So, there you are, meeting day. You stand center stage with every eye on you as you clear your throat and prepare to present one hundred twenty-five slides with graphs, org charts, formulaic data and relative material to advance brand and image to the elite of the company. You have toiled for weeks gathering just the right graphics and insight into the mechanics of your presentation. You have quotes, P & L elaborations and are very aware of the mission statement and promises of profitability to the shareholders.
Off you go.
Halfway through slide three you note the wandering of eyes onto tablets and cell phones, slide fifteen watches are being checked, fifty-seven the front row if not nodding off are definitely fading, when you hit visual one hundred eleven even the CEO is dead asleep and the meeting is lost. But wait, you think, slides one twenty-three through one twenty-five remain for the big finish.
“Are there any questions? You ask.
The silence is deafening, finally, a hand goes up.
“Is there lunch?”
Which awakens the CEO, “Lunch?” he exclaims, “Great meeting, Jenkins!”
Your name is Thomas.
As you commiserate over your cold sub sandwich down at the other end of the table the accounting intern is holding court.
“…because of that reality with my family, I became more aware that profitability begins with a relationship based on solid communication.”
There is a spattering of applause followed by comments.
“Great story Serena, there’s an application to our data team in that.”
Heads nod and eventually that CEO looks at you, “You get that, Perkins?”
You nod, “yes sir.”
“You might want to add something like that in your next presentation,” says the leader, followed by a pat on the back for Serena.
“Good point, sir”, you say with a half-hearted smile.
“Thanks for sharing that Serena, you definitely have a way with words”, with that he departs for his corner office.
Everyone exits with praises for the “intern” leaving you to clean up the room and begin the pity party.
“He knows her name?”
Success stories are more than “once upon a time” meets “happily ever after”. They are based where real people meet real situations resulting in real life. When we learn to incorporate where we’ve been into where everyone is, we begin foundational success.
For your next meeting, consider the three pronged approach to storytelling for communication.
Initiate– Open with intriguing life impacting content tied to the mission.
Elaborate– Paint outside the lines with the content that allows participants to create a conclusion.
Culminate– Narrow your content to focus on the cause and effect and bring the ending to support to the beginning.
Allow your audience to participate in your journey with stories and be amazed at what develops. It begins with the magic of a story that only you can tell.
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Leon McWhorter is an award winning writer, producer, and director with over 30 years experience training executives, talent and support teams in the magic of storytelling for success. His background with all major media outlets (CBS, NBC, ABC and The Walt Disney Company) will benefit you and your team with keynote or training in the art of the story.
Learn more about Leon’s programs: