Storytelling in presentation design

presentation design

Mankind has been telling tales for thousands of years, but did you realise that stories engage us, convince us, and help us remember things? You definitely did – tales, whether they’re about Jane Eyre or Air Force One, have a lot of power. But first, let’s take a look behind the curtain and see how it all works in practise before applying it to a presentation design.


  • Using the art of storytelling to increase inclusion and participation

Storytelling is an excellent technique to increase audience interaction, and the explanation for this is due to a hormone in the brain, which is called oxytocin. As per Paul Zak, whose lab is instrumental in the development of oxytocin as well as most of the subsequent study, we create the molecule when we’re shown a kind act or being trusted. 

It improves our ability to collaborate with others by increasing our compassion.


Zak and his colleagues conducted a number of intriguing oxytocin tests. They discovered that people-driven tales induce the release of oxytocin, which increases the subject’s propensity to help other people. In another study, they discovered that character-driven material (which, critically, lacked a storey) did not elicit the same physiological or emotional responses in participants.

Zak’s opinion is that a tale must catch our focus by tension building in order to elicit this empathic reaction in us. Audiences are drawn to the suspense and connect with the characters as a result.


What do we understand about tales that start with a cliffhanger? They’re like any other fantastic and compelling narrative out there – they all use the ‘dramatic arc,’ in which the opening is accompanied by a rising tension, a peak, and then everything fades away to a conclusion.


Applying the narrative structure to your presentation design is easier than what you would believe. Rather than listing the locations of your offices at the outset of your presentation, begin by drawing a picture of the issues your audience encounters. You create tension right away, which allows your viewers to get emotionally invested in your tale. Later, I’ll go into how to accomplish it specifically.


  • Storytelling is a powerful technique for persuasion.


‘These aren’t the droids you’re searching for,’ but might I persuade you to consider this fantastic alternative we have for a quarter of the price? Would it not be fantastic if Jedi mental powers functioned in real life? Unfortunately, the force is not on my side. But there is another technique I may use to convince prospects: that is indeed right, a compelling tale.


According to a handful of fascinating research, storytelling in presentation designs has enormous persuasive power. Medical alumni at Penn State College of Medicine were much more compassionate and receptive to assisting dementia sufferers after participating in an activity in which the patients narrated tales based on photos they were shown.


Another university kept track of two groups of individuals who were at risk of developing high blood pressure. The 1st group received standard treatment, whereas the second group saw three movies depicting real-life cases of high blood pressure. At the conclusion of the trial, the 2nd group had better blood pressure measurements.


Both of these instances demonstrate how narrative may influence our reactions to particular situations. Stories in presentation design convince us out of apathy by engaging more of our brain and allowing us to bond on a profound level. As per the Pressboard team, only one portion of our brain that is activated when we are reading anything dry and reality based is our language processor area. 

When you tell a tale, though, you stimulate so many more sections of our brain — the sensory and motor cortex, as well as the hippocampus – it’s all perfectly acceptable.


  • How to make the presentation design more unforgettable via narrative


We all want to be recognized, don’t we? Whether it’s for an Oscar winner in the future or for a fiercely competitive presentation while the selection list is being compiled, we all desire to be remembered. But how can we make our material stick in people’s minds? Well, you might argue that an ambitious proposal may make you highly memorable – just read about a director named Joby’s experience – so perhaps a bigger question is how does one make your material both unforgettable and pertinent?


We’ve all tried the technique of remembering a list of objects, first by attempting to recall them in order, then by seeing them as characters on a trip — imagine Sherlock Holmes and his recollection palace. We recall things far better when we are told stories.

Most of the knowledge we classify as significant in the corporate world – stuff like numbers and figures – does not remain in our memories, according to Nick Morgan, the writer of Power Cues. It’s tales that make recollections “sticky” by “attaching feelings to events that occur.”


As a result, sharing tales in your presentation designs better prepares your audience to recall what transpired and, as we saw previously, to be more convinced to take action.


How do you include narrative into your presentation designs?

The problem is that, while the science is correct, few of us have J.R.R. Tolkien’s or Phoebe Waller-narrative Bridge’s abilities. So, how can we include more storytelling into our presentations? Here are 3 concrete examples of how we can apply the research we’ve just studied to make our demonstrations more interesting and effective by including a good dose of storey in them.

Openings to presentations that are memorable

The concentration span, as we’ve seen, is a terrible mistress. It may go from the presentations you’re viewing to what you were having during lunchtime, or from striking up a clever retort to a 7-year-old debate.


That’s why any presentation design that begins by informing your viewers with whom you’ve dealt with, where business offices are located, how many staff you have, as well as how your company is structured will fall flat.


Get in touch with the experts if you are interested in making your presentation design more compelling for your audience! 

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