“Storytelling offers the opportunity to talk with your audience, not at them.” – Laura Holloway
Did you know that new research shows that roughly half the human brain is dedicated to processing vision? Prioritizing visual storytelling can do much to capture your audience’s attention and clarify your ideas more effectively. Whether you’re giving a small business pitch or delivering a presentation to a room full of stakeholders, visual storytelling can help unify the room in a simple, pleasurable, and entertaining way. Creative director and best-selling author Dan Roam agrees. In our 23rd podcast episode, Visual Storytelling, Dan shared that making things visual is far more compelling than any verbiage we have. In fact, he argues that the single most effective way to kick off any kind of presentation is leading with, “I’d like to tell you a story.”
Here are two of his favorite best practices for leveraging visual storytelling.
SKETCH IT OUT
Unpack your presentation’s vision by sketching it out on a piece of paper. Withhold all judgment and critique. This is a safe space to explore your ideas and hone in on your core messaging. Allow your sketch to flow freely and don’t hold yourself back from unexpected directions.
Ask yourself the following questions as you sketch:
- What does your story look like?
- Who are you talking about?
- What are the highs and lows?
- What does it look like when you reach the end of your story?
If you’re struggling to answer these questions, take a blank piece of paper and draw a circle. Label this circle with the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about your presentation’s core idea. Then, draw a second circle and label it as you reflect on the first. Continue this cycle for 5-6 minutes and then pause to think about what you’ve drawn. This will give you a better map for the basis of your story.
CRAFT AN INTENTIONAL STORYLINE
After creating your drawings, start plugging them into an intentional storyline. Think of the structure in segments of beginning, middle, and end. Keep in mind that your story will contain many ups and at least one down. Lead your presentation with a neutral statement everyone in the room can agree is true. Often, this means presenting the problem that everyone in the audience struggles with. Then, immediately introduce how your product or service acts as a solution that effectively mitigates this problem. Your audience cares intensely about how you’re going to solve the problem they have, so introduce this component as early as possible.
Give your next business presentation some serious “WOW” factor by using these visual storytelling tips. Learn more by listening to the full Dan Roam episode here.