A Chinese proverb states:

Tell me, I’ll forget
Show me, I’ll remember
Involve me, I’ll understand

…and we can add “let me experience it and i will always remember”

How can we get an audience to experience?  By sharing our stories and having them share the experience that it entails.  By a story I mean a strong narration with real characters; real places; real events that I can visualize as you recount.  It can be a personal story, a professional story, a news story. a “vision”.  You need to provide explicit and descriptive details.  However it should not be long.  Only give key essential pieces.

Typically a story has 3 components:

  1. A real context which brings us into the scenario
  2. A conflict; challenge; problem to confront
  3. A solution/resolution by which there’s been a change that we feel has somehow transformed us as well

By going through the events, the struggle and the outcome together the audience can feel (pathos) a connection rather than think it (logos).

The added advantage of a story is that the audience is open and in a receiving mode.  This is in strong contrast to a logical argument where the audience is thinking and evaluating the logic.

The type of story you choose will always depend on your audience and your reason for giving the presentation.  Some audiences and subjects may require a “facts and figures” story while others may thrive on a more emotional story line.

And, of course the delivery will become of high importance.  Click on NPR to see Michele Obama at her peak and learn about the NPR approach.

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To be continued….

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