Story Power in Presentations

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Our brains like stories. That’s not a new theme here at Neuromarketing, but now there’s biometric evidence that supports what the best speakers already know: telling a story keeps the audience engaged.

In Avoiding Death by Powerpoint, the Neuro Way, I described how at a recent advertising conference a portion of the attendees were fitted up with special belts around their ribs to allow real-time monitoring of multiple biometric measures. This data was used to estimate the engagement level of the audience during each presentation. According to the analysis by Innerscope Research, one of the key strategies of the most engaging speakers was to TELL A STORY. The two presentations rated the most engaging both told stories:

– Mr. Moorhead describing how Old Spice’s “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign led to an actual marriage proposal that was accepted.

– Mr. D’Arcy sharing inspiring anecdotes that the audience found personally relevant, such as how “creativity won” when media fragmentation and changes in the industry launched a “quest to find answers” that was “led by brave marketers.”

[From P&G and Time Warner Presentations Ranked Most Engaging at Inaugural ANA Creativity Conference, Results Based on Biometric Audience Reaction.]

According to Dr. Carl Marci, CEO and Chief Scientist for Innerscope Research, noted, “Great stories told well, engaging videos, and simple take-home messages consistently increased the audience’s emotional engagement during presentations.”

I found countless references to support the story strategy, including:

So, even if telling a story to make your presentation or speech more engaging isn’t breaking news, it’s good to know that strategy is confirmed by biometric data gathered from real presentations.

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