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Stories …. even in a business presentation

TED Speaker Amy Cuddy

Effective stories can change our opinions, they can inspire us to achieve goals that we didn’t think were possible, and they can show us how we can change things for the better. But for some people telling stories just doesn’t seem professional or technical enough. Storytelling is associated with words like ‘fiction’ or ‘fabrication’, and feels a bit personal and subjective.

But in a business presentation, stories can make the difference between success and failure. Stories help us to grasp information and retain it long after the presentation is over. Did you know that your audience is over 20 times more likely to remember a message when it’s conveyed using a story than they will remember any individual statistic used to back the story up (1)?  There is a lot that we in business can learn from the TED Talk model. Here are some greats for you to ponder:

Building trust

Bryan Stevenson is the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, fighting poverty and challenging racial discrimination in the criminal justice system. Watch this TED Talk, where Bryan uses a full five minutes of his introduction to set the scene with an endearing and personal story. The audience gets to understand what makes Bryan tick, and why his work is so important to him.



Conveying an idea

Social psychologist Amy Cuddy, Associate Professor at Harvard Business School, investigates how people judge and influence each other. Her 2012 TED Talk was the inspiration behind her recent bestseller Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges. In this TED Talk, watch how she uses stories to make the case for you to Fake it till you make it.


Emotional connection

For third sector organisations, emotional connections are so important to influence your audiences. We admire how James Nesbitt skilfully brings us to a time and a place in this keynote to the Alzheimers Research UK annual conference. He’s got a moving story to tell and it really resonates.


Do you have a favourite speaker that you’d like to share with us? Come chat on Facebook or Twitter, we’re always keen to hear about great communicators!

(1) Made to Stick (2007), Dan and Chip Heath, Arrow Books


Business networking for fun and gains

business networking

Bespoke Communications was delighted to partner with the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce and Business in the Community to host a business networking workshop at the Londonderry Chamber offices on May 5th last. We enjoyed the company of lots of local businesses, and we hope that our delegates made good connections to develop their own business networks from the event.

When we read the feedback comments, it seemed to us that the three top takeaways were:

‘Givers Gain’. Attending a networking event with a givers mindset makes it so much easier to walk into a room full of strangers and not feel like you have to push and promote yourself all the time. How can you help the person you’re talking to or how can someone else in your network help them?

Go on, push yourself out of your comfort zone. There are lots of reasons to network and bagging business is not always the sole focus. Apart from the fact that networking can be fun when you get used to it :-), some of the benefits of networking are access to information (we would never call it gossip!), access to ideas and support and the confidence you gain from meeting people who are experiencing many of the same ups and downs as you.

Develop a network event elevator pitch. Work on an intro that’s no longer than 20 seconds.  Can you manage an interesting intro in a single line?  Your goal is to open a two-way conversation, not a monologue!  As a result, the person you’e speaking to will really understand what you do. They might not be your target audience, but it’s very possible they know someone who is. If they understood what you do, then they’ll remember how to describe you properly to their network of friends and acquaintances long after the event is over.