By Erin Kelly
We’ve all been there. You’re up in front of an audience giving a presentation only to see blank expressions looking back at you. One of the biggest challenges of presenting information is getting your audience engaged. You want your audience to understand what is being said, why it’s important, and what is being asked of them. At Evans, we’ve found that a very effective way to engage with your audience and get them to care about the information is to use the narrative form, which focuses on telling a story rather than simply presenting facts alone.
A narrative is simply a description of connected events told in a sequence. A narrative arc can help organize information and help your audience to follow your argument, guiding them through the three common parts of all events or projects: the exposition, rising action, and resolution.
Exposition starts the narrative by framing the problem, giving background, and outlining what the goal is. Rising Action moves into explaining how the problem was solved, what obstacles occurred and how they were overcome, and what milestones were achieved. The narrative arc wraps up with the Resolution which outlines the results, next steps, and actions requested from your audience moving forward.
Studies have shown that our brains are wired to listen more carefully and can retain more material when information is presented as a narrative. So, the next time you have to give a presentation, rather than resorting to reading bullet points off a slide, try crafting a narrative to get your audience engaged and excited about the information you’re addressing!