How to Persuade Your Audience with Storytelling in Presentations

Stories help you explain topics that are hard to understand. Convincing someone of your opinion in an argument is similar to persuading your audience to get on board with your idea, product, or service.

Having the data and research is not enough to convince your audience of what they need to do.

Being able to tell a story is about presenting that data and information in a way that changes the way people feel and think about the topic.

Let’s show you a few storytelling tactics you can use to increase your chances of persuading your audience that taking your final call-to-action is imperative to their well-being and success.

Your audience has needs. Use them.

This is the meat and potatoes of your story, it’s all centered around your audience and the obstacles they’re trying to overcome. The thing you need to do is go beyond just stating the problems. You need to find ways you relate to those problems, as a person, and as a brand.

Show your audience that you understand their struggles, that you’ve also been there, but you’ve found a new way to overcome those same issues.

This is how you hook people’s attention on what you’re about to deliver as a solution in the form of your product or service. What’s more important – this is how you bring your audience closer and connect with them in a way that builds trust and engagement.

Bring down the language barriers.

This is a very sensitive topic when it comes to presentations because it’s easy to go into both extremes. Not using any related industry terms and jargon that people from your field will identify with, or using way too much to a degree where people no longer know what you’re talking about.

Based on the type of audience you’re presenting to and the industry that they occupy, you should mix your vocabulary with their kind of terminology. It helps build credibility and trust because this way you position yourself as someone who knows what they’re talking about.

If you’re new to the industry, do a little research. Find out what are the top industry-specific terms, phrases, and expressions used in people’s daily lives around the office and find ways to incorporate them into your presentation.

By using unique words people identify with you help them put themselves into your story.

Use data to strengthen your points.

Even the most engaging story would be nothing without tying it all together with some hard facts and numbers that put everything into a real perspective. Using data in your favor is what helps you eliminate any room for doubt in what you’re talking about.

Use data as proof to back up your statements and the answers you give when your audience starts questioning your arguments. Nobody can argue with the numbers, but the key is in the way you understand and interpret them for your audience.

The beauty of data is that you can use it throughout the 3 stages of your presentation. For instance, insights and statistics can help make your initial statement introducing the problem with a powerful graph showing negative trends that your audience or your organization should address by using your idea or solution.

Add a plot twist to challenge your audience

The plot twist is an unexpected turn of events caused by the obstacles and problems you’re trying to resolve with the main idea of your presentation. It’s something that your audience didn’t expect or a list of obstacles that make the entire situation seem too difficult to overcome.

Make your audience think and engage their problem-solving skills to be more involved with what you’re offering as a solution.

This way you build tension and curiosity because the outcome of your presentation turns into something unknown and unexpected. Look for obstacles you can arrange in such a way where a single problem could have the potential to ruin the entire journey to the promised land.

Use metaphors and relevant analogies.

Analogies and metaphors are vivid comparisons you use to paint a picture in the audience’s mind. An adequate analogy your audience can instantly understand is an ideal way to help them make a connection to your story.

Analogies and metaphors are not to be taken literally by your audience. They merely help people imagine something familiar to help them clarify your idea in their heads.

Once you reach a point in your presentation where you need to explain something specific in a simple way for your audience to understand – that’s when you use an analogy. Using the right analogy at the right time can be a moment of revelation, it can be humorous, it can be something shocking, but most of all – it should be vivid and as relevant as possible to the topic.

Let it all sink in using pauses.

One of the most powerful tools in the storyteller’s toolkit is the pause. The moment of silence when everything stops for a few brief moments while your audience’s interest and engagement is at its peak.

This is when your audience either leaps forward in suspense eagerly waiting for what’s about to come or has a few seconds to process and acknowledge what you just said. Pauses should be used with purpose, not in random moments of your speech where it might backfire in such a way you lose your audience’s attention.

The power of the pause only works in key moments when you’re trying to explain a complex topic or situation to your audience to give them enough room to process it. Or just before you deliver the final solution for the tension you’ve been building up by listing out the struggles and obstacles your audience is facing.

Become a natural storyteller

These 6 storytelling tactics can help you a lot in your next presentation if you try them out. It will make a huge difference in how your audience perceives you and the solutions you’re presenting. In turn, this affects the overall success rate of your presenting and the number of potential deals, sales, or any other types of business goals you’re trying to achieve.