Your typical presentation tactics aren’t connecting with everyone in your audience. Need a quick fix to sway the skeptics?  Tell a story.

Stories aren’t just about entertainment. In a business setting, stories can make your message more memorable, more relatable, and even connect to your audience on an emotional level.

Storytelling is a powerful tool for two reasons. When you share a story about someone else’s experience (like that of a customer or colleague), the listeners can imagine themselves in those shoes. It automatically lends more credibility to the point you’re making than your opinion alone. A skeptic can’t argue with the facts of the story.

Secondly, you’re in total control of the narrative – for example, you might share a story about a terrific customer experience. It’s in your control to help your audience think “I bet we can do it even better.” You decide the key takeaway and make the point in 1-2 sentences.

Here are a few guidelines for telling a StandOut business story.

  • The 2-Minute Rule: No matter how good your story is, you’ll start to lose attention after two minutes.
  • No One Needs the Background: Jump right into the action of your story. Grab your audience’s attention the moment you begin. If you need to add some context, that can come in the middle of your story.
  • The Universal Rule: This one seems obvious, but it can’t be forgotten – every good story has a clear beginning, middle and end. There is no substitute for using a good process.
  • End on a High Note: Make one clear point to end your story and deliver it with confidence.

There will always be skeptics. Keep a powerful story in your back pocket to connect with the cynics and drive your point home.