Brring. The alarm is sounding. Wake up. Your audience doesn’t want to hear your data. So, what should you do about it?

Scientists, subject matter experts and researchers know this truth. The audience is overloaded with information. They will check out faster than you can say, “Boo!” if you show them all your research.

Even knowing this, many smart people go ahead and do it anyway. They often say things such as: “I know you don’t want to hear all the background data, but…”

If you hear yourself saying this, pinch yourself. If you hear a colleague saying this, give him or her a signal to stop.

Instead of drowning your audience in data, give them the true story. Share why your data is so incredibly important for them to understand. Once they hear the story, they’ll rely on your expertise to guide them forward.

Here are 5 keys for effective storytelling—that will help you steer clear of data pitfalls.

Big Picture
Share the big picture—first. Instead of diving deep into chronology of your research and showing loads of data charts, shift gears. Paint a watercolor of the big picture. Do this with stories, examples, and anecdotes of people using your solutions.

Visual Impact
Focus your key message by showing visual impact. Use one gigantic whiteboard to sketch out your story.

Working at the whiteboard is a fast way to add emotion into the conversation. While citing facts and statistics, you still sketch a visual picture. This is a lot easier for audience members, especially non-technical experts, to step into.

Pump Up Intensity
Big picture, visual impact, what’s next? Boost intensity. Share an emotional story that shows how your research has helped or will help people.

For instance, if you’ve invented a life-saving cure, share a story of a person who is now living disease-free. Show their picture. Make it personal. Include a video clip of the person speaking about their quality of life.

Weave The Threads
While you’re immersed in your research, keep one thing in mind. Your audience is hearing this for the first time. Some things will seem old-hat to you. But they won’t ever have heard about it, realized it or connected the dots.

Weaving together the threads of your research is a challenging and rewarding effort. You may need to over-simplify or leave out some interesting nooks and crannies to keep your presentation focused.

Also, watch out for questions that take you off-topic. If you can’t answer the question fully in the course of your presentation, ask questioners to speak with you after your talk.

Storytelling Secrets
Many experts are so fascinated with their data that they forget to speak in common language when giving presentations. To make a powerful impact on your audience, speak in terms of a story.

Use these storytelling secrets to make the strongest message:

Reduce your findings into simple terms that are easy-to-understand.

Give examples and explanations in plain English. Avoid jargon, complex terms, acronyms or science-speak.

Ask and answer questions on the spot. Encourage audiences to interact, explore and participate in the conversation.

When you follow these 5 keys, you’ll stand out miles above other expert presentations. Instead of delivering a dull, monotone expert speech, you’ll create a collaborative, interactive event.

In speaking, presenting, and pitching for funding, your storytelling skills make a world of difference. The best part about it is, you don’t have to be born with natural charisma or storytelling skills. These skills are quick and easy to learn—and use.

If you’re speaking to audiences and want to make the most powerful impact, start using these 5 keys to share your story.

Author's Bio: 

Milly Sonneman is a recognized expert in visual language. She is the co-director of Presentation Storyboarding, a leading presentation training firm, and author of the popular guides: Beyond Words and Rainmaker Stories available on Amazon. Milly helps business professionals give winning presentations, through Email Marketing skills trainings at Presentation Storyboarding. You can find out more about our courses or contact Milly through our website at: