Harness the Neuroscience behind Storytelling for your Next Boardroom Presentation

Srividya Parthasarathy

Srividya Parthasarathy

January 28, 2022

Why do we enjoy watching a 3-hour movie, but dread a 30-min presentation? That is the power of storytelling. Statistics and data have an important place in boardrooms, but the right story has the power to motivate and act.

Even before scriptures, books, or even paper, prehistoric men relied on stories, which have been pivotal to the human evolution. There is a ton of neuroscientific evidence to prove the potential of storytelling. Stories create a profound sense of empathy, which in turn releases oxytocin in the brain. Oxytocin creates trust in the audience and helps them resonate with the speaker.

Can storytelling influence decision-making?

Stories give us an easy business case to delve and act upon.

Now more than ever, brands are relying on visual storytelling to tap into their audience’s innate need for narrative and get them hooked to the content on display, be it Netflix or boardroom presentations.

The next big question is…

Is storytelling relevant to boardroom presentations?

Even though story is a common denominator, what varies is the audience, the circumstance, and the objective. A good story would blow a standard PowerPoint presentation to bits any day in terms of making an impact. All leaders should make it a practice to begin every presentation with a compelling, human-scale story.

Like stories, presentations too need character, conflict, and resolution.

Create a character that serves exactly like a hero in a movie or a story; it could be a product, solution, or a service. This character drives the presentation on its journey and helps the audience understand complex and sophisticated information easily. I would recommend setting circumstances, time, and place to make the character more relatable and credible.

Define the conflict or the challenge that you are addressing in your presentation. At times when you are pitching an idea, what you are presenting can be contrary to their beliefs. It is imperative that you make your audience believe that you understand their world and challenges. Once you resonate with their thought process, they will be more open to listening to your solution.

Serve the resolution on a platter. Resolution is act three in your presentation and needs to be worth waiting for. Use the last words of your presentation to make a deeper connection with your audience. Empower the audience with a clear call to action and equip them with the right tools to act on.

Efficient presenters aptly comprehend the emotion of stories and create compelling and inspiring ways to use them in their business presentations. Embedding a story in boardroom conversations appeals to the audience’s emotions and provides intellectual stimuli in abundance.

The next time you create a presentation, remember this three-step storytelling mantra.