentation, start with your story. Figure out what is at the heart of what it is you are talking about. A good starting point is to start with the simple, yet profound question: “Why should anyone care?”
Take Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey framework and craft your story into an emotional arch. And once you have this, you can fill in the details and make sure you hit all the necessary points.