During a recent course on storytelling in presentations, I was asked what my 3 main tips on presentations in general were. Here's what I replied:
Storytelling should be in the toolbox of every presenter, right next to a focus on the audience, and the use of visuals. Storytelling is nothing new - it's a tried and tested technique and its use in presentations should come naturally. But storytelling in presentations is not the same as storytelling in writing or in movies. Let me explain.
There should be no doubt in any presenter's mind that storytelling is important. If you are still not convinced, go and read "Story Proof" by Kendall Haven. You can also find helpful tips about how to find a story for your presentation - even if it is a technical one - elsewhere on this blog. None of this is new and you should really be using this in your presentations already. So let's move on to a somewhat advanced tip.
A useful feature in slideware that many presenters are not aware of is the B key. If you don't know what I'm talking about, try it out now: Start a presentation, then press the B key. What happens is that the screen will turn black - hence 'B'. Press the key again and the slide will be displayed again.
Videos can enliven a presentation. They can be used to illustrate something that would be hard or impossible to recreate on stage or with static slides. So there's nothing wrong with showing a video, presuming it is short.
But how long is "short"? Think back to the last time you watched a video in someone's presentation. 30 seconds are fine. One minute, however, can already feel long. Get to 3 minutes and all you want is for the video to end.
Why is that so? Why can't we bear to watch a 5-minute video but sit through entire movies which are 90 minutes or longer?