Top 3 Storytelling tools to present data
Who in this world doesn’t work with stories and data? Few days ago, even my 4.5 year old daughter had to make a story around why 5 Barbies are not enough and she needs more.
All of us have been using stories from childhood, most of our personality traits and subconscious patterns are influenced by the stories we hear.
Now, that we are in a more logical and largely monotonous world specially at work, for some “Stories” come naturally, for others it just takes some efforts to consciously learn certain tools and re-kindle that part of the brain. In this article we are diving deeper into 3 top tools that can help present data in a sharper, meaningful and innovative way that can capture audience’s attention.
Before we move on to these tools, here are few facts about stories and storytelling, that you must keep in mind-
- Stories involve emotions – Be o.k. to share emotions with grace, context and dignity
- Stories have characters, main protagonist and a believable challenge, and an end with a message
- If you have data/information ready, it doesn’t take more than 15 minutes of focused time to create a story out of it
TOOL 1 : P.O.W
This tool can turn tables for you when it comes to presenting data. Just spend few minutes thinking and writing about the following 3 keys to your presentation –
Purpose : What larger result will this meeting/presentation will get for the organization. Example : A meeting to present “Attrition” data, has the purpose of saving organization the revenue loss owing to involuntary attrition, building a better brand etc. This is the overarching reason for this meeting. To arrive at the purpose of the meeting, keep asking yourself – “What will this meeting get me, what will happen if we get it, why is it important for the organization? How is this meeting serving the larger purpose? If you don’t have all the answers, it is a good idea to have this discussion with seniors.
Outcome : This on the contrary are the tangible outcomes of the meeting. When the meeting is over, what is it that you and the attendees will step out with? Typically outcomes are measurable and can be described as examples below :
By end of this meeting, we/attendees will
- Have a list of 50+ ideas from the participants
- Decide on the ….
- Understand the ………….
- Gain knowledge about…..
- Have an action tracker with project milestones etc.
Why: This is the context/background of the meeting. You can choose to look at the past challenges, or the need to do this meeting. Some questions: What happened in the past, are you addressing any challenge?, Why is it important for the audience to listen and respond in this meeting? Why is this meeting important for you?
Once you are clear about these 3 keys to presentation, you will have an utmost clarity on the success criteria of your meeting and also have the storyline almost ready.
TOOL 2 : HEADLINES
One of my mentors explained me the meaning of headlines. Every presentation that we make has an objective to sell an idea or a thought. At work, during presentations, we are selling something most of the times, we need to make it as sticky as we can. The best way to capture audience’s attention is to create a “Headline” of each slide on your deck – really catchy!
Example : If you have been asked to present a report for last year, and you have to showcase the achievements, a common headline that people use is – “Review 2017” or at the max. “Journey in 2017”. Get creative! What will catch attention of the audience?
This portion needs you to get out of your comfort conformance zone, and show that you are different!
Example : “ From X to Y, What changed us?”, or “The Turning Point – 2017”
Think about it as a movie that you are going to show to your audience, people will give you attention, only when they are interested and curious. Creativity matters here.
Of course you can consider the genre of the audience and choose the headlines.
TOOL 3: PRESENTING DATA THROUGH GRAPHS
Whenever you have those jazzy graphs, remember to have at-least one big take-away on the same slide for the audience. Remember to re-iterate it visually on the slide, rather than keeping it for you to talk about. We also call it as a BLUE BOX. Create a trend of having a blue box on every slide, which is the intended crisp take away for the audience.
While there are many more tools and techniques to add that “zing” to your presentations, these 3 are the core.
Remember always – presentations that you facilitate, create your strongest “brand” for your key stakeholders and clients. Invest some time consciously to build this skill and accelerate your career track.
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