If you want to regale your presentation audience with especially powerful presentation storytelling, you must position the audience inside your story with Sensory Involvement.
Sensory Involvement is a powerful technique that imbues your presentation with sensuality.
You engage the senses of your listeners so that they experience the story rather than simply hear it. Where possible, incorporate all five senses in your story.
The more senses you involve, the better.
Presentation Storytelling Engages your Audience
This sensory technique positions the listener inside the presentation. You invite the audience into the story.
The audience becomes part of the action.
This is a fiction-writing technique. It draws the reader in by stimulating the audience’s sight, smell, hearing, touch, and taste.
When you use color, aromas, tastes, and powerful sound and visual imagery, your presentation evokes the emotions of your listeners. It captures their interest. You convey a more compelling message.
Presentation storytelling delivers a call to action more powerful than if you recite only facts and figures.
This use of multiple sensory stimulation affects your listeners in ways that they are really unaware of. They find themselves deep inside your presentation and feeling what you want them to feel.
And they respond to your message.
Engage as many senses as you can. The audience should hear your presentation. They should taste it. They should see it. They should feel it.
They become part of your presentation storytelling tool kit.
The sensory technique paints a mind picture. It makes that picture vivid and powerful.
It’s powerful because it pulls the listener inside the story as a living, breathing, vicarious participant.
You position the listener inside the story rather than allowing the listener to loiter outside the story as a bystander.
Engage the Senses!
Use imagery. Stimulate the senses!
The 1999 supernatural film The Sixth Sense illustrate the point.
In this film, the Bruce Willis character – in spirit form – moves about within the story among living people. He can observe and, in a sense, participate in the various dramas around him. Think of Bruce Willis as the audience of your presentation.
Willis feels and senses the angst, joy, anger, sadness of those around him. Yet he is not an actual participant.
Bruce Willis is as close as he can be to the dramas around him without actually being there. Likewise, your story’s vivid sensory stimulation engages your audience in a powerful way.
Position your audience inside the presentation story.
You can place them inside the presentation story, much as the Bruce Willis character is placed into the mini-dramas that unfold around him.
Employ Powerful Writing Techniques
Dean Koontz is a master thriller writer, and he advocates involving as many of the reader’s senses as possible in a story. Koontz does this himself in his own taut novels.
Koontz engages smells, colors, sounds to enliven his descriptions. He does this in unexpected ways. Not only does Koontz involve all the senses, he combines surprising descriptions, crossing from one sense to another.
For example, he describes the glow of a bulb as a “sour yellow light.”
Koontz combines taste with color to evoke a startling and memorable image.
This is the same technique that serves powerful presenters well. It can serve you well and you should do this.
For your own stories, remember to involve all of your listeners’ senses if you can – taste, touch, smell, sight, hearing – and you cannot fail to engage your audience.
Presentation Storytelling is a Powerful Tool
Storytelling has become a powerful tool in 21st century management, and it would do you well to embrace, understand, and utilize that power to advance your personal competitive advantage.
Presentation storytelling is so powerful, in fact, that anti-business folks don’t want you to use it.
Anti-business folks are angered that we in the corporate world have discovered and have begun to harness business presentation storytelling to the ends of wealth creation. See Christian Salmon’s frantic Storytelling: Bewitching the Modern Mind, which claims that business has “hijacked” the creative imagination.
In actuality, storytelling is now no longer the province of the anti-business worldview. Can there exist any better reason to embrace storytelling for your own business ends?
Several of the most effective storytelling books that I recommend are: The Story Factor by Annette Simmons, Around the Corporate Campfire by Evelyn Clark, and The Leader’s Guide to Storytelling by Steve Denning. A business storytelling blog by Gabriel Yiannis is particularly valuable.
Give business presentation storytelling a try in your next business presentation for an especially powerful effect.
To learn more about the use of images and sensuality in your presentation and to develop your presentation storytelling skills, consult The Complete Guide to Business School Presenting.