Saturday, September 25, 2010

The power of story telling

Have you ever attended a class where the presenter was so dry that you felt like you were being punished to be there? I attended one such session at a conference recently. The program material was interesting but the presenter was brutally boring. He was trying to impress the audience with his "expert" knowledge on the topic, citing one study after another instead of establishing himself as an expert.

I came away with the opinion this person had read a few articles, and maybe a book or two on the topic and was trying pull off being an expert. It didn't work.

I think what as missing in this program was this "expert's" ability to relate real-life experiences with the subject matter through richly told stories that let the audience know he'd not only stayed at a Holiday Inn Express but he had REAL experience on the topic.

Expert presenters can connect with an audience in amazing ways when they are master story tellers. They can reach the attendees on an emotional level which enhances learning and the storage of information into memory. One of the very best story teller's I've ever heard was Zig Zigler. His presentation style leaves the audience holding on to every word and wanting more.

The presenter in my example left me bored and disappointed. I felt cheated out of my time. Even if he had expert knowledge (which is debatable) his style of presenting surely was novice.

Fire Chief (ret.) Richard B. Gasaway, PhD, EFO, CFO, MICP

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