Listening to Hotel California by the Eagles this morning, it made me think about how so many of the songs of that era, the most memorable ones, the ones you like to sing along to, slowed it down and had the arc of a story.
When presenting, you can write out your speech line by line, memorize the language, and nail every word. This is great for using alliteration, cadence, rhythm which will make your lines more memorable. But, while it might make a line more memorable, that line better encompass your message. Not every message is as simple as "Ask not what your country can do for you..."
If you want to make your message memorable, tell a story. Stories have beginnings, middle, endings. A punchline, a climax. They transport you to a time and place. The great thing about stories is they are naturally memorable.
I've delivered hundreds of presentations in my life, sometimes taking the time to fill them with what I thought were profound insights, deeply researched data, great jokes (ok, maybe not the latter, I sort of suck at humour).
But I know my presentations have worked well when I hear my stories reverberating back to me through the community, from someone who wasn't at my talk. It means the stories were heard, remembered, adopted, evolved, passed along.
Stories make your talks more presentable, they make you more approachable, more human, they are a natural size and shape, and they make it easier to get up on stage and be yourself. They can be used in public presentations, company pitches, sales discussions, or just a gathering between friends.
Looked through the lens of a story, difficult times have important lessons, triumphs become more sweet, discoveries seem like inevitabilities rather than flashes of insight.
What's your story?