A presentation, a conversation or a lecture, which would you prefer to take part in? In my experience, a great number of presentations in business feel far more like lectures because of the absence of stories and the essential elements of a great conversation.
My son left University almost a year ago and when I reflect on his education it seems to me as though he has spent most of his young life being lectured to. For the most part it’s served him well in terms of his academic achievements but yet I can’t help but wonder how much more engaged students and the rest of the world would be with a little storytelling.
I remember when he was little more than 4 years old and my wife and I took him with us to visit his first school just before the beginning of the new term. All of the parents and children were invited to listen to a speech given by the Headmaster in the huge assembly hall where he spoke for 40 minutes non-stop to a room full of adults and 4-year-old children.
Just 10 minutes into his talk, my son sitting next to me in the front row tugged the sleeve of my jacket as he looked up at me with his hand on his forehead and a tear in his eye as he said, ‘This story is giving me headache daddy, when will it end?’
He wasn’t the only one with a headache; I suspect the entire room was subtly massaging their temples.
That was 19 years ago and still today in schools, businesses, conference and meeting rooms across the entire globe each day people are sitting in presentations wondering ‘When will it end’.
Before any of us learned to read or write we learned to connect with the world around us through stories. It goes as far back to when we lived in caves. Cave paintings dating back as far as 15,000 BC have been found telling stories of rituals, hunting practices and gifts from god.
Thousands of years later Aesop’s fables captured the imagination of thousands and are still used to teach us lessons today.
The Bible told stories, so did Shakespeare, Churchill, Martin-Luther -King, Gandhi and even one of the most admired presenters of recent times, the late Steve Jobs. In fact, for thousands of years, all the great leaders and all of the great thinkers have been connecting with the world around them through stories.
Fast forward to today and even this morning whilst watching breakfast television getting ready for work I noticed all of the best commercials telling stories, of course, even that’s not new they’ve been doing it for years. In fact, some are so memorable I can still recall them decades later:
I still remember the original Heinz Baked Beans advert which left me more interested in eating beans than traveling around the world as a small boy.
There was the Cadbury’s Milk Tray advert back in the late 60’s where the mysterious Milk Tray Go to the full article.