Give A Better Presentation By Telling A Personal Story

Sitting through a presentation can be tedious — even more so when you’re the one presenting to a bored audience. If you’re having trouble engaging people when speaking publicly, startup founder Neil Joglekar has a few suggestions on how to keep it interesting.

Photo by dotshock (Shutterstock).

We’ve talked about how to create presentations that don’t suck, but Joglekar — co-founder of ReelSurfer — shares one tip in particular he thinks works wonders: tell a personal story.

The best way to make a connection with your audience is to be genuine. I’m 26 years old and don’t really have the experience to spout clichés like “stay the course” and “fight the good fight.” Someday I hope to, but I’m not quite there yet. All I have to back up my credibility is personal experience. . .

Some of my favourite stories to tell are about how we built (and painfully removed) features, and how we (almost) reached an agreement with a key customer. Personal stories elicit an emotional response from the audience, your real goal as a presenter. To avoid awkwardness you can remove specific names and some of the more sensitive details (that is what a journal is for).

It’s a lot easier to listen to someone tell a story — particularly a personal, engaging story — than it is to sit there and hear clichés and other formal speak. Even if you do have the credibility to back up what you’re saying, you’ll be much more effective at getting people’s attention with something they can actually relate to.

His other tips? The more natural and conversation-like you can make your presentation, the better. Obviously you’ll want to tweak these tips for the setting you’re in, but hit the link to see how to put them into practice — you may get an idea or two for the next time you need to get up in front of a group.

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