Newsletter #05: Top 3 Storytelling Tips for Engaging Presentations Suman November 10, 2023

Newsletter #05: Top 3 Storytelling Tips for Engaging Presentations

In this edition: How to captivate your audience with stories | Video: Short stories that work | Resource: The Storyteller’s Secret 

Hey Reader

Lights off! Projector on! And a voice drones on! This is usually our experience of presentations. 

Screen share. Videos off. And a voice drones on! Virtual presentations are worse. 

However, the 15 minute presentation that you present to clients and other key stakeholders could be your ticket to better opportunities. 

As Bene Brown says, “Stories are data with a soul”

You can add life to boring presentations through stories. 

In today’s post, we’ll look at how story telling can improve your presentations immensely. 

Let’s get started!

But first, let’s look at a few reasons why stories are a tool worth including in your presentations: 

1. Emotional Connection Vs boring data: Stories tap into feelings, creating relatable and empathetic experiences as opposed to data driven slides covering the screen. 

2. Curiosity Spark: Narratives arouse curiosity – the listeners look forward to what happened and this keeps them hooked.

3. Memorability: Stories are easier to remember than raw data, making your message stick in the minds of your audience.

While there are several more powerful reasons to include stories – making your message relatable and retainable, building your credibility etc – you get the gist with this list. 

Top 3 Storytelling Tips for Engaging Presentations

1. Engaging start

Research shows that story telling appeals to our primitive instincts. And during presentations, stories make for intriguing beginnings. 

Try and make the story an emotional hook. This will help you instantly grab your audience attention. 

PRO TIP: Don’t tell stories for the sake of it. Always make them relevant. Stories that align with your topic also make the message memorable with a strong recall. 

2. Show, don’t tell

Stories help in creating a mental image in people’s minds. 

If you remember one of the speaking tools I shared in edition #2 of this newsletter – “Imagine” is a powerful tool to start building a great picture in your audience’s minds. 

Similarly, if you watch the video shared in today’s tip, you will be able to visualise the setting I am talking about. 

3. Use analogies

This is a great way to explain complex concepts and situations. Make things relatable to everyone. 

For example: I work a lot with technical heads. While they are great at domain knowledge, the same needs to be explained to non-technical stakeholders. Analogies is a great way to do it. 

During a session, one of them said – what we are building is going to look like Netflix, but industry specific. Boom! Crystal clear! 


1. Problem-solution framework 

This also is in line with one of the speaking tools that I shared earlier. Your story could highlight the problem and bring out a solution for the same. It opens people’s minds to possibilities. You bring together the story and reality. 

2. Conversation starters 

Whether it’s the start of a presentation or a new point during – stories can be a great way to get conversations started. Stories bring in characters and context to encourage people to speak up and participate. It could be a lead in to your point. 

3. Wrap-up stories

Just like stories at the beginning of a presentation can be conversation openers, stories at the end to bring out lessons or outcomes of your message in a memorable way. It could be used to end with a bang. 

How you begin matters but how you end does too! 

To sum up: 

1. Engaging start

2. Show, don’t tell 

3. Use analogies

4. Problem-solution framework 

5. Conversation starters

6. Wrap-up stories


A simple story with a few lines can also make the desired impact. If you can use a context people are familiar with, it becomes even more relatable. This video has a story about my experience in Starbucks. It’s not too long but it works. Check it our for yourself! 

What happened in Starbucks


The Storyteller’s Secret by Carmine Gallo – How TED speakers and inspirational leaders turn their passion into performance. 

The book talks about tools that every story teller uses to bring their story to life. The best part of the book – just like Talk Like TED – is that you can watch the TED talks that he refers to and see the tools being demonstrated on screen. 


Starting this week, I am going to be answering one question I get from you. And this week’s question is: 

“I am a product manager and I present to senior stakeholders. My rate of speech is fast and even though I know this, I don’t know how to slow down. What are some tips to manage this?


Fast thinkers usually have a fast rate of speech. The challenge is to channel the speed of thoughts at the time of delivery. Here are 3 tips:

1. Be conscious: This may seem stupid but reminding yourself to slow down is a great way to, well, slow down! 

2. Structure your thoughts: Learn to pick 2-3 points and stick to them instead of trying to deal with everything that occurs to you.

3. Think of the audience: You are speaking for the benefit of the listeners. If you lose them because of your rate of speech, there’s no point speaking. So think audience-first and adjust your speed from there. 


Next week, we will look at yet another exciting way to smash your presentation goals – converting stats to meaningful hooks and stories. The weekly tip will be around the content that goes on the slides people stare at especially during virtual meetings. And the weekly resource will bring you 2 phenomenal TED Talks that use innovative ways to present stats. 


Hit reply and – tell me what you think about this edition, ask me your question around communication or tell what would you like me to cover in the upcoming editions. 

Waiting to hear from you! 




Whenever you are ready: 

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