How to Use Stories Unrelated to Your Presentation Topic to Improve Your Presentation

Man speaking into a microphone telling a story

A few years ago I heard Colin Powell speak at a conference.

He spoke for about an hour and he touched on the many highlights of his career: four-star general, National Security Advisor, Head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Secretary of State. Heady stuff.

What Audiences Remember

But after the audience left Powell’s presentation, I noticed what audience members talked about in the lobby. They talked about stories Powell shared, especially a fun story he shared about his favorite hot dog vendor who always remembered to put onions but not relish on his hot dog—not because Powell was Secretary of State, but because the hot dog vendor understood the value of knowing who the customer is and what the customer wants.

What Stands Out

That’s what stood out with the audience. Not the parts about speaking at the UN, negotiating in the White House, or spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to upgrade computers at the State Department.

The Trick To Using an “Unrelated” Story

Here’s the trick. Powell’s presentation was about getting big organizations to focus on people, not titles. The hot dog story conveyed his entire message—without appearing to have anything to do with the topic.

In this video, I’ll show you the power of using stories that seem unrelated to the topic of your presentation. It might not make you Secretary of State, but it will improve your next presentation.

 

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