Think of the most impressive presentation you’ve ever seen. What made it so incredible? It’s likely the presenter told stories and shared anecdotes from his own life experiences. Effective storytelling is one of the most powerful tools a presenter has. Here are some ideas for improving your storytelling ability.

Be 100% authentic. It’s best if you use experiences from your own life. You’ll tell these stories with more emotion and involvement than a second-hand story.
Identify with the story. If you aren’t using your own, be sure it’s an event or emotion to which you can relate. If the story you’re using doesn’t remind you of an experience you’ve had, it may come across as hollow and fake to the audience.
Relate your story to the content of your presentation. Telling a related story will reinforce your presentation’s central message. Without stories, presentations can become unmemorable information dumps. Give the audience something to take with them once the presentation is finished.
Get involved emotionally and physically. Let your body, face, emotions and voice help you tell the story. This technique can effectively bring any audience member to the edge of his seat.
Paint a vivid picture. Select simple but descriptive words. Address all senses in your storytelling – what were the sights, sounds and emotions associated with the particular scenes?
Find opportunities to practice your story. The delivery should be smooth and easy – often this takes practice.
Test your story, anecdote or joke. If you don’t get the response you’re looking for when telling it to a group of colleagues or friends, don’t use it in your presentation!
Maintain a record of good stories you’ve heard or experiences you’d like to share with a future audience. Write them in a book or save them to a computer file.

1. Dale Carnegie, US teacher and writer.

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