We all know it takes a village to drive improvements in customer experience (CX) within an organization. Creating that sense of purpose and collective responsibility requires great communication. Well, the latest research shows that using storytelling in presentations allows you to be a knowledgeable and convincing leader who will influence key audiences in the CX process.
A Stanford Research study shows that statistics alone have a retention rate between 5 and 10%; when coupled with anecdotes, the retention rate rises to 65-70%. Storytelling is relatable and makes data easy to understand. Put simply, you will increase memorability for your audience by creating stories around your data.
If that wasn’t enough evidence for you, Forrester says that “data storytelling not only persuades the analytical part of the brain; it also uses emotion, a key driver of decision making.” Humans are emotionally driven, so impact and action come from stories, not just the facts.
For CX leaders, I believe that applying the following three key elements will make creating an effective story for your audience simple.
Understand Your Audience
As a CX professional, you work hand in hand with various key contributors to the customer experience. This means that you could be presenting to anyone from the C Suite to a regional manager. Identifying the specific audience’s needs, and addressing what is important to them is critical when crafting a story for your presentations.
When customizing a story, you should highlight the key benefits that are most relevant for your audience. What do they care about? For example, you can show the C Suite how your work boosts customer satisfaction and key metrics, increases demand for their product, expands their market, and benefits the bottomline. By outlining the central benefits, you are building increased value for your audience.
But it is not all about the head and facts, make sure you think about how you want your audience to feel. You want to use stories that specifically pertain to them and motivate them —as well as appeal to the heart. As you build trust, you need to be aware of what you want to happen next. Are you looking for more funding? Do you want increased support? Are you trying to expand your CX program?
Don’t forget to tune your story to address the outcome you want. Understanding your audience is crucial in storytelling if you want to have a relevant presentation.
Remember Your Central Question
As you use a story to present to your target audience, make sure you remember to anchor your presentation around a central question; what are you asking for?
When you think of a story it follows a familiar pattern. There is always a rise to a climax and then a fall to a resolution. It is important that you remember to structure your story with the identified theme or idea that you are addressing in mind. You want to have a rise in story that introduces the main question you are addressing for the audience. Then as you finish the story you can propose a resolution to take action on.
People like familiarity. Just as your audience knows a story rises and falls, you should pose a question and then resolve it. You will enhance your CX presentation by following this pattern and remembering your central question.
Create a Checklist for Your Presentation
Finally, it’s not just about what you present, it’s how you present it. There are a few checklist items you need to fulfill when presenting to make sure your delivery is pristine.
Firstly, make sure you are providing an organized map that is well paced and logical. Your audience needs to be able to follow your story effortlessly while recognizing the key points. This also helps you to spend more time on the points that really matter to your narrative instead of spending time on tangents that won’t get you where you want to go.
Secondly, a story is nothing without evidence. Stakeholders are looking for a reason to support you. Without anything backing up your claims, it’s hard for decision makers to commit. Providing solutions to their problems and proof that those solutions are viable creates trust that is crucial.
Lastly, recognize that questions and concerns will arise during your presentation. We will all agree that one of the best moments in a presentation is when you’re asked a question and the next slide addresses that specific ask. In that moment, you’re able to show that you get the audience, and know how they will be thinking. To accomplish this, you want to have additional, relevant stories on hand that can provide solutions to potential asks in a memorable and actionable way.
Applying these three key elements of storytelling can help you rock your presentation. At the same time, being given the time to communicate is a gift that should never be taken lightly, so remember to identify the audience, their primary concerns, and tell a story that addresses concerns with a balance of emotion and facts. Use a story and your audience won’t be able to forget your call to action!