Telling the story.
Are you sitting comfortably?
Then I’ll begin.
Each presentation is a telling of a story. Whether it’s a tale of how to use a tool, a narrative of something you experienced or spiel of how to care for yourself, each telling has a beginning, middle, and end.
Like any good tale, the flow of talk helps to keep the listeners engaged, make the progression through the information feel natural, helps emphasize the points you want to be made poignant and keeps it understandable and memorable.
There are numerous ways to approach flow and flow itself is a beast that comes in a variety of forms.
What are the points you want to get across?
Personally, I start with bullet points as I do with everything. I consider what I want the main takeaways from the talk to be.
I then sub-bullet with any analogies, examples or links I would want to make for each point. At this stage, I know what the story is that I want to bring structure to.
What is the best way to present this information?
There are many ways in which to present your information. This is something I am still trying to learn about myself.
Not every story has to start with a “Once Upon a Time” and end with a “Happily Ever After”. You can play with perspective, time, and even the words themselves, as long as it makes sense.
A resource I am particularly fond of is this one from this Sparkol Blog
It not only explored 8 different storytelling techniques but gives examples of them in action, demonstrating their different impacts.
Teaching yourself more about storytelling techniques.
As I mentioned I am still learning about this particular area. Here are some tips and resources I have received from other speakers:
Go on a writers course/retreat.
No matter the format of the storytelling, the guidelines are pretty much the same. Going on a book or scriptwriting course or retreat can teach you skills in presenting information that you can apply to the stage.
Practice and abbreviation to a friend.
Practice. Practice. Practice. This word is used in nearly every post in this series. In this case, give a quick run-through to a friend, and ask them to take note if at any point you lose them, and why. It might be that you need to provide context or change the order of the way you are presenting your ideas.
Using the stage as a canvas.
When considering the flow of your talk, it can also play into how you present it. You can use the space you are given to physically demonstrate or give emphasis to the points you are making.
Talking about traveling? Travel. Demonstrating a discussion? Address one side of the stage for a person/party in the dialogue, and the other side of the stage for the opposing person/party.
Depending on the flow of your talk and how you intend to present your information, you can physically tie in your physical presence to help the flow of your dialogue.
Presentation is an art
Explore the different mediums in which you can present your ideas. Experiment. Have fun.
Not all the attempts will be successful, and undoubtedly your talks will evolve over time. Your style will change. Sometimes, your viewpoint will change.