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Tuesday Talks: Are You Forgetting THIS In Your Presentations?

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I’ve given a lot of bad presentations in the past, but there was one that was particularly painful.

I was in college and I had to share a presentation on an assignment we had. I hated presentations. But there I stood, in front of a packed class of students, ready to speak.

I was nervous. In fact, I had to set down my notes because I was shaking so badly. I didn’t want to sound stupid. Out of desperation, I started reading off my slides. The same slides everyone else was reading. They weren’t that impressive. Just a few points and some data to back up my findings. Nothing crazy.

I glanced across the room at the rest of the students. Some were on their phones. Some were looking off into space. Others were doodling in their notebooks. But no one was listening to what I had to say. No one cared.

So, what did I do wrong?

I didn’t create an emotional connection with my audience. There are so many presentations out there that just focus on the data. While data is important, it doesn’t necessarily make an emotional connection with an audience. But what does?

Storytelling.

“Human beings are hardwired to love stories,” said Robin Amos Kahn, a presentation coach at Own The Room, a communication skills training company. “. . . We need stories. We need to share our stories. Stories move us.”

Telling powerful stories is an artform. It allows you to connect with your audience emotionally and draw them into what you’re saying. But when was the last time you started a presentation with a story?

The next time you give a presentation, start with a compelling story that relates to your topic and moves your audience.

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Ariella Coombs Ariella is the Content Strategist and Career Coach for Work It Daily. She graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a B.A. in journalism. Follow her @AriellaCoombs or find her on Google+.