The Little Engine That Could. Little Red Riding Hood. Goldilocks and the Three Bears. All of us remember these stories. We all understood the underlying themes. When we graduate to the corner offices of corporate America, our presentations should follow the same pattern: tell your audience a story they won’t forget.

It has been years since my mother read to me The Little Engine that Could (now my wife reads it to me). At 4 years old, I understood the main point: believe in yourself. After all of these years, I remember the story.
Stories like this stay with us forever because they were told to us in a way that made it understandable and memorable. The stories had flow. Our technical presentations can have a similar flow that makes them memorable and understandable. Try incorporating these styles and your audience will remember your presentations like they were Aesop’s fables.

  • Problem / Solution: Audiences understand this style because you identify with their “pain point.” Define the problem that affects them. Then present your compelling solution. Your solution will be the one that removes the thorn from their side. Problem simply solved.
  • Features / Benefits – I haven’t bought a Swiss Army knife because I don’t see how it benefits me. For every feature you describe of your project or idea, give two ways it benefits the listener. This will show that you care about their needs.
  • Case Study – The first case study I heard was on Mrs. Field’s cookies. Case studies tell a real world story, and people can identify with stories. Tell a case study that relates directly to your industry. Then tell how your idea or project helps.

Finally, stories have a beginning, middle and end. Include all three parts. Insure that your story is understandable and memorable and your audience will sit at your feet and ask you to tell it again.

Scientifically Speaking, of course.

Next Week: Social Media – Big Business