As a speech coach, I talk to my clients about the value of incorporating stories and real-life examples into their presentations. Stories help you create instant intimacy with your audiences and they work to balance your expertise with your humanity. I encourage using the Three N Method for collecting those stories: Notice, Note, and Narrate.
First, Notice. Keep your ears and eyes open for stories and everyday experiences that spark your interest or teach you something. It might be a chance encounter with an old friend, a conversation with a neighbor, a story you read in the newspaper, or something you just happen to witness on the way to work. Every day presents rich experiences. We just need to notice them.
Note. Write them down in a journal or an i-pad or whatever you use to capture your ideas. The reality is, if we don’t write them down we will forget them. And, you’ll want to have them somewhere so you can go in and develop and further fine-tune them. Look for how the story might be applied to the world of work. Is there a business lesson embedded in that story? Can it help you illustrate a point you’re trying to make? Recently, a client shared a story about taking his daughter to Disneyland and how he held her hand and pulled her along as he attempted to navigate through the crowded venue. He remembered his daughter kept saying, “Daddy this is no fun. I can’t see where we’re going.” He stopped, put his daughter on his shoulders, and continued through the crowd. Relieved, his daughter said, “Daddy, it is so much better when you can actually see where you’re going.” He later used this story with his management team to illustrate the idea that often leaders don’t create a clear line of sight for employees and drag them along rather than giving them a clear vision of the direction the organization is headed in. This story humanized the executive and provided a powerful example for his leadership team.
Finally, Narrate. Tell the stories. Practice delivering them out loud and see how you can continue to hone and develop.
Notice, Note, and Narrate. This process will help you make all of your presentations memorable.