If the presenters and panelists at your meetings do not tell stories, the meetings will fail.
We are not talking about recounting what you did last night or sharing how your Aunt Ida makes the best pumpkin pie on earth. Rather, we are referring to vivid, compelling stories that relate to the topic at hand.
Notice that we said stories – not data. Far too many presenters slip into the bad habit of using dry, abstract and generic information that fails to resonate with attendees.
There is a distinct, and telling, reason why so many advertisements and commercials tell stories today. People relate to stories. They find them moving and inspiring. Consider how transformative it is to replace flat bullet point slides and bloated slogans with rich, detailed stories.
Pulling this endeavor off requires a bit of extra effort, but it is a worthwhile investment. Keep reading to find out how to incorporate storytelling and memorable exchanges into the meetings you plan.
Play on Emotions
At the end of the day, your meeting attendees are human beings who instinctively respond in an emotional way, even when it comes to business interactions. For this reason, it is essential to play on their emotions if you hope to drive the message home.
You must make attendees care about the subjects your meetings address. Presenters should draw them in from the outset by talking about a challenge they faced and how the strategy, product or service in question helped them overcome it. Notice the use of the word “overcome.” It brings to the mind an epic saga. This is the emotional slant you want your panelists and presenters to utilize when they speak.
Feeling an emotional connection to your company will inspire attendees to invest financially in it. (1)
Set a Time Limit
While storytelling is a phenomenal tool, making stories longer than a few minutes can be too much of a good thing. For this reason, you should impose a time limit of two to five minutes for presenters. The shorter the story, the better. A limit should be placed on the number of stories told, as well – one to two at most. Implementing both practices will help prevent “storytelling fatigue.”
Keep It Simple
Your presenters are not writing the next great American novel. Character arcs and plot twists will not serve them in business storytelling. They should focus instead on telling a story that is relatable to their audience. Aligning their story with pain points commonly experienced by the audience will go a long way in making it relatable.
At the end of the day, you want speakers to get to the point of the story relatively quickly. Effective stories are told with intention, always keeping the end goal in mind.
Include the Audience
Think about the most educational meetings or classes you have attended. Were you sitting passively through them, doing nothing except listening, or were you given a chance to actively participate in the discussion?
Speakers can invite attendees to share their stories. This will help them feel included and add another layer to the presentation. Executing this inclusion is simple; just ask people to raise their hands if they wish to share a related story.
That said, presenters must not allow the stories to drag on forever. They should always allow enough time to make important points and fully address the “meat” of the session.
When the presenters at your meetings take the time to tell short, compelling stories, they ensure that attendees will feel emotionally invested and absorb the message of each session. By following the tips outlined in this article, they will have the knowledge to pull it off seamlessly.
Contact us to get more information about how Gavel International can help your organization tell transformative stories with our outsourced meeting planning.