If you wanted to be inspired by a speaker, which of these stories would you rather hear?
“Jody got up earlier than usual. She went to the office. Gave her presentation. She talked about her new idea, and it went really well.”
“Jody faced an enormous challenge, and she needed every second to get ready for it. Instead of grabbing an outfit and running out the door, she spent extra time deciding what the wear. She thought about her presentation. She’d be presenting her proposal to ten seniors managers. Mostly male. All older than her. They didn’t really like change – but that’s what she would be asking them to embrace. It would be a hard sell. She took a deep breath, and headed for the door.”
I’m sure you get the idea. Details bring your story to life. Foreshadowing raises the tension. Pacing draws the audience in.
Too often speakers just tell the bare bones, thinking that is all an audience wants to hear. They are wrong. Audiences love details. Audiences love stories. Stories make those basic facts memorable.
If your story is important enough then it’s important you tell it properly.
- Details will take your audience on a journey to the destination you want.
- Details will build suspense.
- Details will paint a picture in the audience’s mind.
But most importantly, details make the audience invest their emotions in your story.
And as author Maya Angelou said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
The amount of detail you used depends on what you want to accomplish and how much time do have.
Even if you don’t have much time, a detail or two will bring your story to life.
Halina St James takes the worry out of presentations with her Present Like a Pro video training course. It’s available now from the Podium Coaching online store, together with her popular TalkitOut: From Fears to Cheers e-book and workbook.