Balancing embellishment with story telling.


What’s the balance between a bit of embellishment to create an impact using storytelling and retaining the truth and the essence of the story?

Wow! Is there a balance? hmm I think it’s more a feeling-inside balance really.  Telling stories is a wonderful thing to do in presenting. Because it brings it alive and even if you just use the words “let me tell you a story …” most of our brains go instantly back to ….aah I’m a little kid again yeah tell me a story! But it can also be over-done.

So, often I think one of the most powerful ways of lightening up the talk and bringing it alive and using visual analogies is to use a metaphor an analogy and word pictures, painting pictures with your words literally. Let me give you an example. Not so long ago Christine Lagarde the head of the IMF ran a conference in London called ‘Inclusive Capitalism’ and she said in the interview “We have 85 of the worlds richest people in London this week.  They have between them more money than half the world put together and you can fit all of them on a bus.”  The thought of all these 85 oligarchs  on the 639 to Clapham rather amuses.

Let me give you another one.  Do you remember that big oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico I think something Horizon was the name of the oil rig, a BP rig, which covered most of Florida with oil spill and everything else. And you will probably have heard at the time that x thousand lets say 20 thousand gallons a day are spilling out into the Gulf and you will have seen, probably, the video of the oil pouring out of the well-head from the little submarine that went down. Most of us will have seen that. Now when you use a phrase like 30 thousand gallons a day for most of us that doesn’t mean very much.  But I was given the exact amount recently, somebody said..’you know those executive five bedroom houses you see often on estates somewhere, they’ve got three cars parked out the front.  A BMW a Mercedes and Audi and they’ve often got electronic gates before the house – and I’m beginning to get a picture – I think, yea I think I know the sort of house – and he said ‘well imagine 15 of those filling up every second – that’s what’s coming out of this well.’

So if you use word pictures like that or visual analogies that’s what tends to bring a talk alive. And you don’t need to embellish the truth at all. It just comes through from using a visual metaphor. So I hope that goes some way to answering your question Ravinol – keep them coming.

And I look forward to seeing you all on the next one.